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Live blog Feb 2 - 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.
Last modified: 2 Feb 2011 00:31

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

The Battle for Egypt - AJE Live Stream - Timeline - Photo Gallery - AJE Tweets - AJE Audio Blogs 

(All times are local in Egypt, GMT+2)

11:59pm The Live blog will now continue in a new post for February 3 - click here.

11:55 pm John McCain, US senator from Arizona, has posted a Tweet urging Mubarak to "step down and relinquish power".

11:26 pm Clashes have erupted between anti-Mubarak protesters and Mubarak supporters at Abdul Menim Riad Square, near Tahrir Square, in Cairo.

11:11pm Egypt back online - a Global Voices Author shares his story here.

11:06pm Pro-democracy protesters beating on metal barricades in unison, in celebration after driving pro-Mubarak groups back.

10:55pm Latest from Al Jazeera Web Producer in Cairo's Tahrir Square:

The pro-Mubarak crowd suddenly retreated, and the pro-democracy protesters advanced a moveable wall of metal shields to a new front line much further up.

A side battle erupted down a street behind the pro-Mubarak lines, with rock throwing and molotov cocktails.

An armored personnel carrier opened fire into the air, shooting red tracers up over Cairo, in an apparent effort to disperse/frighten the pro-Mubarak crowd, who contracted again.

The pro-democracy protesters are now advancing their line of staggered metal shields farther and farther and seem to have gained decisive momentum.

10:45pm Clashes in Tahrir Square being described as medieval. Anti-government supporters are moving makeshift metal barricades slowly forward, one by one.

10:37pm Anti-Mubarak protesters still in Tahrir Square where they are being attacked by groups believed to be supporters of Mubarak. Al Jazeera showing them holding up a sign "World says time to go Mubarak".

10:27pm Nouraddin Adbulsamad, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, is live on Al Jazeera. He has called for Mubarak to step down, accusing him of wanting to "burn down all of Egypt".

10:18pm Breaking news on Al Jazeera now: gunshots being heard in downtown Cairo, near Tahrir Square where tens of thousands of anti-government protesters are camping out.

10:13pm Philip J. Crowley, US Assistant Secretary, denounces the violent attacks on peaceful demonstrators and journalists.

After days of peaceful protests in Cairo and other cities in Egypt, today we see violent attacks on peaceful demonstrators and journalists. The United States denounces these attacks and calls on all engaged in demonstrations currently taking place in Egypt to do so peacefully.

These attacks are not only dangerous to Egypt; they are a direct threat to the aspirations of the Egyptian people. The use of violence to intimidate the Egyptian people must stop. We strongly call for restraint.

10:01pm Black smoke billowing up from somewhere very close to the eastern wall of the Egyptian Museum, among pro-Mubarak crowd.

9:40pm Al Jazeera's web producer sent through this video that he took earlier in the day, when the pro-Mubarak groups first attacked the anti-government protesters that were demonstrating in Tahrir Square.

9:31pm A moment ago, Al Jazeera's web producer heard several bursts of automatic gunfire from just west of Tahrir Square.

9:26pm Robert Gibbs, president Obama's spokesman, was asked specifically about the aid policy for Egypt, around $1.3bn a year:

The money isn't guaranteed, and is constantly under review.  

9:19pm Neon Tommy, a web-only, Los Angeles-based news source, has interesting piece titled "Egypt's pain has been Al Jazeera's gain"

While CNN, BBC, and other networks scrambled to mobilize crews to the scene, Al Jazeera English rose above the fray and provided live, around-the-clock coverage.

AlJazeeraEnglish.jpg

9:01pm Homemade bombs are reportedly being dropped into Tahrir Square from surrounding buildings. Tens of of thousands anti-Mubarak protesters still downtown and many are scared to leave the relative safety of the big crowd. Until being attacked by pro-Mubarak groups this afternoon, the week-long protests have been largely peaceful.

8:47pm Ambulances finally moving into Tahrir Square from the north and from Qasr al-Nile bridge. Hundreds are said to be injured there after being attacked by pro-Mubarak groups armed with sticks, knives and rocks. Al Jazeera showing live video here: http://aje.me/ajelive

8:32pm Marc Ginsberg, a former U-S presidential adviser on Middle East policy, and the ex-ambassador to Morocco, live on Al Jazeera from Washington DC.

8:29pm Steve Coll (President, New America Foundation) and Amjad Atallah (Director, Middle East Task Force, New America Foundation) discuss the ongoing developments in Egypt, including what the opposition is demanding from the Mubarak regime, with Mustafa el-Gindy, a former independent member of the Egyptian parliament and current member of the opposition. (source)

8:20pm White House press secretary Robert Gibbs speaking live on Al Jazeera now - answering barrage of questions from journalists. To watch live click here :http://aje.me/ajelive

7:59pm Picture of camel charging at the anti-government protesters, taken earlier in the day. (See below around 4pm)

7:54pm Ambulances have not been able to reach the wounded anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square and there are possibly hundreds of people there with serious injuries.

