A second day of protests have taken to the streets across Egypt and conditions have deteriorated considerably. Protests, dissatisfied with a reshuffling of the “deck chairs”, have intensified calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak has appointed a Vice President for the first time and a new Prime Minister, both government insiders who are close to Mubarak. Omar Suleiman, 71 years old, head of intelligence and former spy, has been named Vice President. Mubarak had promised to do this some years ago but never did to Suleiman’s disappointment. He, however remained loyal to Mubarak. The new Prime Minister is another military man, Ahmad Shafiq.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the opposion party that has no seats in the current parliament, has called for Mubarak to step down and a unity government formed without the ruling party, NDP. Al Jazeera is now reporting that the head of the Muslim Brotherhood have been detained by the Mubarak government.
In a statement this evening (Egyptain time), Mohamed Elbaradei has called once again for Mubarak to step down and the formation of a unity government that represents all the Egyptian people. The people will be satisfied with nothing less. (
I will have the video with the simultaneous translation as soon as Al Jazeera makes it available on You Tube)(Up date #2: Video of Elbaradei’s statement with simultaneous translation by AL Jazeera)
The curfew, 6 PM to 7 AM local time, continues but is being ignored. There are reports of looting and vandalism of shops, the museums and hospitals. There are no signs of the security police from the Ministry of Interior. The army is unable to contain any of the protests and is calling for private citizens to protect themselves and their property. There are also reports that the “thugs” who are looting may be police from police Egypt’s Central Security. Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin is reporting that thugs in one neighborhood were seized and found to have state security id and carrying state issued weapons.
7:38pm Ayman Mohyeldin reports that eyewitnesses have said “party thugs” associated with the Egyptian regime’s Central Security Services – in plainclothes but bearing government-issued weapons – have been looting in Cairo. Ayman says the reports started off as isolated accounts but are now growing in number.
Al-Masry Al-Youm has reported that protesters have been trying to organize to protect neighborhoods in the absence of the police.
Up Date #1: Mubarak’s new Vice President, Omar Suleiman, ran the US secret rendition program in Egypt.
From Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War (pp113), Suleiman negotiated directly with top US officials and personally approved of the renditions. Edward S. Walker, former US Ambassador to Egypt, described Suleiman as “very bright, very realistic” and very aware of the downside of the “negative things that Egyptians engaged in, torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way.”
Egyptian Americans protested outside the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC this today
Up Date #3: Al Jareera TV reporting:
Mubarak’s two sons, Gamal and Aala, reportedly arrived in London a few hours ago.
19 private jet carrying business men affiliated with the Mubarak regime have landed in Dubai.
Police are absent from the streets of Alexandria amid reports of violence.
American media still not reporting the new vice president’s involvement in the US rendition and torture program that still continues. Obama met with his security advisors today.
Up Date #4: There are reports Huffington Post of a huge prison break of 700 prisoners escaping from a prison near Cairo. CNN reports 1000 prisoners have escaped who are looting and may have blown up a bank.
(a) prominent Bedouin smuggler in the Sinai peninsula told TIME that Bedouin are now in control of the two towns closest to the Gaza Strip, and that they planned to press on to attack the Suez Canal if Mubarak does not step down. He also said that police stations in the south Sinai would be attacked if Bedouin prisoners were not released.