Live blog 30/1 - Egypt protests
From our headquarters in Doha, we keep you updated on all things Egypt, with reporting from Al Jazeera staff in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez. Live Blog: Jan28 - Jan29 - Jan30 - Jan31 - Feb1 - Feb2 - Feb3
(All times are local in Egypt, GMT+2)
11:54pm In an Open Letter to President Obama, a large group of well-reputed American academics calls for the US leader to demand swift change in Egypt:
For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday 'political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,' your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.
11:33pm Xeni Jardin at boingboing provides a useful list of online resources to track coverage of Egypt.
11:28pm One of our Al Jazeera correspondents in Cairo reports in 'No to Suleiman, no to Shafik':
Hosni Mubarak hasn’t succeeded in mollifying anti-government demonstrators with two new appointments....Demonstrators in Tahrir were deeply divided, though, about which of Egypt’s other leading politicians they did support. A few mentioned Ayman Nour, the once-jailed leader of the Ghad party who held a rally in downtown Cairo last night...Egyptian television, meanwhile, said little about the demonstrations. The focus is mostly on security...
11:05pm Egyptian demonstrators remain in Tahrir Square, in defiance of extended military curfew. Our correspondents continue to provide coverage of the protests in several cities, and we'll be updating with more multimedia soon.
10:37pm Opposition leaders are saying that negotiations will not be conducted with Mubarak but with the army, which maintained a heavy presence throughout the country on Sunday. Protesters are still calling for the resignation of the president. Maajid Nawaz, executive director of the Quilliam Foundation, tells Al Jazeera that Mubarak is a liability to Western allies and to his political friends within Egypt.
9:52pm Local Egyptian television reports police redeployments in certain Cairo neighborhoods. Our staff is on its way to investigate. As it remains difficult for Al Jazeera to provide video, listen to the most recent of our Cairo audio reports:
9:46pm Will a new vice president and cabinet bring about true change in Egypt? Comment here.
9:22pm Egypt's army is to extend the nationwide curfew from 3pm to 8am starting on Monday, says Egyptian state TV.
9:08pm Reports say that funerals for victims of recent violence have turned into protests in coastal Alexandria, where several police stations have already been torched and demonstrators continue to defy nationwide curfew.
8:53pm The Muslim Brotherhood continues to call for all opposition groups to unite and has said that they'll support Mohamed ElBaradei as the lead opposition negotiator. The Brotherhood has also said that Hosni Mubarak is responsible for the current Egyptian political mess.
8:35pm Because of the widespread internet cuts, one of our Al Jazeera correspondents just managed to post photos from last night's protests in Cairo:
8.27pm An Al Jazeera correspondent says that protesters at Tahrir Square have spelled “Down w/ Mubarak” with their bodies. He also reported that bringing down the Mubarak government remains the main demand of the movement.
8:20pm Media blogger Jeff Jarvis writes that US cable companies should begin carrying Al Jazeera English:
What the Gulf War was to CNN, the people’s revolutions of the Middle East are to Al Jazeera English. But in the U.S., in a sad vestige of the era of Freedom Fries, hardly anyone can watch the channel on cable TV. Cable companies: Add Al Jazeera English NOW!
It is downright un-American to still refuse to carry it. Vital, world-changing news is occurring in the Middle East and no one–not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media–can bring the perspective, insight, and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can.
7:49pm Tens of thousands of protesters in Mansoura are calling for President Mubarak to step down, and demonstrators continue marching in Alexandria despite the third consecutive nighttime curfew.
7:34pm Al Jazeera reports with audio from Tahrir Square, where crowds have been swirling around former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
7:21pm Egyptian police are to return to the streets tomorrow, sources have told Al Jazeera. Meanwhile, protesters continue to demonstrate across the country.
7:04pm Al Jazeera reports from Tahrir, where crowds are swirling around former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
6:59pm ElBaradei is addressing the protesters with bold remarks:
You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back...We have one main demand -- the end of the regime and the beginning of a new stage, a new Egypt...I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience, change is coming in the next few days...
2011130171858292876_8.jpg6:26pm Mohamed ElBaradei has joined protesters at Tahrir Square in central Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood has said that ElBaradei is to negotiate for the opposition.
6:14pm Al Jazeera staff forced to go through multiple checkpoints as they drive through the capital. Listen to audio clips here.
