IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a live-blog report on protests and unrest in Egypt and Lebanon on January 30, 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.
7:00AM GMT, January 31, 2011
As a new day starts in Egypt it is quite likely we will see another day of protests. The highlight of the previous day’s developments (the surface of which was barely scratched by our live-blog) was the emergency of Elbaradei as a primary opposition leader, with the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Did this day spell a definite end for the rule of Mubarak. While his regime is most likely finished in the current state, it is not yet clear to what degree this uprising will turn into a full-fledged revolution. He is still in Egypt, and has opened the door to talks with the opposition.
We will keep watching.
In the meantime, for a condensed biography of Mubarak, check out this video from @CNN:
We are taking a break from our coverage. Remember, you can stay up-to-date via Al Jazeera English live-coverage:
Al Jazeera English has reported that official police, which have been largely absent for a few days, are back in the streets now.
Apparently checkpoints organized by citizens are popping up all over cities in Egypt.
State-run Egyptian TV has said there has been three prison breaks in Egypt, with prisoners escaping. In one case, over 1000 prisoners have escaped (reported earlier).
Just saw the following video – only this is not Egypt – it is Sudan.
It seems like the wave of uprisings against totalitarian governments continues to spread. January 2011 will be seen as a pivot point in world history. A combination of improvements in communications technologies and their widespread use, and years of people living under various dictatorships, have combined into a potent force.
Video (we first saw it on @Mashable) of an 8-year old girl giving advice to President Mubarak of Egypt. She says, “I would tell him to remove that law about letting him be the President of Egypt forever”:
“And um… by the way… some of your police officers removed their jacket and are joining the people.”
Reuters reports that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu hopes peaceful ties with Egypt would continue:
“We are following with vigilance the events in Egypt and in our region … at this time we must show responsiblity and restraint,” Netanyahu said, adding that he hoped peaceful ties with Egypt would continue.
Video from Sunday showing military jets flying over Cairo, presumably over Tahrir Square:
SNAP ANALYSIS: Elbaradei, The Muslim Brotherhood, and a Cautionary Note:
Al Jazeera English has reported that the Muslim Brotherhood has confirmed that Elbaradei is considered by opposition groups to be the head of a coalition of the opposition groups.
While there are some saying that it is not necessarily a bad thing to have the Muslim Brotherhood involved in a new government, it remains to be seen what kind of influence they will have in a post-Mubarak Egypt.
I would like to remind people that after the 1979 revolution in Iran, the secularists and the various religious groups united to form a coalition government. Within a year, the Islamic Republic party (two of the members of which were Rafsanjani and Khamenei) completely took control and turned Iran into a totalitarian state in the guise of a so-called “Islamic” republic that took away many of the hard-earned rights that Iranians had gained in the last century. This regime is still in power in Iran today, executing opposition members and Iranian citizens who dare oppose them.
I would like to remind people that when Khomeini came to Iran he promised freedom, democracy and human rights. As we are seeing today — with people telling us not to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt — in Iran in the early days of the revolution people said the same about Khomeini and his minions. Western media and even western leaders, including former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, tried to deal with the government of Khomeini, only to see radical so-called “students” who called themselves “Followers of the Imam’s Line” occupy the U.S. embassy in Tehran and take its employees hostage for 444 days, only to release them on the day that Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President, humiliating Carter and releasing a new meme–the idea that Islamic revolution could spread throughout the world. Radical Islam has been with us since.
In fact, one of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood, involved in the assassination of former liberal Egyptian President Anwar Saddat, is Ayman Al-Zawahiri, one of the leaders of Al Qaeda. Remember them?
I definitely don’t mean to be an alarmist, but I am saying that if Egyptians are not careful to make sure that the religious zealots in their country don’t try to sabotage their revolution, they may be in for a nasty surprise.
The Islamists have shown over and over again that they are willing to use extreme violence and terror to gain power. They have learned in recent years that they can also gain power through subverting the political systems of the countries in which they are active (case in point Hezbullah in Lebanon).
During the height of the revolution in Iran in 79, the Islamists burned a cinema Tehran full of people, massacring the people in side (The Rex Cinema Massacre). They were able to successfully blame the government of the Shah for this, and they leveraged the anger of the people to further their own position.
Yesterday, during the height of the protests in Egypt the hypocritical Iranian government issued a statement basically trying to imply that what is happening in Egypt is an Islamic uprising.
All I am saying is, watch out:
Learn from what happened in Iran. If and when Mubarak leaves, don’t let what happened to Iran happen to Egypt.
Elbaradei in Tahrir Square: “Today we are proud of Egyptians. We have restored our rights. We have restored our freedoms.”
Elbaradei in Tahrir Square, speaking right now, says:
“What we have done cannot be reversed. They cannot take away from us what we have begun. We have a key demand. The regime must step down.”
Rumors that many are already calling Elbaradei interim President of Egypt (caution: unconfirmed!).
#Egypt opposition leader ElBaradei calls for Mubarak to “leave today and save the country.” http://on.cnn.com/eJR2rB
Lots of talk about Elbaradei in the Twitterverse. People wondering if he is capitalizing on the situation given that there is currently no leadership figurehead for the opposition. There are reports of some Egyptians worried that he is yet another Western stooge, having worked for the U.N., but also there are rumors of his willingness to work with the Muslim Brotherhood. I think it’s safe to say that as a political figure he is somewhat of an unknown commodity.
