Live blog Feb 8 - 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 - Feb6 - Feb7
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(All times are local in Egypt, GMT+2)
11:55pm As unrest enters its third week, protesters forge close bonds and explore new ways of making their voices heard. A bakery nearby Tahrir displays cupcakes with the Egyptian flag. Pro-democracy protesters have been urging people to display the flags everywhere as a sign of unity.
11:34pm Mass protests continue across Egypt, a crowd is massing around parliament close to Tahrir [Liberation] Square. Al Jazeera speaks to Alaa Abdel Fattah, an activist and a blogger.
11:15pm Al Jazeeras online producer in cairo that can not be named due to security reasons reports on how central Cairo's Tahrir Square remains the heartbeat of the pro-democracy movement.
In the two weeks that have passed since Egyptians began street protests aimed at overturning president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, central Cairo's Tahrir Square has become the movement’s beating heart and most effective symbol.
Tahrir Square remains the heartbeat of the revolution, a young couple ties the knot there.
Al Jazeera correspondent in Cairo reports on life in Tahrir Square
11:13pm Al Jazeera continuous to cover the events in Egypt under the strict and sometimes dangerous circumstances. Al Jazeera's online producer Gregg Carlstrom recalls the many perils he faced while reporting from the country in upheaval.
"I asked several protesters why they were so angry, and they accused our coverage of bias against the government, of "hyping" the protests. (Al Jazeera has, of course, given ample airtime to the Mubarak government, the ruling National Democratic Party, and its supporters.)
10:00pm More than half of US citizens have heard 'a little or nothing' about the uprising and violence in Egypt, a survey by Pew Research has revealed. The article can be seen here.
9:50pm As the protests in Egypt continue, its neighbour Israel is keeping a close eye on developments.
It is worried about its old ally, President Hosni Mubarak - but could be eyeing up a new friend in his deputy, Omar Suleiman.
9:42pm Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian Vice president, has been criticized by the White House for making remarks about Egypt was 'not ready for democracy'.
9:22pm Al Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo reported: "There are a lot of first time demonstrators today, Tahrir [Liberation] Square has been packed throughout the day. Parliament building is 500 meters away from Tahrir Square, around 1000 protesters have gathered there, and they say that they will try to stay there as long as possible .
They [Pro-democracy] protesters are camped there because they want to make sure that Parliament is cancelled because they don't think it is legitimate due to the vote rigging that took place in the last elections.
8:38pm Catherine Ashton , the high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy spoke about how the Egyptian people should have democracy, and that it is a process that they should decide.
The critical thing that we want to do is make sure that the Egyptian people are able to have democracy. Democracy is not a moment in time, it’s a process that you have build for. It’s for the Egyptian people to have to work out who takes them forward with that transition. What we’ve urged is that it’s quick and that it moves forward meaningfully. The institutions, the way in which you develop society so that it is able to have democracy, to have human rights, to ensure that you’ve got in place everything you need, that takes a little bit of time, but a lot of support. What we’re clear about is we’ll be offering that support to ensure it will happen.
7:15pm Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has announced a roadmap for changes. Mubarak set up three different committess to tackle the changes, but for the protesters in Tahrir [Liberation] Square these changes are not enough.
The protesters want the president and the government to go now, they want free elections, and a whole new beginning.
Alan Fisher's report has more.
6:32pm Reuters news agency reports Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary, has said on Tuesday the unrest in Tunisia and Egypt was a spontaneous manifestation of discontent and urged other countries in the region to take heed and begin needed political and economic reforms.
My hope would be that other governments in the region seeing this spontaneous action in both Tunisia and in Egypt will take measures to begin moving in a positive direction toward addressing the political and economic grievances of their people.
6:30pm Al Jazeera showing live video from Egypt's Tahrir Square - hundreds of thousands already there protesting, and many more expected. To watch Al Jazeera live over the internet, click here: http://aje.me/ajelive
5:40pm Al Jazeera correspondent in Cairo said the vice president came out about 10:30 this morning and said the president had signed a decree allowing for constitutional amendments and was probably intended as a move against the million man march in Tahrir Square today. "But I don’t think it worked well, I don’t think anyone here has bothered listening to that yet, the call here is for an end to the regime of the past 30 years, and to make sure they will not return once it’s over," our correspondent said.
There is a continuous call for the regime to fall; the crowds pouring into Tahrir Square show no signs of letting up or thinning out over the past few hours. Ghonem [freed Google exec ] will likely be heading here and addressing crowds after appearing very emotionally on Egyptian TV last night.
There are calls for another million man march on Friday , they do not want those that died in the first week to be forgotten. They already have huge posters of those killed in those clashes – and they are planning some kind of memorial service to mark those who have fallen.
They want to keep Tahrir Square as a reminder of the very serious actions that have happened here, and discourage people from just coming down to sightsee and just walk around for a few hours.’
5:15pm Egyptian State TV is currently not showing the live images from Tahrir Square.Instead they are showing a split screen with images of Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian Vice president, sitting in a meeting with minister, and images of people walking on a Nile bridge.