7:41pm Al Jazeera web producer at Tahrir Square says that a crowd of about 500 pro-Mubarak people started throwing rocks over tanks near Qasr al-Nil bridge.

7:36pm Martin Indyk, a former US Ambassador to Israel, who's also worked as the assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs and for Aipac, America's pro-Israel lobby live on Al Jazeera from New York - watch live here: http://aje.me/ajelive

7:21pm An anti-government protester tells Al Jazeera, "It's a siege mentality. The image that comes to mind is Tiananmen Square."  Seconds later, Egyptian TV begins making an announcement repeatedly: 

You have to evacuate Tahrir Square immediately. We've got confirmed information that violent groups are heading toward Tahrir Square carrying firebombs and seeking to burn the Square.

7:14pm Anti-Mubarak protesters continue to accuse the ruling NDP of sending thugs to break up peaceful rallies. Pro-government demonstrators have reportedly been cursing Al Jazeera throughout the clashes, during which the AFP news agency has said some 500 people were injured.

7:05pm An Al Jazeera correspondent is hearing scattered shots being fired on side streets near Tahrir Square and says "it's a very dangerous and difficult night here as people try to protect their neighborhoods and their families".

6:58pm Ambulances are heading to Tahrir Square, as tension seems to have subsided slightly in the past few minutes.

6:50pm Egypt continues to rejected international calls for an immediate transfer of power, as pro- and anti-government supporters clash in the streets of Cairo. In addition to organising louder and bolder rallies in favor of Mubarak, pro-government demonstrators have been seen dropping stones and firebombs from buildings onto people below.

6:41pm A former general in the Egyptian intelligence services tells Al Jazeera, "I expect the army will act to remove Mubarak from power ... Mubarak is ready to burn the country".

6:37pm Cairo resident tells Al Jazeera that he witnessed police officers trying to bribe porters and security guards in his apartment building. They were asked to go and beat up anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square.

6:20pm White House issues official statement on the violence in Egypt.

The United States deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt, and we are deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators. We repeat our strong call for restraint.

6:17pm Al Jazeera's producer in Cairo is reporting that the Hilton Hotel staff are checking all the rooms for cameras and then the security is confiscating them.

6:12pm Al Jazeera reporting that the Egyptian museum was fire bombed and the army is now trying to put out the fire. 

6:10pm Catherine Ashton, the European Union's High representative for Foreign Affairs, speaks on Al Jazeera live from Brussels. 

6:07pm Egyptian TV says that the military is calling for citizens to arrest those who stole military cloth and hand them over.

5:47pm PJ Crowley, US Assistant Secretary of State, tweets about violence

We reiterate our call for all sides in #Egypt to show restraint and avoid violence. Egypt's path to democratic change must be peaceful.

5:34pm Al Jazeera receiving photos and videos from people in Egypt. see yourmedia.aljazeera.net

5:30pm Google launches a "Crisis Response" project and have a team updating it with information from the protests in Egypt. Tools, information, resources and more available.

5:26pm David Cameron, the British prime minister, says that it would be unacceptable for the Egyptian government to be supporting violence in any way.

5:23pm Al Jazeera showing pictures of people standing on roofs of buildings and throwing stones and other large items on the anti-government protesters below.

5:15pm Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian opposition figure, calls on the the army to intervene as pro-Mubarak group continues attack on group that has been protesting in Tahrir Square.

Mubarak has to step down ... no one wants him in Egypt. Egyptian people regained their dignity and will not turn back.

5:11pm Female anti-government protester telling Al Jazeera that they cannot leave the square even if she wanted to - she is crying on air and sounds very scared and emotional. 

5:07pm Al Jazeera's web producer in Cairo says that a number of people are being hit by rocks and anti-government demonstrators are also being targeted from buildings above.

They are throwing Molotov cocktails at the anti-Mubarak protesters. The army has backed off from the Corniche - they used to have a few tanks on the beachfront road, but they have pulled out now.

4:51pm Gunshots heard live on Al Jazeera and reports of pro-Mubarak groups taking over three army vehicles.

4:36pm Ali Jomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, tells all Egyptians to go home. 

I greet President Mubarak who offered dialogue and responded to the demands of the people. Going against legitimacy is forbidding (Haram).

This is an invitation for chaos. We support stability. What we have now is a blind chaos leading to a civil war. I call on all parents to ask their children to stay home.