Given the very volatile situation – Egypt, and the world, should pay close attention and be very cautious.
The Independent has published a piece by Robert Fisk: Robert Fisk: Egypt: Death throes of a dictatorship
Aljazeera reports “protesters punching the air” in support of Elbaradei in Tahrir Square. Also reports that Elbaradei has said that the “U.S. is losing credibility” with the Arab street so long as it supports Mubarak — a warning to the west. I’m also getting rumors that he may be forming a coalition with the Muslim Brotherhood, but can’t confirm that at this time.
Reuters reports that Elbaradei has joined the protesters at Tahrir Square.
ElBaradei speaks on behalf of a united opposition in #Egypt
Sunday in Egypt so far has been another powerful day of protest against the Mubarak regime.
Crowds are building again in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where people are chanting slogans, including:
“The people want the regime ousted!”
“Mubarak this is your last night!”
“We won’t leave! He will leave!”
“This is the people’s revolution!”
“Mubarak, get out, we are the children of Egypt!”
“Peaceful. Our revolution is peaceful.”
Egypt has moved to oust Al Jazeera for their coverage of the uprising and associated events.
It is rumoured that Muhammed Elbaradei is headed to Tahrir Square to talk to the crowds. At least in the Western media he is being touted as an opposition leader and potential replacement for Elbaradei. He is the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and for years he has been responsible for reporting on Iranian nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council.
In it, an interesting and significant anecdote on the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood:
There is a great sense of pride that this is a leaderless movement organized by the people. A genuine popular revolt. It was not organized by opposition movements, though they have now joined the protesters in Tahrir. The Muslim Brotherhood was out in full force today. At one point they began chanting “Allah Akbar” only to be drowned out by much louder chants of “Muslim, Christian, we are all Egyptian.”
The Iranian Revolution of 1979 quickly turned into the Islamic Revolution–one in which the people of Iran, seeking political freedom, not only didn’t get them, but gave up many other freedoms to live under a stifling regime headed by Shiite clerics for 32 years. I sincerely hope that the Egyptian people do not cede what is looking at this particular moment like an Egyptian Revolution to their Islamists. Chant’s like, “Muslim, Christian, we ar all Egyptian.” are very promising.
Al Jazeera just reported that vehicles exiting from Interior Ministry dumped corpses into the street and opened fire upon protesters!
Multiple reports of lack of police present in the streets in the morning, but military presence can be seen — tanks and armored vehicles.
Al Jazeera English’s live feed is providing very good coverage of the situation in Egypt.
Pyramids have been closed off with tourists being turned away.
Overnight, looters broke into Egyptian Museum, damaging precious historic artifacts, including some mummies found with heads severed.
Mubarak’s wife and sons have fled to London.
Protesters are marching towards Tahrir square. Thousands ignored curfew announced by the government and army and for the most part the curfew was not imposed. Sporadic clashes and trouble-spots in Cairo and Alexandria.
There are reports of shots fired at protesters at the Interior Ministry.
Reports of crowds of people in the streets, a mix of protesters, vigilantes, volunteer neighborhood watches with people carrying bats and knives patrolling the streets.
After taking a closer look, I have doubts about the authenticity of the picture, and whether it is from the recent protests in Egypt. In the comments below the picture, significant doubts are raised. At least one commenter states it may by from the Iran Election uprising from June of 2009, another says the police uniforms don’t look right. But when I look at the picture closely I see some women without chadors, something that is mandatory and enforced in Iran.
We cautiously take note of the current situation in Egypt, and with caution in mind we would say that President Hosni Mubarak and his government are in serious trouble only six days after protests erupted in #Egypt on #Jan25, 2011.
It’s no joke when the U.S. mainstream media starts to report on any uprising the way @CNN has been reporting on it. This is because they are usually really slow to start reporting on anything of this level of importance in the world (sorry @CNN — but it’s true — despite the fact that you’re an internationally known news outlet, the truth of the matter is that — for the most part — you’ve failed for several years now on any breaking news of the magnitude of what we’ve seen in Iran, Tunisia and Egypt).
When the mainstream U.S. media — @wolfbliztercnn — refers to Muhammed Elbaradai as “opposition leader” instead of former IAEA Ambassador who monitored Iran’s nuclear program, and airs audio from @reuters of him denouncing Mubarak sayings, “I hope he will understand the message before things will get ugly”, followed by video of U.S. President Obama saying, “People of Egypt have rights that are universal, that includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights, and the united states will stand up for them everywhere,” you know that Mubarak is in serious trouble.
We start our live-blog for what will, without a doubt, be another potentially monumentous day in the history of the new decade, and century for #Egypt and the new world, with this amazing, powerful video of the protests. If you are watching it, and can translate into English, we would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to provide us with a translation of the chants and slogans, especially at 2:07 in the video where the crowd lifts a man carrying a loudspeaker and he begins leading the crowd in chanting slogans:
We just came across this picture (source)
Can anyone confirm if this is indeed from the protests in Egypt, and if so, when and where it was shot?