While Al Jazeera shows the live images from Tahrir Square [Liberation Square], Egyptian state TV is ignoring the protests.
5:07pm Al Jazeera's correspondents in Cairo said that there are a lot of Egyptians visiting the square for the first time today. Well dressed upper class people.
The mood is euphoric, they are celebrating the sense of freedom. People chant freedom, we want freedom. They are euphoric about their ability to express themselves, this is something they have not been able to do in the past.
we have noticed in the Square that there is a recognition by people that this will not happen over night in order to achieve their aim.
4:30pm Thousands of people continue to flock to Tahrir Square, Al Jazeera correspondent said that people from all over Egypt have joined the protests. Professors, students and doctors has been joining as well.
3:16pm Pictures just coming through from Alexandria, where thousands are also protesting. Our correspondent says that the crowd is still growing and more people are expected to join in the coming hours.
2:52pm Al Jazeera showing live video from Egypt's Tahrir Square - hundreds of thousands already there protesting, and many more expected. To watch Al Jazeera live over the internet, click here: http://aje.me/ajelive
2:42pm Most of the world's past conflicts have inspired protest songs to reflect the spirit of resistance. Now Egypt has its own. Inspired by the resilience of the demonstraters, several notable musicians from North America have teamed up to release a rap song.
Omar Offendum was interviewed at Al Jazeera's Doha studio.
2:05pm Al Jazeera reporter in Tahrir Square says that crowds are pouring in from all sides and is one of the bigger crowds that have gathered in the past weeks.
1:55pm Young protesters occupying an apartment building near the site of fierce battles between pro- and anti-government crowds discuss their motivations, the events of the past two weeks, and the diverse make-up of Egypt's democracy movement. Click here to watch.
1:05pm Foreign reporters in Egypt without local credentials were not permitted by the military to enter Tahrir Square today. New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has just issued a statement accusing the military of detaining journalists and confiscating their equipment.
They say that since January 30, there have been at least 140 direct attacks on journalists trying to cover the ongoing unrest in Egypt.
President Mubarak today signed a decree for the formation of the constitutional commission which will oversee constitutional amendments, and required legislative amendments.
10:58pm Mortada El-Shabrawi, a professor at Cairo University, tells Al Jazeera that professors will be marching today in support of the protests. They will march from their union in Doki, Giza, to Tahrir Square after noon prayers.
10:13am In recent days, the civilian blockades that check for identification cards and screen for weapons at the entryways to the square have been augmented by a celebratory greeting crew that welcomes visitors with chants of "Here, here, here! The Egyptians are here!"
9:58am Mubarak could go to Germany to undergo a "full medical check-up", German publication Der Spiegel reports.
Rumours that Mubarak may arrive in Germany for a medical sojourn are "much more concrete than was believed until now". He previously received medical treatment in Germany at least twice.
Having been released in #Egypt earlier today, it is good to see @Ghonim back on line.
8:54am On Monday night, February 7, Tahrir Square took on a festival atmosphere, with a man playing an acoustic guitar to a crowd of hundreds.
7:40am Anti-Mubarak denial on the Nile - David Africa, a South African based security analyst, says that despite negotiations, the pro-democracy protesters in Egypt should play hard ball with the regime in all its avatars.
6:36am Egypt unveiled a 15 per cent pay rise for government workers on Monday, in a sign of the struggle Mubarak’s regime faces as it tries to soothe popular protests while restoring confidence in the economy.
6:31am Hamas eyes Brotherhood rise - Change in regime in neighbouring Egypt could be a major boost for the Hamas movement which has been ruling Gaza for the past four years. Hamas' early origins lie in the Muslim Brotherhood, and the two groups still have very close links.
Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza: http://aje.me/hibTCL
6:21am Gigi Ibrahim live now on Al Jazeera from Tahrir Square: There are thousands of people here. Many more people are expected to show up today after the release of Wael Ghonim.
04:11am Wael Ghonim's latest tweet after his release:
"When you don't see anything but a black scene for 12 days you keep praying that those outside still remember you. Thanks everyone #Jan25
"I heard them say the revolution won't be televised. Al Jazeera proved them wrong, Twitter has them paralysed."
3:35am Since Wael Ghonim's release from Egyptian custody and emotional TV interview on DreamTV, thousands of supporters have joined a new Facebook page created in his honour. Its called: We authorise Wael Ghoneim to speak on behalf of the Egyptian revolution.
1:52am For all the latest on Ghonim click here: Blogger's release 'reignites' Egypt
12:08am Wael Ghonim, head of Google's Middle East operations, has been released by Egyptian security forces. He spoke to Mona al Shazly on DreamTV about his ordeal.
Twitter user and journalist @SultanAlQassemi live blogged the interview - find his translation of the broadcast with Wael Ghonim below the videos. And for more on Ghonim's seizure and release, GlobalVoices includes a post on him here.
You can also view Egypt videos with English subtitles on the website Alive in Egypt.
I am not a hero. I only used the keyboard, the real heroes are the ones on the ground. Those I can't name. This is the season where people use the word traitor against each other. I wasn't abused, I was jailed, kidnapped.
