UPDATE 10:30 AM EST – Mubarak government arresting human rights workers at the moment:
An Amnesty International representative has been detained by police in Cairo after the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre was taken over by military police this morning.
The Amnesty International member of staff was taken, along with Ahmed Seif Al Islam, Khaled Ali, a delegate from Human Rights Watch and others, to an unknown location in Cairo. Amnesty International does not know their current whereabouts.
Also reports of arrests of journalists. From the Washington Post:
3:24 p.m. EET / 10:24 a.m. EST From our foreign editor Douglas Jehl:
We have heard from multiple witnesses that Leila Fadel, our Cairo bureau chief, and Linda Davidson, a photographer, were among two dozen journalists arrested this morning by the Egyptian Interior Ministry. We understand that they are safe but in custody and we have made urgent protests to Egyptian authorities in Cairo and Washington. We’ve advised the state department as well.
And Blogger Sandmonkey is either arrested or on the run from security.
UPDATE 10:15 EST: Al Jazeera live blog reports that:
5:12pm Three Al Jazeera journalists have been arrested. Many others are in their hotel and say that there is a strong military presence outside.
5:08pm A few pro-democracy protesters have been injured by shooting in Tahrir Square. Still not clear who fired. More updates to follow.
UPDATE 9:50 AM EST – Heavy guns firing somewhere away from the Square and Museum at the moment.
Al Jazeera reports:
4:15pm Group of ‘thugs’ just crashed through a phalanx of pro-democracy supporters shielding behind sheet metal on 6th of October bridge – soon after prime ministers promises that violence will not be repeated. No sign of army still.
Or as We are all Khaled Said describes it:
New Egyptian Prime Minister: “I’m sorry about the violence against protesters that happened yesterday. I only knew about it today. It’s unacceptable. We will do an investigation to see what happened. It will not happen again.”. In the mean time Thugs were still and are still attacking protesters while he is talking.
The Mubarak regime is trying to hold on, announcing the “investigations” and some major businessmen are being blocked from leaving the country with rumours that Suleiman will appear on TV shortly. They don’t seem to have gotten the message that the people want them to leave.
The pro-democracy people have apparently held control of Tahrir Square in Cairo overnight. From Egyptian Chronicles which is back online and an essential source of information:
Currently our youth have controlled the square but the thugs are still there and according to writer Balal Fadl there is fear that more thugs will come in to the square more and more.
The Al Tahrir square looks like a war zone tonight. The story is always developing , I will not sleep tonight.
Listen too, to Mona Saif from last night on Al Jazeera in the video above — her voice brings us right to the heart of what is happening in Tahrir Square and we must listen.
There is clearly a great deal of fear about what the morning will bring as Mubarak’s thugs have had time to plan their next move.
Washington’s move was more of the same with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling Suleiman, granting him legitimacy the people do not acknowledge and then asking him to investigate himself:
Clinton spoke by telephone with Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s intelligence chief who was elevated to vice president by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday, to make the point, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.
“She emphasized, again, our condemnation of the violence that occurred today, encouraged the government to hold those responsible fully accountable for this violence,” Crowley told reporters. “We don’t know, at this point, who did it.”
Yet throughout the day, reports were very clear about “who did it” – even if Washington has stopped watching Al Jazeera, don’t they monitor CNN where Anderson Cooper, Ivan Watson and Ben Wedeman were providing very clear reports about who attacked them and the pro-democracy people.
Robert Fisk saw it with his own eyes and describes the NDP pep rally that got the thugs ready to go into the center of Cairo:
“This is Mubarak’s work,” one wounded stone-thrower said to me. “He has managed to turn Egyptian against Egyptian for just nine more months of power. He is mad. Are you in the West mad, too?” I can’t remember how I replied to this question. But how could I forget watching – just a few hours earlier – as the Middle East “expert” Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, was asked if Mubarak was a dictator. No, he said, he was “a monarch-type figure”.
… There is no doubt about this because I had driven into Cairo from the desert as they formed up outside the foreign ministry and the state radio building on the east bank of the Nile. There were loudspeaker songs and calls for Mubarak’s eternal life (a very long presidency indeed) and many were sitting on brand-new motorcycles, as if they had been inspired by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s thugs after the 2009 Iranian elections. Come to think of it, Mubarak and Ahmadinejad do actually have the same respect for elections…
Overnight, Al Jazeera reports:
6:03 am The latest update from one of our web producers at Tahrir Square:
I saw one wounded protester being treated by doctors and then taken away to the ambulances. The doctor who had been working on him told me that the man had been shot in the head but still had a pulse and might survive. There was a puddle of blood on the concrete beneath the man. The doctor said the gunfire came from pro-Mubarak protesters, not from army. I saw second wounded protester also being treated for a gunshot wound, he looked unresponsive. One protester told me six people had died today, however another doctor in the square told me four had died. 5 dead from Wednesday’s attacks.
Along with the fear comes greater resolve.
8:35 am Anti-government activist Alaa Abdel Fattah in Cairo tells Al Jazeera:
I don’t know what comes next, but if we are willing to die for it, I don’t think we can be defeated.
And Al Masry Al Youm reports:
Following violent attacks on protesters in Tahrir Square on Wednesday, activists who were already reluctant to accept the regime’s invitation to negotiate say that such a move is now completely out of the question…
Commenting on Wednesday’s violent clashes in Tahrir Square, [Esraa] Abdel Fatah, [member of the 6 April movement and one of the initiators of the 25 January protests] in reference to President Hosni Mubarak, said, “He is trying to set us and the whole country on fire.” “He has fooled us for thirty years; there are no guarantees that his promises will be realized this time,” she added…
Yasser al-Hawary, media coordinator for The Young People for Justice and Freedom movement, says that he and his colleagues are determined to continue their fight against the regime–especially after today’s violent attacks on protesters.
“We won’t back down,” he said. “This is a criminal regime. They tried to kill us before with live ammunition, and today they’re using a new technique by employing armed thugs and policemen against demonstrators.”
Al-Hawary went on to say that the decision to reject negotiations was supported by most demonstrators. “The issue is out of our hands; the people on the street reject the president’s words,” he said.
As we watch events unfold, we here in the States must remember that our tax dollars bought the bullets and thugs of Mubarak. Call the White House and demand that all funding be cut – sign the FDL petition calling on Congress to stop funding Mubarak.