Live blog Feb 6 - Egypt protests
From our headquarters in Doha, we keep you updated on all things Egypt, with reporting from Al Jazeera staff in Cairo and Alexandria. Live Blog: Jan28 - Jan29 - Jan30 - Jan31 - Feb1 - Feb2 - Feb3 - Feb4 - Feb5
(All times are local in Egypt, GMT+2)
11:45pm The US state department has said that Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, spoke last night with Ahmed Shafik, the Egyptian prime minister. Clinton emphasized the need to ensure that the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people are met, and that a broad cross-section of political actors and civil society have to be a part of the Egyptian-led process.
She also stressed that incidents of harassment and detention of activists, journalists and other elements of civil society must stop.
10:30pm Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera correspondent who was detained while covering the unrest in Egypt, has been released.
He was seized by the Egyptian military near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Sunday, but was freed seven hours later following a concerted appeal by the network and supporters of Mohyeldin.
There had been many calls on Twitter for the release of Mohyeldin, who has more than 20,000 followers on his page.
10:23pm People continue to defy the curfew and rally in Tahrir Square, they say that they would rather sleep under a tank than allow anyone to evict them.
9:50pm According to Reuters leaked diplomatic cables suggest Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian vice president, has long sought to demonize the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in his contacts with skeptical US officials.
This has raised questions whether he can act as an honest broker in the country's political crisis.
9:36pm People from all walks of life have been participating in the protests, a video from the first of February shows a young girl leading the protests.
9:26pm In a new travel advisory, the state department recommends that US citizens avoid travel to Egypt at this time.
On February 1, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt. US citizens should consider leaving Egypt as soon as they can safely do so, due to ongoing political and social unrest.
US citizens who wish to depart Egypt should proceed to the airport and secure commercial passage out of the country. Cairo airport is open and operating, and commercial airlines are reporting flight availability from Cairo. Commercial flights are also operating from Luxor, Alexandria, and Aswan airports...
8:52pm Reports of human chains created to block the army tanks from entering the Tahrir Square.
7:50pm Reports of gunshots fired by army into the air near the cordon they set up inside the barricades, near Egyptian museum.
Protesters clashed with army as they try to confine space available to protesters with barbed wire.
7:43pm Hundreds of people including politicians have gathered in the Swedish capital Stockholm in solidarity with the Egyptian pro-solidarity protests.
7:19pm The office of Vice President Omar Suleiman released a statement earlier today detailing the results of the session that brought together leaders from many of the factions involved in the protest movement:
All participants of the dialogue arrived at a consensus to express their appreciation and respect for the 25 January movement and on the need to deal seriously, expeditiously and honestly with the current crisis that the nation is facing, the legitimate demands of the youth of 25 January and society’s political forces, with full consideration and a commitment to constitutional legitimacy in confronting the challenges and dangers faced by Egypt ...
The statement includes several notable concessions by the Mubarak government. The second measure described by the release: "The Government announces the establishment of a bureau to receive complaints regarding, and commits to immediately release, prisoners of conscience of all persuasions".
And the fifth measure: "The state of emergency will be lifted based on the security situation and an end to the threats to the security of society".
6:47pm A video by Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher depicts strong images showing scenes of the intense fighting in Cairo and Alexandria from Wednesday:
6:29pm The Emmy-nominated Al Jazeera English correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin has been detained by the Egyptian military. Al Jazeera are calling for his immediate release after being taken near Tahrir Square. Mohyeldin was Al Jazeera English’s correspondent in Cairo even before the recent uprising.
6:05pm Amnesty International has warned that a Google employee arrested in Cairo during recent unrest faces significant risk of abuse by Egyptian police.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Middle and North Africa at Amnesty International, said:
The Egyptian authorities must immediately disclose where Wael Ghuneim is and release him or charge him with a recognizable criminal offence... He must be given access to a doctor and a lawyer of his choice and not be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment. His case is just one of many that highlight the continued crackdown by the Egyptian authorities on those exercising their right to protest peacefully.
4:44pm As opposition leader Ayman Noor of the Ghad party says that protesters will not leave until Mubarak steps down, a young couple named Ahmad and Mona are married in the middle of Tahrir Square:
4:28pm Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin has been detained by the Egyptian military in Tahrir Square.
4:24pm A cross-section of Egyptian society met earlier with the government. As shown by state TV, representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as members of the "group of wise men", participated in the meeting.
3:50pm Pro-democracy demonstrations are ongoing in cities across Egypt. Meanwhile, Vice President Omar Suleiman has said that he will not merely assume the powers of the president.
3:28pm Several thousand anti-government protesters continue calling for the Egyptian president's resignation in Mansoura. Demonstrations across the country are anticipating a press conference later today during which Issam Al-Arian, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is expected to announce the results of talks with Vice President Omar Suleiman.
