Sunday in Egypt: Who Will Decide the Future?
Update – 7:20am ET: From Al Jazeera’s statement: “Al Jazeera journalists have brought unparallelled reporting from the ground from across Egypt in the face of great danger and extraordinary circumstances. Al Jazeera Network is appalled at this latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt.”
Update – 6:50am ET: Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan reports “Cairo bureau has been shut down. Just visited by plain clothes govt security, TV uplink is now closed.” Statement from Al Jazeera shortly.
Update- 5:25am ET: Al Jazeera is back to covering the protest, from Qatar.
UPDATE- 4:45am ET: Al Jazeera banned from covering Egyptian protests. Correspondent Evan Hill tweets “Several aspects of the apparent government shutdown of AJ remain unclear, we’re all waiting now. No one has come to turn us off. ” Another Al Jazeera correspondent Dan Nolan tweeted “Don’t worry we’ll still report what’s happening in #Egypt no matter what new restrictions they put on us. #Jan25” – but that was over 45 minutes ago.
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Watch Al Jazeera’s coverage live by clicking on the video.
It’s Sunday in Egypt, the first day of the working week. As yesterday, no one yet knows what will happen next though all signs are that the protesters have no plans to leave the streets.
Amidst the wonder of the scenes we’ve been watching of people standing so very tall for their own rights and lives, we must remember that many have been killed and many wounded.
Yet the people of Egypt are not backing down, are not bowing to fear.
Rumours are flying on twitter and Al Jazeera is showing a much bigger military presence but at this hour (10AM Cairo time) no one seems to know what to make of it. Is it just an attempt to provide some security or is it more ominous?
Amongst the rumors is talk of cars fleeing the area of the Ministry of Interior at around 8AM Cairo time, with men shooting randomly and possibly dumping a body. There’s also talk of protesters killed overnight in that location by police forces but no confirmation and no reputable sources reporting as of now.
At 10:18 Cairo time, Al Jazeera is reporting that the military is on the streets in Sharm El Sheikh resort area. This area is out of bounds to the military based on the Sinai Agreement. Only Egyptian police are supposed to patrol there but with no police, apparently the military has moved in. This would normally require permission from Israel but there is no confirmation on whether Israel has been contacted.
Amongst the other news heard overnight (US time)
- Al Jazeera reported that a meeting will be held today of the opposition parties to discuss a political strategy. ElBaradei has been calling for the creation of a transitional government to replace Mubarak’s regime, bringing together a range of parties, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for the same and noted that they will not put forward a candidate for president but instead support a broad coalition of all parties except Mubarak’s NDP.
- Secretary of State Clinton is booked on the main Sunday shows to talk about Egypt but no one is sure what she will say.
- The Muslim Brotherhood newsite is reporting that there is a struggle going on amongst the military leadership about whether to withdraw support for the government.
- There’s apparently a struggle inside Washington as well as Laura Rozen reports:
Washington Egypt hands suggested there was tension inside the Obama administration — which met for three hours Saturday on the Egypt crisis — between those advocating the U.S. maintain a “cautious” policy of hedging its bets for now that Mubarak might stay on, and those who see that his departure is inevitable. They also said that some members of the administration were influenced by Israel’s concern at losing a reliable peace partner.
- In Yemen:
Hundreds of Yemenis rallied here Saturday against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to support Egyptian protesters… Demonstrators, included opposition politicians and journalists, marched toward the Egyptian Embassy in support of the protesters in Egypt while repeating their demands for the ouster of the Yemeni president.
Inspired by the Tunisia-style revolution, the Yemeni protesters shouted “down with the regime — the people want Saleh to leave”, witnesses said…
When the demonstrators approached the Egyptian embassy, some plain-clothes men beat demonstrators and dispersed the rally, eyewitnesses said. Around ten demonstrators were seriously injured and were rushed to hospitals, they said.
- In Jordan:
Inspired by unrest in Tunisia and elsewhere in the region, about 200 Jordanians gathered outside the prime minister’s office shouting “Our government is a bunch of thieves” and holding banners reading “No to poverty or hunger.”
“We’ve come from distant, rural areas to Amman to ask Rifai to leave,” said Mohammed Sunaid, a prominent labour activist. “We call for the overthrow of this government that has destroyed the poor. This government should be for all Jordanians not just the rich.”
Finally, Robert Fisk provides a good summation of where things stand as of now:
The Egyptian tanks, the delirious protesters sitting atop them, the flags, the 40,000 protesters weeping and crying and cheering in Freedom Square and praying around them, the Muslim Brotherhood official sitting amid the tank passengers. Should this be compared to the liberation of Bucharest? Climbing on to an American-made battle tank myself, I could only remember those wonderful films of the liberation of Paris. A few hundred metres away, Hosni Mubarak’s black-uniformed security police were still firing at demonstrators near the interior ministry. It was a wild, historical victory celebration, Mubarak’s own tanks freeing his capital from his own dictatorship…
… However crazed Mubarak’s choice of vice-president and his gradual appointment of a powerless new government of cronies, the streets of Cairo proved what the United States and EU leaders have simply failed to grasp. It is over.
Read it all – it’s a very good way to begin a new day of watching the revolution in Egypt.
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