I met some really intellectual people in jail, they actually thought that we were traitors, working for others. If I was a traitor I would have stayed by the swimming pool in my house in the UAE. What are called the "Facebook youth" went out in their tens of thousands on January 25th, talk to them. This is the era where people who have good intentions are considered traitors.
Here is part One of Dream TV interview with Wael Ghonim
"I tricked my employer so I could attend the protests in Egypt. I am not a traitor. I don't need anything from anyone.
"I am not a hero. I only used the keyboard; the real heroes are the ones on the ground. Those I can't name. This is the season where people use the word traitor against each other. I wasn't abused, I was jailed, kidnapped. I met some really intellectual people in jail, they actually thought that we were traitors, working for others.
"If I was a traitor I would have stayed by the swimming pool in my house in the UAE.
"What are called the "facebook youth" went out in their tens of thousands on January 25th, talk to them. This is the era where people who have good intentions are considered traitors.
"My wife was going to divorce me because I didn't spend time with her, and now they call me a traitor. I spent all my time on the computer working for my country.
I wasn't optimistic on the 25th but now I can't believe it. Thanks to everyone who tried to get me out of jail. It's haram [sinful, not right] for my father to lose his sight in one eye and now is at risk of losing it in the other. I kept thinking "are people thinking of me?" I was wondering if my family knew where I was, my wife, dad, mother.
"I am proud of what I did. This is not the time to settle scores. Although I have people I want to settle scores with myself. This is not the time to split the pie and enforce ideologies. The secret to the success of the facebook page was use of surveys.
"I met with the minister of interior today. He sat like any other citizen. He spoke to me like an equal. I respected that. The youth on the streets made Dr Hossam Badrawi [General Secretary of NDP] drive me to my house today.
"They transfered me to state security; it's a kidnapping. On Thursday night, at 1am I was with a friend, a colleague from work. I was taking a taxi, suddenly four people surrounded the car, I yelled "Help me, help me". I was blindfolded then taken away. I will say this as it is: nothing justifies kidnapping, you can arrest me by the law, I am not a drug dealer or terrorist.
"Inside I met people who loved Egypt [State Security people] but their methods and mine are not the same. I pay these guys' salaries from my taxes, I have the right to ask the ministers where my money is going, this is our country.
"I believe that if things get better those (good state security people he met) will serve Egypt well. Don't stand in our way, we are going to serve Egypt. I saw a film director get slapped, they told him "You will die here". Why?
"Now they want to have an agreement with me when they are in a position of weakness. I am not a hero, I am a normal person. What happened to me was a crime but I still thank those who tried to got me out. I am an educated person, I have a family. Badrawi told me we took all the bad people out from the NDP. I told him I don't want to see the logo of the NDP ever again.
"The NDP got this country to where it is. You can create a new party. It looks like I might be kidnapped again after this.
"There were 300 fake registrations on my facebook page, all negative comments, about how we were allegedly being paid. I was the admin of the page but others paid for it. We are dreamers.
"There was no Muslim Brotherhood presence in organising these protests, it was all spontaneous, voluntary. Even when the Muslim Brotherhood decided to take part it was their choice to do so. This belongs to the Egyptian youth.
"Please everyone, enough rumours. Enough.
"I told the interior minister - I was upset - I told him I will go in the car with Hossam Badrawi but without an NDP logo. I told them we don't want any NDP logo on the streets. I cried when I heard that there are people who died, officers and protesters, this is my country.
"I was chatting with Ahmad Maher of the 6th of April Youth Movement about the January 25 protests but he didn't know who I was. My wife is an American, I can apply for US citizenship but I didn't, not even the lottery. Many people want to leave though. We have to restore dignity to all Egyptians. We have to end corruption. No more theft. Egyptians are good people. We are a beautiful people. Please everybody, this is not a time to settle scores, this is a time to build our country.
"I can't claim I know what happened when I was inside. I didn't know anything until one day before I left. The interrogators wanted to know if outsiders were involved. I convinced them this was a purely Egyptian movement.
"The treatment was very good, they knew I was a good Egyptian. I was blindfolded for 12 days, I didn't see their faces. They wanted details, information. 'Are the people who planned this outsiders?' We didn't do anything wrong, this was an appeal.
"I wrote an appeal to the president of Egypt on Jan 25. I told the minister of interior we have two problems: 1- We don't talk to each other, this must be solved, 2- There is no trust. I told the interior minister if I stripped naked and told people that I was beaten even without marks they would believe me. The Egyptian State TV channels didn't portray the truth, that is why people watch the private channels now.
"There were several men in the room with me and the minister of interior. I asked him if I can speak about this, he said as you wish. Everyone asked me 'How did you do this?' The interior minister told me he was only a minister for eight days. I was told that people died, one day before I was released," Ghonim said.
"I want to say to every mother and every father that lost his child, I am sorry, but this is not our fault. I swear to God, this is not our fault. It is the fault of everyone who was holding on to power greedily and would not let it go. I want to leave."
12:00am We continue our live blogging for February 8 here, as protests enter the 15th day in Egypt.