6:12pm AJE has been contacted by friends of Wael Ghonim, head of Google Middle East, who has been missing since last week. His wife is appealing for any information on his whereabouts. Ghonim was guest speaker at the Al Jazeera Forum for Online Journalism & Freedom of Opinion earlier this month.
4:39 pm: Hundreds of judges join the protests in Cairo.
4:25 pm: Ahmed Salah, a protester, was in Tahrir square when the fighter jets flew overhead.
"It was extremely loud; it was very shocking, but then we would turn our victory sign to say we are not scared by their actions. The people were shouting, "Irhal - leave!"
To hear our producer's account of the fighter jets, listen below, or click here to find all of our audio:
4:02 pm: Egyptian television reports the curfew is now in effect.
3:51 pm: At least two military fighter jets fly low over protesters in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The sound is deafening, and the jets keep circling in an apparent show of might, our producer reports.
Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYYUhc4IMQ
3 pm: Al Jazeera's producer in Egypt says reports are circulating that the country's interior minister has been arrested by the army. Hear his report here:
2:30 pm: To protect Al Jazeera's staff on the ground, we're not naming them or identifying their specific locations. Listen to our producer talk about having to relocate the Al Jazeera office here:
2 pm: 'Even President Obama Is Watching Al Jazeera'. Business Insider, citing a post from The Daily Beast, reports Al Jazeera's coverage of the situation in Egypt is being followed at the White House:
"Now, huddled in the big office of their boss—one of the administration policy-makers trying to calibrate the US response to the unfolding drama—the advisers watched Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s first statement. Two television sets were running, one showing CNN and the other a satellite feed from Al Jazeera."
1:35 pm: For more on the closure of the bureau in Cairo, Al Jazeera's producer in the Egyptian capital reports:
Just spoke with staffer at the Cairo bureau. While our correspondent and other staff were out, security forces (not army) entered the office and demanded filming permits and press IDs. They were told that all the recently arrived staff hadn't had time to get their paperwork in order and so didn't have any. They ordered our bureau staff to take down the camera doing live shots from the balcony and threatened to take it if we didn't. So now we're just showing "latest pictures".
12:47 pm: Death toll rises. Al Jazeera reports 150 protesters killed since Friday in Egypt's demonstrations.
11:48 am: Turkey announces it is sending two Turkish Airlines planes to Egypt on Sunday to evacuate Turkish citizens, the state-run Anatolian news agency quotes embassy officials in Cairo as saying.
11:40 am: Al Jazeera issues a statement denouncing the closure of its bureau in Cairo.
"The Al Jazeera Network strongly denounces and condemns the closure of its bureau in Cairo by the Egyptian government. The Network received notification from the Egyptian authorities this morning.
Al Jazeera has received widespread global acclaim for their coverage on the ground across the length and breadth of Egypt.
An Al Jazeera spokesman said that they would continue their strong coverage regardless:
"Al Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.
"Al Jazeera assures its audiences in Egypt and across the world that it will continue its in-depth and comprehensive reporting on the events unfolding in Egypt. Al Jazeera journalists have brought unparalleled reporting from the ground from across Egypt in the face of great danger and extraordinary circumstances. Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt."
11:27 am: Al Jazeera's Evan Hill, tweeting from Cairo, says: Several aspects of the apparent government shutdown of AJ remain unclear. We're all waiting now.
10:55 am: Al Jazeera's correspondent Dan Nolan and web producer Evan Hill say Egyptian state television report that Egyptian authorities have ordered the Al Jazeera Arabic offices in Cairo closed and have suspended its correspondents' accreditations.
"The team watched the announcement go out live on Nile TV. They said ... broadcasting license and press credentials are being revoked," Hill reported from Cairo.
10 am: Sunday is the start of the work week in Egypt, but as Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan reports, things in Cairo are "a long way from business as usual".
He says authorities are placing new military roadblocks on Galaa street in Cairo, blocking traffic from going through to the Corniche that runs along the Nile river. "Still a very tense scene with military everywhere," he says.
Later, he reports that witnesses have told Al Jazeera that the military has begun moving in on the streets of the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh to protect tourist areas.
"What makes this so significant is that this is in the Sinai Peninsula. Under the terms of the Camp David accord, a peace treaty signed between Israel and Egypt, there was to be complete restrictions on any military ever entering the Sinai. It was always that the security in the Sinai could only ever be handled by police forces. This would indicate that police are no longer doing their job in the Sinai peninsula."