4:21pm Female anti-government protester telling Al Jazeera that they cannot leave the square even if she wanted to - she is crying on air and sounds very scared and emotional. Telling Al Jazeera not to refer to the pro-government group as "demonstrators" because they are actually "violent thugs".

4:14pm Al Jazeera's web producer sends through a picture of the camel that was brought in by pro-government supporters and used to charge at the anti-government demonstrators.

4:00pm Picture being uploaded onto twitter, showing people wounded by pro-government supporters.

3:56pm Graph depicting levels of Egyptian internet traffic after the week long outage.

egypt_returns on Flickr

3:53pm The EU announces that they urge Mubarak to speed the process of government transition asap. Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood announces that they want Mubarak to step down now rather than September.

3:48pm Pictures of the horses being posted by journalists on twitter. (source: http://twitpic.com/3vr613)

3:27pm Al Jazeera reporting that more than 100 people have been injured in the past hour after suspected government supporters, including plain clothed policemen, entered Tahrir Square and attacked anti-Mubarak demonstrators.

3:22pm Protesters in Tahrir Square shows the Al Jazeera camera the ID cards of accused plain clothed security (police ID) who came in earlier to create chaos.

3:20pm Al Jazeera web producer in Tahrir Square says at least two camera crews (neither from Al Jazeera) being chased by mobs yelling "Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera!"

3:17pm Al Jazeera correspondents in Tahrir Square says that the pro-government mob is chanting slogans against Al Jazeera and apparently trying to find them. Reports of at least one Al-Arabiya correspondent being stabbed.

3:13pm Ahmed Moor, a demonstrator talking to Al Jazeera from the square, says:

Pro-government supporters on horses and one camel entered the square and charged the anti-Mubarak protesters. Some of them were pulled off the horses, and the pro-government supporters exchanged rock throwing with the demonstrators.

2:59pm Men on horseback and camels have entered Tahrir Square - not sure who they are. The army and soldiers are not intervening as of yet. 

2:49pm Reports of anti-government supporters calling on the military to intervene. Al Jazeera's correspondent says that at least 15 people have been injured, but numbers expected to be much higher. 

2:41pm Jane Dutton, Al Jazeera's reporter in Cairo, said that the clashes are continuing:

Hundreds of anti-government supporters were running from the square, including many women and children.

2:38pm Al Jazeera correspondent saying that many people injured in stampede that started when clashes began between pro and anti-government demonstrators.

It's a very tense stand-off here - it is far from over! 

2:30pm Al Jazeera showing live pictures of clashes in Tahrir Square between pro and anti-government demonstrators. Watch live here - http://aje.me/ajelive

2:10pm Some 10,000 pro-Mubarak demonstrators gathered in central Cairo, one of our web producers reports.

2:05pm The latest audio update from one of our web producers in Cairo:


 2:00pm An open letter from 18 faculty members at Northwestern University in Qatar appealed to "Arab governments to remove barriers to free expression".

Over the last few weeks throughout the Arab World, hundreds of thousands of people of all social backgrounds have felt a surge of freedom to express themselves to one another out in the open, a fundamental human impulse. They are neighbors gathering in cities, bloggers and tweeters getting word to one another, and journalists covering what matters ...

We at Northwestern University in Qatar are a small part of the whole world that is watching, and we appeal to Arab governments to remove barriers to free expression. Let your people speak.

13:14pm Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt welcomed Egyptian President Mubarak's pledge late Tuesday to stand down in September, calling for "free and fair elections". "The Mubarak era in Egyptian politics is over," Bildt wrote in a statement.

12:55pm
 The latest audio update from one of our web producers in Cairo:



12: 33pm Abdel Monem Abu El Fatouh, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood talking to Al Jazeera:

We support the continuation of protest until Mubarak steps down. No talks with vice president Suleiman until Mubarak steps down.

12:20pm Egyptian state TV: curfew hours are shortened. Will now start at 5pm until 7am. 

12:10pm It seems Internet is coming back in Egypt but social media sites are still blocked.

12:05pm Time: Top 10 Autocrats in Trouble 

11:55am Egypt's army says Egyptians have delivered their message, their demands have been heard and it is time for them to help Egypt return to normal life. 

The army forces are calling on you ... You began by going out to express your demands and you are the ones capable of restoring normal life.

The army has previously issued statements saying it would not use violence against protesters and saying it understood the "legitimate demands" of the people.

11:40am The latest audio update from one of our web producers in Cairo:

 

11:13am Although SMS messaging is still patchy, mass circulation messages are getting through.  

10:20am The Egyptian finance minister, Samir Radwan; says the government is "open to discussion with all shades of political opinions" (via BBC Radio).

