Live Blogging from San Diego: the Egyptian Revolution – Day 18

by on February 10, 2011 · 3 comments

in American Empire, Civil Rights

5:37 am pst NBC News reported Friday that Mubarak had left Cairo, citing a high-ranking official and a security source. Both sources said he left from Almaza military airport with his family.

There were unconfirmed reports that he had gone to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Israel’s Channel 10. Mubarak has a villa there and regularly stays there at weekends.

However, Al-Jazeera said that Mubarak had left the country and was flying to the United Arab Emirates. The claim could not immediately be confirmed.

5:35 am pst Hosni Mubarak and his family are reported to have left Cairo, but no one is certain where they went.

5:18 am pst More reports coming in suggesting Mr Mubarak has left Cairo. The AFP news agency now quotes a source “close to the government” as saying he has left the city with his family.

5:09 am pst Senior Western official tells the BBC Hosni Mubarak has left Cairo.

4:49 am pst Intrigue now surrounds the whereabouts of President Mubarak. Two separate reports – one from Israeli TV and one from Arab TV network al-Arabiya – say Mr Mubarak has now left Cairo. The Israeli report, from Channel 10, says he has gone to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he has a villa.

4:40 am pst Just heard a report that thousands of people moving toward the State TV building.

4:38 am pst Some sign of movement on the streets of Cairo. Mostafa Hussein tweets: “Thousands marching now in Ramses st. In the direction of the palace. #egypt #jan25”

4:37 am pst In Alexandria, the BBC’s Paul Adams says there are thousands of protesters in the street of the northern port city, although “nothing like the scale of the protests in Cairo”. There are checkpoints on the way into the city and the army is monitoring what is going on. But otherwise the military presence is “light”, Paul Adams says.

4:30 am pst Demonstrators can be seen streaming out from Tahrir Square.

4:29 am pst Amr Hamzawy, one of a group of “wise men” that has been mediating between the protesters and the government, tells the BBC that it’s the military that is calling the shots even though Mr Mubarak is still there. He some of the protesters’ demands, such as the delegation of powers to the vice-president, have been met. But others, such as the formation of a cabinet of technocrats, are still pending.

4:25 am pst Demonstrators are reported to have surrounded government buildings in Suez.

4:23 am pst A crowd of about a thousand are converging on the Presidential Palace. Military are blocking the road to the Palace.

4:15 am pst Crowds heading out of  Tahrir Square in all directions, this protest is turning into sit ins around Cairo.

4:12 am pst – It’s about 2:15 pm in Cairo. More and more demonstrators are arriving at the Presidential Palace.

4:11 am pst Two different groups marching have massed in Ramses Square in Cairo.

4:08 am pst – The Army Supreme Council is meeting and is expected to issue a third communique.

4:07 am pst – Demonstrators are marching on a palace of Mubarak’s in the Alexandria area.

4:02 am pst Protesters outside the presidential palace have been chanting: “Down, down with Hosni Mubarak”, and “No to Mubarak and Suleiman – they are American agents.”

4:01 am pst The atmosphere is not so good elsewhere, apparently. Arwa Mahmoud tweets from outside the presidential palace: “Protesters in presidential palace are very vulnerable to thug attacks. Hardly any filtering. This is dangerous.

3:58 am pst Music, drumming and whistling clearly audible from the crowd in Tahrir Square. There seems to be a good atmosphere among the protesters.

3:57 am pst Thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Mahala, Tanta, Alexandria, Ismailia, and Suez took to the streets chanting “Mubarak must go”.

3:55 am pst – In addition, thousands have gathered at the Presidential Palace, and more are seen marching toward the building.

3:53 am pst – Thousands of protesters have surrounded the State TV building. Tanks still remain between them and the building itself.

3:52 am pst – Sarah in Sharm el-Sheikh is clearly not a supporter of Hosni Mubarak: “The police presence around Sharm airport is increasing, also around the entrance to the road which leads to Mubarak’s villa. I so hope he is not coming here. Has he not done enough damage already. When will he get the message. He needs to go – NOW!”

3:46 am PST With much of the focus on Cairo, it’s easy to forget that there have been protests in towns and cities across Egypt. BBC is receiving some emails from outside Cairo and will publish what we can as they come in.

3:12 am PST: The BBC’s Christian Fraser says the protesters in Tahrir Square have turned up the volume following the end of Friday prayers. The imam leading the prayers called for the protesters to stand united and for the army to stand by the people. Flag-waving protesters are now chanting that Mubarak must go, he says.

3:11 a.m. Flags are being waved, and the square appears to be almost entirely filled with people. An al-Jazeera reporter in Cairo says she can see no empty spaces from her vantage point.Flags are being waved, and the square appears to be almost entirely filled with people. An al-Jazeera reporter in Cairo says she can see no empty spaces from her vantage point.

3:08 a.m. PST It’s a little after 1pm in Cairo. Prayers now appear to have ended in Tahrir Square and the assembled crowd is now chanting loud anti-Mubarak slogans.  They’re chanting “Invalid! Invalid!”