3:20pm Abdul Monim Abo al-Fotoh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, reiterates to Al Jazeera his group's stance on the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak:
We cannot call talks or negotiations. We went in with a key condition that will not be abandoned, which was that [Mubarak] needs to step down in order to usher in a democratic phase.
2:33pm Participants in talks between the Egyptian government and opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have agreed to form a constitutional reform committee, AFP quotes a government official as saying.
2:26pm US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has cautiously welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement in political dialogue in Egypt, telling National Public Radio that Washington would "wait and see" how talks develop.
Today we learned the Muslim Brotherhood decided to participate, which suggests they at least are now involved in the dialogue that we have encouraged ... We're going to wait and see how this develops, but we've been very clear about what we expect."
1:59pm Britain ramps up pressure on Egypt to resolve its crisis and introduce "real, visible and comprehensive change" and transition of power. Pressed on the details of the transition, William Hague, the foreign secretary, told BBC television it might entail "some mixture of a more broadly based government that includes people from outside the ruling elite of recent years."
We have to keep up the pressure for that orderly transition we have called for to visibly take place"
1:48pm The Egyptian stock exchange will remain closed for an eighth day on Tuesday, a stock exchange official tells Reuters. The exchange will announce the new reopening date 48 hours in advance.
1:33pm A Muslim Brotherhood leader tells Al Jazeera there will be a second round of talks involving the officially banned group and the government.
1:26pm monasosh has posted this picture on Flickr. The sign says "Thank you Al Jazeera Channel".
1:11pm MENA news agency reports that talks today between Vice-President Omar Suleiman and opposition groups include members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the liberal Wafd party, the left-leaning Tagammu, and members of a committee picked by the pro-democracy youth groups which launched the mass protests.
Business tycoon Naguib Sawiris and a representative of opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei are also attending, MENA says.
12:58am Our correspondent in Cairo says there's a "renewed energy" among the crowds in Tahrir Square, with a heavy flow of people making their way into the square. Music is played and the crowds are chanting "Irhul, irhul", meaning "leave, leave".
12:52pm Mohammed Soudan, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, tells Al Jazeera that his group is ready to discuss with Vice-president Suleiman how a democratic solution for Egypt can be found. He says the brotherhood is not looking for a position in government.
12:37pm A couple of thousands of protesters have gathered outside a mosque in the commercial centre of Alexandria.
12:13pm Thousands getting ready as the Muslim call for prayer is heard over Tahrir Square. Tune in to our live broadcast.
12:05pm There will be a concert in Tahrir Square later today with Egyptian artists. Coptic Christians will hold a prayer for the "martyrs" after the Muslims hold their noon prayers.
12:00pm Customers are queuing at banks to access their accounts as banks are open for 3.5 hours today after a week-long closure.
11:50am Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, has called for a "democratic transition" in Egypt "in the shortest possible time," suggesting an interim government.
A democratic transition should be ensured in the shortest possible time... If this is achieved, I believe the people will definitely accept such an outcome"
11:19am In a sign of unity, crowds in Tahrir Square are chanting "We are one, we are one" ahead of the prayers to be held at noon for those killed over the past 13 days of protest. "Muslims and Copts hand in hand for a new dawn to rise" is another chant and NadiaE wrote on Twitter: "Off to Tahrir to attend Christian mass. My father - a 73-yr-old ill, bearded conservative Muslim - is with me."
10:31am Our correspondent in Cairo has posted this picture from Tahrir Square this morning.
10:06am: Protesters are trying to convince civil servants who're going back to work in the big government building at Tahrir Square to "take a week off" and join the demonstrations, our correspondent reports.
Don't forget that you can follow the live stream of our TV broadcast on our website.
9:45am Our reporter says the streets of Cairo seem to be slowly getting back to normal, with traffic police back out in force. Banks are to officially re-open in just 15 minutes.
9:28am One of our correspondents just shared this thought: "Ironic how government now warns of constitutional vacuum if Mubarak steps down but never seemed to care to implement it properly for past 30 years"
9:08am Our correspondent in Cairo says that the Christian Coptic prayers, to be held later in the day, is a way for the Copts to counter claims by state television that most of the protesters are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. She says the Christians want to show they are part of the popular uprising and have the same grievances and demands as the rest of the people.
8:50am In a column in The Independent today, Robert Fisk draws parallels to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel outlining the behaviour of a dictator:
In his glory days, the autocrat believes he is a national hero. Faced with rebellion, he blames "foreign hands" and "hidden agendas" for this inexplicable revolt against his benevolent but absolute rule. Those fomenting the insurrection are "used and manipulated by foreign powers who hate our country". Then ... "the dictator tries to test the limits of the engine, by doing everything except what he should do. He becomes dangerous. After that, he agrees to do anything they want him to do. Then he goes away".
