IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a live-blog report on protests and unrest in Egypt and Lebanon on January 25, 2011. The information and videos in this report are sourced from various social media outlets, with Twitter being our primary source. We will do our best to interpret the events, but the situation is chaotic and information is difficult to confirm. Please note that the timestamps represent when we posted something, not necessarily when the event itself occurred.

10:25PM GMT

Another must see video. As sirens sound off, protesters chase down anti-riot police, throwing stones. This is yet another video that is very eerily reminiscent of protests in Iran. I am reminded of Ashura 2009:

Video of people chanting “Resign Mubarak, Resign!” (10 minute video):

Video of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s poster being torn down:

This video shows anti-riot police backing away from what looks like hundreds, possibly thousands of protesters in Mansoura:

Another video from Mansoura shows attack on ruling NDP party offices:

Protesters in front of the Doctor’s Syndicate:

Protests in Damietta:

10:16PM GMT

People Cairo chanting “Down with the corrupt regime!”:

10:05PM GMT

Amazing footage – in some ways reminiscent of the picture from Tienanman Square of an unknown student facing a tank in China years ago. This video confirms that water cannons were used (as per our report earlier in the day). This is a must see:

9:43PM GMT

Video of protesters in Cairo calling for democracy (brought to our attention by Lorrie Cellini on Twitter). It is not clear to me what the loud noises in the background are.

Another video, this one in Alexandria shows what looks like an entire street cordoned off by a mass of anti-riot police (courtesy of Danmike). Again some loud noises in the background (gunshots?):

4:10PM GMT

In order to protect the identities of people in Egypt that are providing information, we have intentionally not mentioned Twitter users we are following that are providing reports.

One person we were following was reporting from Tahrir Square that as she was charging her cellphone in a kiosk, she overheard police saying that tear gas was on the way. She said protesters were gathered on 26 July Bridge, but were blocked from coming into the square by police and were stomping on the bridge in protest.

Her tweets stopped about an hour ago, when reports of Twitter being blocked in Egypt starting coming in. A few minutes later came reports of teargas being fired.

This is yet another demonstration of the raw power of people using social media in realtime to report what is happening on the ground.

3:45PM GMT

Escalation in Cairo, Egypt:

Protesters throwing stones at anti-riot police in Tahrir Square.

Police attempting to control the building crowd of protesters (thousands of people) by firing tear gas! This is confirmed – tear gas has been fired.

Also, as of approximately 45 minutes ago, Twitter users that were tweeting from inside Egypt that we have been following have stopped tweeting. Indications are that Twitter has been blocked in Egypt.

One user reports that he is using the anti-filtering software, Tor, to get around government censors.

This is by far the most significant protests and political unrest in Egypt in years.

3:32PM GMT

As we monitor the influx of information on the social media networks, an interesting anecdote and correlation between the protests in Lebanon today and the 2009 Iran election protests. During the 2009 protests in Iran, one of the first slogans on placards carried by protestors (and in their chants) was, “WHERE IS MY VOTE?”. If you watch the full video in this live-blog, posted at 3:00PM GMT, you’ll see some of the anti-Hezbullah protesters carrying placards with “WHERE IS MY VOTE?” written on them.

This is a clear indication of a direct arc of inspiration from the protests in Iran to the protests breaking out all over the place in the Middle East, in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt and Lebanon. I would also argue that other protests we’ve seen worldwide since then were inspired by the same. There is a protest “meme” taking hold, and it is powered by people on the ground and helped by the social networks and social media revolution that is taking place online. The net pessimists like the self-aggrandizing Evgeny Morozov will have a harder time backing up their arguments, especially if the trend continues.

3:22PM GMT

So far today, we have not been able to find a single North America media outlet reporting on the protests in Egypt or Lebanon. CNN is finally reporting on the situation in Egypt. Yet again, the have been far behind the social media outlets in getting the word out. I’m watching as an intern in Cairo, Lukas Jarubicka, reports on the demonstrations in Cairo. He says that the demonstrations appear very peaceful as far as he can tell.

