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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Another Day of Rage: Egypt Open Thread – UPDATEDx2

This might be premature, but after the violence of the last 24 hours (reports of a thousand injured and a dozen dead) it seems: the army has taken the side of the people.

1. Latest AP news reports say:

Four tanks cleared a highway overpass from where Mubarak supporters had hurled rocks and firebombs onto the protesters.

2. The Tanks have move back within the Square, inside the anti Government protestors lines, with their gun turrets turned out outwards

3. Meanwhile a retired General has said that they will move on the Presidential Palace to oust Mubarak tomorrow.

4. UN General secretary general Ban Ki-moon joins Obama in the “Go Now” signalling.

“President Mubarak’s announcement that he will stay until the end of his term and will not run for re-election – I’m not sure that will satisfy the demands of his people. If there is a need for change, it should happen now.”

As for the role of the President (despite the expected negativity elsewhere) it’s quite clear where the Egyptians think his loyalty stands: guess who said last night

Obama Shut Up

Poll on that below.

UPDATE: the answer to the poll is buried in the comment thread, but NO CHEATING.

Meanwhile, though I’m not sure I agree this is an ‘internet based’ popular uprising, this is still a cool placard.

UPDATE 2 – Ed: Al Jazeera has a Live Blog up with information coming from Tahir Square.  Some snips up to present (10:15 Cairo time)

6:15am: Our reporter in Tahrir Square says there is an “easy calm” in Tahrir Square, as protesters prepare for renewed protests on what they call “the day of departure” for President Mubarak.

7:03am: Our producer says there appears to be a security build-up at Tahrir Square, with troops in riot gear standing next to tanks at the outskirts of the square.

8:01am: The curfew has now been lifted and protests are due to start at noon, after Friday prayers.

9:03am: One of our correspondent just wrote on Twitter: “Festive and Celebratory atmosphere that marked the days of the protest b4 Pro-mubarak peeps attacked is back in #tahrir”

And, about 20 minutes ago, another of our reporters wrote: “Dozens of police trucks in side streets around Pres Palace.Yes thats right police!Haven’t seen them in a while.”

9:50am: Our web producer in Cairo writes on Twitter: “Egyptian state TV reporting that one of its crews was attacked in Tahrir Square. Amusing thought, but is it true? Could be propaganda.”

10:01am: More from our web producer in Cairo: “About 65 soldiers stationed around 6th of October bridge and the museum, wearing riot gear. Limiting access to Corniche, etc.”

[poll id=”




  1. jsfox

    But no fair asking the a question in a poll and not giving the correct answer somewhere.

    I think it was an idiot/s on Fox News. I was torn though between this answer and some idiot/s on a blog.

    As to the Egyptian Army. You maybe right, but  . . . I think I will withhold complete agreement for 24 hours. There is a school of thought that they allowed yesterday to happen so that they could come to the rescue and seize power.

    We shall see.

  2. spacemanspiff

    In a joint statement on Thursday, Mr Cameron and his French, German, Italian and Spanish counterparts expressed their concern about the latest developments.

    “We are watching with utmost concern the deteriorating situation in Egypt,” the statement said.

    “The Egyptian people must be able to exercise freely their right to peaceful assembly, and enjoy the full protection of the security forces.

    “Attacks against journalists are completely unacceptable.

    “We condemn all those who use or encourage violence, which will only aggravate the political crisis in Egypt. Only a quick and orderly transition to a broad-based government will make it possible to overcome the challenges Egypt is now facing.

    “That transition process must start now.”

  3. HappyinVT

    with another 1000 waiting for a plane.

    The White House believes that the next 24-48 hours could be the crucial time.

  4. jsfox

    All from TPM Egypt Wire ( http://www.talkingpointsmemo.c… )

    AJE: Police Systematically Raiding Journalists’ Rooms

    From AJE:

    Spotters stand outside many hotels, watching balconies with high-powered binoculars. When they see balconies with camera equipment or photographers, they use radios to call in the details.

    Egyptian police sources say that information from those spotters has been used to conduct several raids on journalists’ hotel rooms in recent days.

    And the government has reportedly pressured several hotels not to extend the reservations of foreign journalists.

    But most of the intimidation and violence has come from unofficial sources: Young men loiter outside the hotels where many reporters are staying, shouting at (and sometimes attacking) anyone with equipment.

    CNN: Journalists from WaPo, NYT, Globe & Mail Arrested

    CNN is reporting that reporters from the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Globe & Mail have been arrested in Cairo.

    ABC Reporter Reports Being Carjacked

    From Brian Hartman, an ABC News reporter in Cairo:

    Just escaped after being carjacked at a checkpoint and driven to a compound where men surrounded the car and threatened to behead us.

  5. DeniseVelez

    scanty as it may be – but AlJaz has mentioned it too.

    They have been in constant contact with their partners in the Egyptian military.

    I think if the military was going to turn on the protesters they would have done it by now.

    I figger they are trying to get Mub. out without a fight.

  6. Strummerson

    Excellent piece from Kate Seelye, Vice President of the Middle East Institute.

    Key bits:

    Given that our enduring relations will be with the youth of the Arab world, today’s call by President Obama for Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak to refrain from running in Fall elections is highly significant. The president has been urged by some, including Israeli leaders, not to abandon “friends” like Mubarak. Their fear is that regime change could lead to the rise of anti-American Islamists hostile to Israel.

    However, this fear ignores surprising and unexpected developments in the region. A moderate, non-ideological, pro-democratic Arab voice is emerging. Now is the time to defend this voice and in so doing help advance democracy in the Arab world.