Hosni Mubarak of Egypt appears to be on the cusp of stage four – the final departure. For 30 years he was the "national hero" – participant in the 1973 war, former head of the Egyptian air force, natural successor to Gamal Abdel Nasser as well as Anwar Sadat – and then, faced with his people's increasing fury at his dictatorial rule, his police state and his torturers and the corruption of his regime, he blamed the dark shadow of the country's fictional enemies (al-Qa'ida, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Jazeera, CNN, America). We may just have passed the dangerous phase."
8:33 The website Egypt remembers is gathering names and information about those killed since the start of the uprising. Many more people are expected to be added to the list as the United Nations says hundreds could have been killed across the country.
8:14am Thanks to Jon Pajuh who sent us this picture from a solidarity demonstration in Vancouver, Canada
8:12am Our correspondent in Alexandria, one of the Muslim Brotherhood's strongholds, says many people are surprised by the group's decision to enter talks with the government. He says it's a major concession that might be seen as a "weakness" that the Brotherhood didn't hold on to it's previous statement that it wouldn't join negotiations until President Mubarak resigns.
8:03am The Muslim Brotherhood says in a statement that it "has decided to participate in a dialogue round in order to understand how serious the officials are in dealing with the demands of the people."
It also says the participation is driven by the Brotherhood's interests in "protecting the interests of the nation and its institutions. It is also driven by interest in "protecting the independence of Egypt and their rejection of any international or regional intervention."
7:47am Stay tuned - we continue to bring you the latest from Cairo, Alexandria and other cities as the situation develops. Follow us on Tumblr at aljazeera.tumblr.com
6:05am Still dark in Tahrir Square. Our corresponent says it's quiet on the ground and significantly less military presence than in recent days. Copts say they'll be holding prayers in the square later in the day.
5:43am In a New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof says the West shouldn't worry too much that democracy in Egypt could give "greater voice to Islamic fundamentalism".
I constantly asked women and Coptic Christians whether a democratic Egypt might end up a more oppressive country. They invariably said no — and looked so reproachfully at me for doubting democracy that I sometimes retreated in embarrassment.
"If there is a democracy, we will not allow our rights to be taken away from us," Sherine, a university professor, told me ... Like many, she said that Americans were too obsessed with the possibility of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood gaining power in elections.
"We do not worry about the Muslim Brotherhood," Sherine said. "They might win 25 percent of the votes, but if they do not perform then they will not get votes the next time."
4:37am Talk about a wedding anniversary that will be hard to forget. Here's a young couple who will spend their honeymoon in Tahrir Square.
4:27am When the uprising there began nearly two weeks ago, there was a near-total internet blackout. But exactly how was access cut off?
An American advocacy group called Free Press says it's uncovered a link to a California-based technology company which allegedly sold the Egyptian government equipment allowing it to track online activity.
Rob Reynolds reports.
4:00am:Egypt's outlawed opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, says it is joining the dialogue with the government. The group confirmed to Al Jazeera that is is joining talks with vice-president Omar Suleiman.
However, Cherif Bassiouni, president of the Egyptian American Society and a former UN human rights expert, told Al Jazeera that the Muslim Brotherhood has already proven itself to be a responsible participant in Egypt's legislative process.
"They participated in the 2005 legislative elections. They elected 88 members to the parliament. So they've had a role in the secular parliament."
3:00am Check out a shot of a solidarity protest in Seattle (right in the heart of the city's downtown shopping area), just posted by one of our viewers/readers on our yourmedia site:
2:47am With the protests against Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian president, showing no sign of abating, many observers are looking to the United Nations to step in. But at the UN Security Council, the issue is not even up for discussion. So what to make of the fact that the world body doesn't seem inclined to address the historic and urgent events unfolding in Egypt?
Here's Scott Heidler's report from New York:
1:35am Edward Peck, a former US diplomat who has served in Egypt - among other places - tells Al Jazeera that the US message on Eygpt reveals an interesting chasm between the Obama administration, the Egyptian government, and Frank Wisner, Obama's former envoy.
Whereas the White House is calling for an "orderly transition" between Mubarak's government and a new Egyptian government, Wisner said that Mubarak "must stay in office to steer" a process of gathering "national consensus around the preconditions" for the way forward.
What they (the Obama administration) have always said, in a much more diplomatic phrase, is that the transition has to transition ... and this would imply that they believe that Mr. Mubarak is viewed as an obstacle by too many people in Egypt to what they want, and in order to keep the stability that Frank Wisner referred to, Mr. Mubarak has to leave. A resignation of some of his cabinet members and party leaders does not indicate a change if the man at the wheel remains the same person. So, I think Wisner is probably way out of line here in terms of representing the views of his government.
12:06am: After a day of tension with the military trying to remove barricades set up by the protesters, one Al Jazeera correspondent says that things are relatively calm - more so than last night - as the crowd hunkers down in the rainy night in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
Photo at top of the page by EPA.