2:54 a.m. PST Prayers reaching a climax now in Tahrir Square, with cries of “Allahu Akbar” – god is great – clearly audible.

2:50 a.m. PST Pro-democracy protesters continue to pour into Tahrir [Liberation] Square in Cairo. They call for president Mubarak to step down. T he Imam during the Friday prayer in the square urged the people to stay strong and stick to their demands.

2:44 a.m. PST – Protesters outside Mubarak palace emerge from prayers chanting ‘leave! leave’!

The scene during Friday prayers around Tahrir Square. 2/11/11

2:39 a.m. PST Friday noon prayers are drawing to a close.

Crowds gather before Friday's prayers before noon, Liberation Square, Feb. 11, 2011.

2:22 a.m. An iman leading the prayer in Tahrir Square fainted while calling for the Army to intervene.

2:17 a.m. PST RawyaRageh tweets: “Protesters outside Orouba Palace where Mubarak lives very angry @ military statement. Army officer tries to read out Mil Communique to protesters outside palace but gets heckled”

2:08 a.m. PST – The military statement was vague and was insufficient as to the demands of the protesters.  They promised to lift the emergency power.

Emergency powers have been in place in Egypt since 1981 – the year Hosni Mubarak came to power. Critics have long lobbied for its repeal, saying it is one of the main causes of human rights violations. Mr Mubarak repeatedly promised to replace it, but never did so.Emergency powers have been in place in Egypt since 1981 – the year Hosni Mubarak came to power. Critics have long lobbied for its repeal, saying it is one of the main causes of human rights violations. Mr Mubarak repeatedly promised to replace it, but never did so.

1:56 a.m. PST Initial analysis of the Army’s Statement #2 suggests that the military is asking protesters to leave the Square. The statement is perhaps most noteworthy for what it didn’t say than for what it did say.

1:48 a.m. PST A spokesman is on Egypt State TV: Statement # 2. To recap: the military is monitoring the situation – the emergency law will end once the current circumstances have come to an end,  the statement pledged free and fair elections but there was no reference to time, it pledged that honest men who called for reform will not be prosecuted.  The statement called for people to return to work, and called for a restoration to the normal way of life.  There was no mention of Mubarak. But the Army is not going to take over and form an interim government, and will not pressure Mubarak to step down.

1:42 a.m. PST Protesters outside the Presidential Palace chanting ‘people want the president out’

1:39 a.m. PST RawyaRageh tweets:

I am now outside the Presidential Palace, where around 200 ppl are gathered. … Atmosphere very tense among protesters some of whom have been here since last nite.

1:38 am PST Vice-President Omar Suleiman has told Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to appoint a deputy premier from a council of “wise men” who have been in talks with the government. The state news agency says the deputy prime minister would take responsibility for “a national dialogue”.

1:29 a.m. PST BBC: A string of reports from Tahrir Square are remarking on the sheer size of the crowd gathering there this morning. It’s 11:30 in the morning in Cairo, a half hour before prayers.

1:25 a.m. The Guardian’s Cairo reporter Jack Senker tweets: “People of #Egypt are approaching #Tahrir from every direction: Cairo’s roar will shake the world today

1:23 a.m. PST An Al Jazeera reporter in Alexandria reports that crowds have gathered and are chanting that Mubarak and Soleiman are not acceptable.  Up to a thousand had camped out over night outside a military base near the city.

1:19 a.m. Under one hour to prayers now. For the last two Fridays people have poured out of the mosques to protest – while those in Tahrir Square have prayed in the open. The BBC’s Jon Leyne says that there are already many more people out on the streets than we’ve seen previously at the same time of day.

1:18 a.m. PST Sandmonkey – a much-quoted blogger- outlines what last night’s events mean for Egypt:

“Mubarak is not going to leave office without bloodshed. Any attempt for a peaceful exit has been discarded by his regime, and they are intending to fight the will of the people until the end.”

1:09 am PST There is more anger in the crowds today.  They were angry last night and today the passion is back.

The protests have spread, especially in Alexandria. Lots of unrest, and all ways of life are touched by the Revolution.

Liberation Square, 10:20 a.m. Cairo time, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.

1:06 a.m. PST People are flowing into the Square ahead of Friday’s prayers, which is unusual. Usually the crowds form after the noon time prayers, but today is different. One reporter said the Friday prayers will be held in the Liberation Square.  There’s a chant: “The people and the Army are one, hand in hand.”

1:02 a.m. PST Egypt’s newly appointed Finance Minister Samir Radwan told the BBC World Service that Mr Mubarak “perceives that he has gone as far as he could, he’s given more or less all his powers to the vice-president and the prime minister”.

1:00 a.m It’s 11 in the morning in Cairo. It’s Day 18 of the demonstrations.  Large numbers are thronging the square.

12:44 a.m. PST Egyptian blogger Arwa Mahmoud has tweeted his take on the upcoming military announcement: “Second military statement expected in a while. Expectations are that it will oust Mubarak. #Egypt #jan25 #tahrir”

12:42 a.m. PST Protests are also occurring in Alexandria, Egypt’s 2nd largest city. Demonstrators had converged on a military base, but everything had ended peacefully.