9:27 am: Making the rounds on the social networking site Facebook is an album compiled by user Leil-Zahra Mortada, who is collecting photos of women in the Egypt protests.
She calls it a "homage to all those women out there fighting, and whose voices and faces are hidden from the public eye!"
The protests in Cairo brought men, women and youth to the streets [AFP]
8:18 am: Salma ElTarzi, a protestor in Cairo, tells Al Jazeera by telephone that she and other demonstraters have been subject to "brutal violence" from police.
"We've been seeing atrocities and what's more important is the withdrawal of police. On the 28th midday, they were brutally bombing us with tear gas, with live bullets. My brother was shot with a shotgun. There was blood everywhere. Suddenly, after all this violence, police started retreating for no apparent reason."
Despite the violence, ElTarzi said she will be back on the streets today.
"We will be back on the streets everyday until he (Mubarak) leaves and until we choose who is going to follow."
7:30 am: The social networking site Twitter is abuzz with reaction to a comedic spoof of the Egypt crisis on the US sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL).
SNL comedian Fred Armisen impersonates Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, saying:
"[My people] love me. They are upset because the internet is down.
"I'm willing to take the following steps to show I'm willing to change. Number 1: I'm firing my cabinet. Number 2, I'm hiring a new cabinet, made up of members of my fired cabinet."
Twitter user FR_INC writes: "Egypt still too much of an open wound to be satirizing with a Mubarak impersonator on SNL, no?"
7:09 am: Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from just outside the port city of Suez, says protests are expected to continue there today.
"The interesting thing will be the dynamic between the military and the civilians. What we were witnessing on Saturday was a cordial atmosphere between the military and the people - the people were bringing them tea and eating and drinking with them inside their tanks.
"But as the curfew was being imposed it became a lot more tense. We could see military personnel arresting some of the protesters. It really shows the delicate situation the military is in here."
6:18 am: Al Jazeera's Jane Dutton, reporting from Cairo, said the streets seemed safe, and relatively empty early in the morning.
"I was able to see a few hundred people or so in the main square, Tahrir Square. The police have just disappeared. Any security at this stage is in the hands of the army. Vigilantes have been taking to the streets to prevent looting - we've been hearing stories of widespread looting across many cities. But at the moment, very very quiet here in Cairo."
5:00 am: Al Jazeera's correspondents in the Americas report from Egypt solidarity protests in Toronto, Canada; Washington, DC; Los Angeles, California; and at the United Nations in New York. Demonstrations also took place in the US city of Chicago, Illinois.
Protesters filled the streets of downtown Chicago [Photo provided courtesy of Facebook user Salma Al-Shami]
3:10am Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports that the United States will have to review its aid policy towards Egypt following the violent protests across the country. Culhane says that there is a sense of excitement among Egyptians in the US who never expected to see the Mubarak government so close to collapse.
3:08am Former Minister Mustafa Al Gindi, a former member of Egypt's parliament, from the opposition Wafd political party tells Al Jazeera that Egyptians want democracy and this is the only plausible way forward for the country.
2:24am Cairo residents say that the military is guarding only certain areas of the city and seen as unable to provide protection for citizens. The army's role is seen as critical.
1:30am Tourists have been warned by many governments to stay away from Egypt, but travelers are not yet being evacuated. Meanwhile, protesters continue to defy the overnight curfew in several Egyptian cities.
1:22am Ayman Mohyeldin tweets: "shift of mood from celebratory 2 tense as night fell & absence of security on streets created problem 4 law & order".
12:45am Tunisia remains unstable, Egypt is on the brink, and pro-Western Arab countries such as Jordan and Yemen remain vulnerable to escalating anti-government protests over high unemployment, rising prices and political repression. View our interactive slideshow from demonstrations across the region -- The Domino effect: Pan-Arab unrest.
12:34am Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center tells Al Jazeera that the outlook is poor for stock markets in the Middle East and elsewhere, as Egypt uncertainty continues. He mentions an over 10 per cent drop in Egypt's index on Thursday and the largest one-day decline in the NYSE for the past six months on Friday.
12:32am Reports say that 19 Egyptian businessmen on private jets arrived in Dubai after leaving Cairo's airport.