    In the context of unfolding events in Egypt and throughout the region, Woodrow Wilson offers an important lesson. In 1918, he gave his famous ’14 points of light’ speech, calling for sovereignty for the subject peoples of the Ottoman Empire — the Arabs. He was the first U.S. president in history to call for Arab freedom and in doing so angered our allies, England and France, who had plans to carve up the former Ottoman Empire into British and French mandates.

    Considering the likely spread of protests elsewhere in the Arab world, the U.S. does not want to be on the wrong side of history. We can no longer afford to waffle between endorsing protestors’ legitimate demands and backing our long-time allies. Not only would that be profoundly hypocritical, given our support of democracy movements worldwide; worse, it would risk derailing a future generation of young, democratic Arabs who could well steer the Arab world into a period of unprecedented moderation, growth and stability, after more than a half century of war and violence.

    There is indeed much to worry about during this period of unprecedented change. Democratization is a messy process. Yet in the long run, while Arab voices may not always echo U.S. or Israeli interests, let’s not underestimate their potential. After all, a democratic, pluralistic Middle East aligns perfectly with our desire for a peaceful and prosperous region. Indeed, this could be Obama’s Woodrow Wilson moment.

    The whole thing is at Huffpost:

  7. HappyinVT

    Al Jazeera.  Not sure I trust this guy.  I understand he has a pretty good reputation but it seems like he should understand this isn’t going to end until Mubarak steps down.  By continuing to publicly support Mubarak it seems he’s just as much of a problem.

  8. HappyinVT

    6:50pm Keith Ellison, a US member of Congress, calls Mubarak a dictator in his latest tweet:

       Mubarak’s repression is revealing true colors of dictatorship. Violence. Abuse. Silencing media. Showing what Egyptians have known for yrs.

  9. Shaun Appleby

    From an AJE talking head, “Twitter is being constantly updated.”

    Yeah, right…  And the sun is shining too, somewhere.  Man those Intertubes are a mystery to some people who should really know better.

  10. Shaun Appleby

    Hillary just made a statement that the attacks on and round-up of journalists is ‘unacceptable.’ I admire her resolution but she sure looks like she hasn’t had much sleep. I’m guessing we’re pretty busy trying to get things moving in the background or keep the army content.

  11. Shaun Appleby

    Inevitably hits the nail on the head sooner or later:

    When Obama spoke in Cairo, the audience offered polite applause until he said this: “You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion.” And continued: “You must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.”

    Whereupon somebody shouted: “Barack Obama, we love you!”

    Remember that cry, Mr. President. This is the first major foreign policy crisis of the Obama presidency in which he has real leverage (not the case in Iran). If Egypt, the Arab hub, manages a transition to some more representative order, that victory will resonate in 2012. If the Egyptian mockery of democracy persists, Obama’s failure will be stark.

    Roger Cohen – Mubarak Agonistes NYT 3 Feb 11

    That pretty much sums it up for me too.  Fingers crossed.

  12. jsfox

    Via NYT

    White House, Egypt Discuss Plan for Mubarak’s Exit

    WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately, turning over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military, administration officials and Arab diplomats said Thursday.

    Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which, Mr. Suleiman, backed by Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Defense Minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.

    The proposal also calls for the transitional government to invite members from a broad range of opposition groups, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, to begin work to open up the country’s electoral system in an effort to bring about free and fair elections in September, the officials said.

    Senior administration officials said that the proposal is one of several options under discussion with high-level Egyptian officials around Mr. Mubarak, though not him directly, in an effort to convince him to step down now.

    OK now that you have read this head over and read this blog

    The Belgravia Dispatch and book mark it you’ll understand why after reading.


  13. Shaun Appleby

    There are apparently huge numbers of people heading to Tahrir today.  The demonstration was meant to start after Friday prayers but is already massive.

  14. Nag

    and I’m thrilled to have found this great community. Imagine… a place to discuss without rancor, or flame wars. Thank you, Brit, for posting the link in your sig line over at DK. I think I just may be here to stay.

    The most poignant moment in Egypt, for me, was yesterday when I read Kristof’s blog. In it he describes two middle aged women who bravely faced the pro-Mubarak troublemakers with grace. That hit home for me because I’m also a middle aged woman, and the thoughts I’d been having on “what would I do?” all came flooding to the fore. I’d like to think that I’d be there in Liberation Square, standing with fellow patriots, fighting for the soul of the country.

    I have to apologize; I went to the post where I thought I had read this item of the two Egyptian women, but can’t find it. Now I’m not sure where I read it, although I’m still thinking it was Kristof. If I can find it, I’ll post a link.

    Anyway, it’s great to be here at the Moose.


  15. jsfox

    Arab League Secretary General Joins Protests

    The secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister for Mubarak, appeared among the crowds today and was met with roars of applause, the Times reports.

    Religious Govt Official Resigns

    Mohamed Rafah Tahtawy, the public spokesman for Al Azhar — the center of Sunni Muslim learning and Egypt’s highest, state-run religious authority — told reporters that he was resigning because “I am participating in the protests and I have issued statements that support the revolutionists as far as they go.”

    Defense Minister Addresses Protesters

    Egypt’s defense minister appeared before crowds in Tahrir Square today. He inspected troops and was cheered by protesters, who formed a human chain to protect him, according to the Times.

    All from TPM Egypt Wire { http://www.talkingpointsmemo.c… }

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