12:38 a.m. PST The Associated Press news agency has reported that a former Israeli Cabinet minister who has long known Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, says Mubarak is looking for an honourable way out. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer of Israel’s Labor Party says he spoke with Mubarak just hours before the president’s speech yesterday in which he transferred authorities to his deputy but refused to step down. Ben-Eliezer told Army Radio that Mubarak knew “this was the end of the road” and wanted only to “leave in an honorable fashion.”

12:36 a.m. PST Egyptian Finance Minister Samir Radwan tells the BBC’s Today programme: “The military has so far responded in an excellent way. The nightmare of a coup is very bad for everybody”. He says he hoped Mr Mubarak’s speech would “calm things down? obviously it hasn’t”.

12:28 a.m. Protesters have called this day “The Day of Departure,” or “Farewell Friday” in anticipation of Mubarak leaving. It has also been called “The Day of the Martyrs.”  300 to 350 people have died over the past three weeks of protest.

12:26 am PST Correspondent confirms that hundreds of protesters have surrounded the State TV and Radio building. Tanks and machine guns protect the building.

12:20 a.m. PST The Supreme Military Council met yesterday for only its third time since the Fifties. They are reportedly still meeting, and it is expected that they will issue another statement before Friday’s noontime prayers.

Pro-democracy protesters this morning (Fri. Feb 11) outside the national TV building.

12:17 am PST Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei – who has become an opposition figurehead in recent weeks – has written an opinion piece in Friday’s New York Times.

Egypt will not wait forever on this caricature of a leader we witnessed on television yesterday evening, deaf to the voice of the people, hanging on obsessively to power that is no longer his to keep,” he writes.

12:14 a.m. PST RawyaRageh tweets: #Egypt state TV building appears to be in lock-down mode. … Presenter on #Egypt state TV just apologized to viewers for lack of guests sayin ‘no one able to enter or leave bldg’ #Tahrir #Jan25

12:11 am Mosa’ab Elshamy tweets:

“Today is the third Friday of our revolution. The first was bloody, second was festive and third should be decisive. #Jan25

12:10 a.m. PST BBC: A smallish crowd was reported to have made their way to the presidential palace overnight. The palace is some 15km away from central Cairo, where the protests have been focussed – something our correspondent Jon Leyne says could work in the president’s favour, since it gives the military time to prepare any defences. But he adds that the sheer number of protesters gathering could swing the momentum in their favour once more.

12:09 a.m. PST BBC: It’s expected that the headquarters of state TV and the presidential palace could become targets of today’s demonstrations. The BBC’s Jon Leyne reports from Cairo that this would put the demonstrators in direct confrontation with the army. He says this is the most dangerous moment so far in this crisis.

12:05 a.m. PST Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center, tweets: “Right by presidential palace now. Hearing that soldiers warned protesters they were from presidential guard&had orders to shoot #jan25”

12:00 Midnight PST – People are gathering again in downtown Cairo. In large numbers. Today – Friday is expected to be a day of mass actions, the 18th day of demonstrations. People are angry because last night Mubarak said he would not step down as president, although he said he had transferred power to vice president Omar Soleiman.

We are using Al Jazeera live video stream and live blog, as well as the BBC.

11:56 pm PST – An army officer joining protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square says 15 other middle-ranking officers have also gone over to the demonstrators.

“The armed forces’ solidarity movement with the people has begun,” Major Ahmed Ali Shouman tells Reuters.

11:47 pm – Massive protests are expected today after noon prayers.  The big question: what will the Army do?

Maybe Mubarak can take a hint from what that married New York state representative did after it was found out he had arranged his extra-martial personal love life on facebook.

11:40 pm PST We continue our live blogging from thousands of miles and many hours away from the Egyptian Revolution. If we can transmute news and information from Egypt to our readers here in San Diego and nation-wide, then we feel we are providing a small service to this significant outpouring of a popular uprising that is inspiring all of us.

11:39 pm PST The state news agency MENA says Egyptian military leaders have held an “important”‘ meeting and will issue a statement to the people. MENA says the chief commander and defence minister Hussein Tantawi chaired the meeting of the Armed Forces Supreme Council.

We continue our live blogging using news and information sources to present what is happening in Egypt. (The most recent news is on top.)

NOTE: Our entries are in Pacific Standard Time. We are 10 hours behind Egypt.

It is almost 9:30 a.m. in Cairo.

11:25 pm PST The Egyptian top Military Council has met and is expected to issue a statement. This would be Communique #2.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Patty Jones February 11, 2011 at 8:41 am

An incredible time for Egypt and the world. Power to the people!


Old Hermit Dave February 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

Now Mubarak can join the many other favorite American dictators, retire in luxury, never having to worry about being punished for any wrong doing. The nice thing about being up at the top level in the human money greed pyramid you only have to answer to the humans that are up there with you.


Michael February 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I am very grateful that the Egyptian people are not armed as we are. This is not a knock on them, but with all the confusion the last few weeks, this could have turned out very differently. Congratulations to the Egyptian people.


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