That much I can assure you, and the vice president said to all shades of political opinion, and he didn't say parties or legitimate parties, he said all shades of political opinion.

10:01am The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt seem to ripple through the region, as Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh, facing demands that he resign, says he will freeze constitutional amendments that could see him re-elected for another term. He also vows not to pass his office over to his son.

9:41am Andrew Lee Butters (Time) - Egypt's Crisis: What the US Can Learn About People Power

9:25am
Turkey's prime minister Tayyip Erdogan says Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak should take a different step, a day after the Egyptian leader announced he would surrender power in September.

Erdogan, whose country has seen its influence rise in recent years in the Middle East, was speaking during a visit to Kyrgyzstan. Yestrday he told Mubarak to heed his people's desire for change in the face of massive protests against his 30-year rule.

8:50am Robert Fisk: Secular and devout. Rich and poor. They marched together with one goal.

It was a victory parade – without the victory.

8:15am As the sun rises over Cairo protesters in Tahrir Square begin preparations for another day of demonstrations against President Mubarak's regime. The army with tanks and APCs, are still deployed throughout different positions in and around the square.

President Hosni Mubarak announced last night that he would not run for a new term in September elections but rejected the protester's demands that he step down immediately and leave the country.

8:00am A crowd of thousands on Tahrir square rushed to speakers and projection television screens last night to listen to their president address the unrest that has swept over the nation in the past eight days. They weren't happy with what they heard and told an Al Jazeera web producer they would remain in the square until Mubarak leaves.

 

 

7:45am Powerful footage of the uprising:

 

 

7:35am Google improves its speak2tweet technology for the people in Egypt.7:24am According to Trendsmap.com, #Egypt was one of the most popular worldwide search terms on Twitter yesterday.

 

 

7:15am Shots were heard and the military moved in, as clashes broke out in Egypt's second city of Alexandria last night:

 


6:31am Tweet by Jeremy Scahill, the author Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army:

Private Security Firms are in Egypt evacuating businessmen. Among them: Control Risks, International SOS & Diligence

6:20am Abdelhalim Kandil, leader of Egypt's Kifaya (Enough) opposition movement, says that President Mubarak's offer not to serve a sixth term as Head of State was not enough.

"Mubarak today was encouraged by meeting US envoy Frank Wisner because the Americans want him to stay on for this length of time so he can arrange things before he leaves.

5:25am A demonstrator holds a placard depicting Mubarak as Hitler at the protests at Tharir Square in Cairo. 

 


 

4:25am They say pictures are worth a thousand words. Here is why. Check out this sensational photo gallery of the protests across Egypt in the New York Times

3:15am  Reports filter in that pro-Mubarak protests were broadcast over Egyptian state television over night. The protesters described the Egyptian president as a hero and accused those expressing anti-government views as irresponsible. 

3:10am A blog post circulating on twitter, and the blogosphere titled: "A Guide: How not to say stupid stuff about Egypt" attempts to demystify some of the stereotypes about Egypt as protests continue to make international headlines. One of the more vociferous arguments in the text is outright rejection that the ongoing protests may be dubbed "The Twitter revolution".  

No, this is the Revolution of the Egyptian people. Egyptians resisted for decades. They were tortured, jailed and repressed by the Mubarak and Sadat regimes. Twitter and Facebook are tools.

2:30am Al Jazeera correspondent sends in a video showing scenes from Tahrir Square following Mubarak's address on State Television.

1:45am US President Barack Obama in a speech at the White House praised the Egyptian military for their patriotism and for allowing peaceful demonstrations. He said that only the Egyptian people can determine their leaders.

1:32am
 The Los Angeles Times reports that the Boston entrepreneur Hadid Habbab has called for volunteers to help find his missing friend, Google executive Wael Ghonim, who went missing during the protests of the past week. It is understood that Ghonim was in Cairo for a conference, and inspired by the events around him, took part in the protests, until he disappeared on Thursday.

We are asking for people to take the old-school approach and walk around and ask about him.

12:35am Al Jazeera's Marwan Bishara comments on the mass public revolt in Egypt. Bishara says that only a miracle could save Mubarak.

Important is WHAT replaces Mubarak the regime, not WHO will replace Mubarak the person. Replacing Mubarak the person but maintaining Mubarak's regime would be meaningless,  as any new figure-leader will continue to answer to the same bankrupt power structure, not to the people.

12:23am Clashes between anti-government and pro-Mubarak protesters in Alexandria. Shots are fired in the air. 

12:15am Al Jazeera correspondent in the midst of Tahrir Square in Cairo, says that protesters are furious after Mubarak's "audacious" speech. He adds that the protesters are insisting that the army remove Mubarak from power. 

Where is the Egyptian army? Where is the Egyptian army?