(1 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
This is actually the sixth day of protests in Egypt against the repressive, brutal regime of President Hosni Mubarak. As Mubarak struggles to maintain control, the Egyptian army is doing little to stop the protesters who have defied curfews to demonstrated against Mubarak’s 30 year rule. The appointment of former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his vice president and Ahmed Shafik, another general and Mubarak insider, prime minister, have only fueled the protesters’ fervor for Mubarak’s ouster. Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamed ElBaradei returned to Egypt on Thursday and has called for Mubarak to step down. He has also plead with the demonstrators and the army to use restraint and avoid violence.
The Guardian reports that Al Jazeera’s Cairo office has been shut down by the Mubarak regime. It’s license’s revoked early this morning:
“The information minister ordered … suspension of operations of al-Jazeera, cancelling of its licences and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today,” a statement said.
Al Jazeera has released this statement:
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 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
Yes, Al Jazeera is still broadcasting live despite apparent shutdown order. No one knows who would enforce it.
The team is working on a plan if the shutdown does occur. For obvious reasons, won’t be tweeting the details here
The Stars Hollow Gazette will be following this list.
President Obama has refrained calling for Mubarak to step down but has called for him to institute real reforms and not just shuffle the players.
This morning reports coming from the Guardian‘s live up dates are saying that the military will take harder line against the protesters but doubt they will carry it out. Even though the military is patrolling the streets, they are doing little to stop the looting. Due to the absence of the security police, residents are trying to maintain order and protect themselves and their property.
Already today there are several thousand protesters are in Tahrir square, chanting they will not leave until Mubarak quits and in the center of Alexandria chanting: “Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak”. Some also shouted slogans in support of the army and shook hands with soldiers.
From Reuters this morning:
• Thousands of protesters have gathered in Ishmalia, east of Cairo. Police have fired teargas and rubber bullets at the crowds.
• Dozens have gathered in the central areas of Suez chanting: “Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak”. About 100 people gathered outside the morgue in the city, saying it was holding the bodies of 12 protesters.
• Thousands have taken to the streets in the Nile Delta city of Damanhour, chanting anti-government slogans and calling on Mubarak to quit.
This is going to be a long day.
Up Dates are below the fold.
Up Date #1 1300 hrs EST: Al-Jazeera has been taken off air in Egypt, in move that has been widely condemned as an attack on free speech. The network was also banned from showing live footage in Cairo. (It appears they are defying that ban and are still broadcasting live pictures). Thye are receiving reports from their reporters via phone and twitter
Protesters continue to defy the curfew which is now from 4 PM to 8 AM.
ElBaradei is in Tahrir Square in Cairo, using a loud speaker, tells protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that ‘what we have begun cannot go back’.
AL Masry Al Youm reports:
National opposition groups demanded that reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei form a transitional government, according to a statement issued by the Democratic Front Party.
The statement said that following President Hosni Mubarak’s imminent departure, ElBaradei should be in charge of negotiating the next steps-including devising economic and social reforms, releasing all detainees, and lifting emergency rule-towards constructing an interim government.
ElBaradei demands Mubarak’s Immediate Departure
If Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wants to “save his skin,” he should leave today, said prominent opposition fiigure Mohamed ElBaradei on Sunday in an interview with CNN.
“Leave in dignity before things get out of hand,” he said, in implicit warning that chaos would intensify in the country if Mubarak refused to leave.
Egypt police to return to the streets on Monday, Reuters news agency reports citing security sources.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has called on President Mubarak to hold free and fair elections – but said Washington was not considering a cutoff of aid to Cairo for now.
Many are saying that the US and European governments must accept the reality that Mubarak is finished.
Simon Tisdall, the Guardian’s foreign affairs columnist, has this report on the mass prison breakouts, which security officials said took place at four jails overnight.
Hundreds of members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s leading Islamist political party, were among thousands of prisoners who escaped during overnight mass breakouts from four jails, security officials said today.
Armed gangs took advantage of the chaos in Cairo and other cities to free the prisoners, starting fires and engaging prison guards in gun battles, officials said. Several inmates were reportedly killed during the fighting and some were recaptured.
Up Date #2 1400 hrs EST: From the Guardian:
Army tanks joined the march in Alexandria. The tank commander has stated that the army had “no intention of stopping this march”.
That does not sound llike the Mubarak government has the control of the situation or the military.
This is a clip of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from this AM on MTP.
Up Date #3 1500 hrs EST:
I am certain the oil companies will use this unrest to immediately raise the prices at the pumps.
Reports from the Guardian:
The curfew for tomorrow has been extended form 3 PM to 8 AM the next morning and will be promptly ignored.
There are several thousand protesters still in Tahrir Square. They have vowed to stay there until Mubarak is gone from office.
State TV broadcasts pictures of recaptured prisoners as well as Molotov cocktails, machetes and other weapons said to have been taken from demonstrators.
Hospitals are saying that the police are shooting to kill.
Some protesters have started a hunger strike.
(Today is the anniversary of the Gandhi’s assassination.)
Vandals have damaged some artifacts at the Antiquities Museum in Cairo. Nothing was taken ans six vandals were arrested.
Up Date #4 1600 hrs EST:
From the Guardian:
Downing Street says that David Cameron supports President Obama’s call for an “orderly transition” in Egypt. The statement from No 10 said:
“The prime minister made clear that restrictions on the media and internet were unacceptable and should be lifted immediately.
“The prime minister and President Obama were united in their view that Egypt now needed a comprehensive process of political reform, with an orderly, Egyptian-led transition leading to a government that responded to the grievances of the Egyptian people and to their aspirations for a democratic future.”
Some videos from earlier today
From Al Jazeera English
From a blogger in Cairo
Up Date #5 1700 hrs EST:
From the NYT The Lede:
Even before the protests started in Egypt, several observers suggested that the popular uprising that toppled the autocratic regime in Tunisia this month might spread to similar Arab states in the region, in an echo of the collapse of one Communist regime after another in Europe in late 1989.
Nicholas Kristof, a former Times bureau chief in Bejing who is in Cairo today as an opinion columnist, has cast his mind back a few months further, to the pro-democracy movement that failed in China in June of 1989. He just posted this observation on Twitter about the atmosphere in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square:
Fabulous giddy mood in Tahrir. Love the campfires. But 1 troubling thought: Tiananmin was the same before the shooting.
From Al Jazeera: Where is Gamal Mubarak?
There has been a great deal of speculation over the man who was widely expected to succeed Hosni Mubarak.
Gamal Mubarak, the president’s younger son, is thought to have fled to London after protests began in Egypt.
At the Egyptian Embassy in London, protesters have been demonstrating for a third day.
Gamal has not been seen in England, but he would not be welcome if he did appear.