Also, just came across this report on CNN’s website, posted yesterday, but quite relevant still today:

Ripple protests could topple U.S. allies

3:07PM GMT

Video showing protesters in Tripoli, Lebanon. What sounds like gunshots being fired can be heard (source):

3:00PM GMT

Video of Lebanese protests against Hezbullah in Beirut:

2:49PM GMT

Al Arabiya reports that Lebanon’s President as appointed Mikati as Prime Minister of Lebanon. This is a huge deal.

Likely Hariri is attempting to quell the protests from going beyond what they have already today. This situation has the potential to get really bad really fast. Hariri probably does not want an open conflict with Hezbullah, as Nassrallah’s minions have been armed to the teeth by the regime of Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran. With the potential for civil war, Hariri likely wanted to send a clear message to Hezbullah that he still has many supporters (via the protests today), while sending a conciliatory message by giving the Hezbullah-backed Mikati a position in his government.

2:45PM GMT

Nidal Mawas reports new clashes, now in Cola, Beirut. As well as protesters throwing stones at the Army in Tariq Al Jdide, Beirut.

2:38PM GMT

Shocking video from Tripoli Lebanon – Protesters attacking Al Jazeera van. Two videos showing protesters attacking the van, and later the van on fire (source):

2:33PM GMT

Al Arabiya reports that Egyptian protesters march and denounce Mubarak.

2:15PM GMT

A series of reports (unconfirmed) from Twitter user Nidal Mawas are worth noting on the situation in Lebanon. Here is a summary (we have combined some tweets to summarize):

LAU has been closed in Beirut.

Clash reported in Beirut, Tripoli, and Beqa’a. In Tripoli a civilian has been injured by a gunshot.

Ongoing clashes have resulted in at least 3 injured (not clear if police or protesters).

A meeting has been held between the Lebanese President and Hizbullah supported telecom tycoon, Mikati, where apparently the President has asked Mikati to form a new government.

Lebanese Army has used tear gas against protesters who are throwing stones a them in Kaskas, Beirut.

“Report: Mustaqbal armed men shoot at the Lebanese Army in Tripoli and injure 3.”

Lebanese Army has opened by force the international road to Damascus in Beqa’a.

2:04PM GMT

While protests in Egypt appear to be picking up steam, we don’t want to lose sight of what’s happening in Lebanon.

Here is a video report from the Guardian on the tense situation and protests there, where “voters in the coastal town of Tripoli demonstrate against the prospect of the Hezbollah-backed telecoms tycoon Najib Mikati becoming prime minister”:

1:50PM GMT

Reports of a standoff between and protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo where apparently water cannons are standing by. Other reports that water cannons have been destroyed by protesters. (Unconfirmed) (Reminder that all information is sourced via social media outlets. At this point we can’t confirm any of the reports that are not in photographs or videos, but reporting notable information as we come across it anyway.)

1:45PM GMT

This video shows what appears to be 100s (possibly 1000s) of protesters in Cairo, chanting slogans against the government:

1:35PM GMT

Multiple tweets coming in with people claiming thousands of protesters in the streets of Cairo. Twitter user Tharwacolamus reports that there could be 100,000 protesters in Cairo right now. We cannot confirm this, but the pictures below certainly show that there are people in the streets. Tharwacolamus’s tweet:

Number of protesters in Cairo could be around 100,000 now, still spread out in different neighborhoods #jan25 #sidibouzid #egypt

1:25PM GMT

More pictures from protests in Cairo, Egypt:

This picture appears to show riot police in front of a government building in Cairo, simultaneously surrounding protesters and preventing new ones from joining in by their presence.

Police presence in front of building

More pictures, sourced from various yfrog streams:

12:50PM GMT

We have been watching the social media channels for several hours now as reports, pictures, and now video of protests occurring in Egypt and Lebanon come in.

In Egypt, protests appear to have been triggered by an incident in which police brutally beat someone. The protests appear to be building, with reports of small clusters of protesters coalescing into larger groups. Some reports, unconfirmed, of 10s of thousands in the streets. Apparently there are chants against the government of Hosni Mubarak.

In Lebanon, it appears that supporters of Hariri, primarily Sunni, are protesting against Hizbullah’s growing influence on the government.

We will monitor both situations closely.

For now, here is a video and some pictures that we have come across of protests in Cairo Egypt:

This video is eerily reminiscent of some of the videos we saw coming out of Iran during the 2009 political unrest after the rigged presidential election.

From norashalaby‘s yfrog stream: