LIVE UPDATES: Egypt's Martyrs' Day of Rage

Ahram Online , Wednesday 29 Jun 2011

Families of the January 25 Revolution martyrs have taken to Tahrir Square after a night of violent clashes with police reminiscent of street battles from the first 18 days of the uprising

Demonstrators flash the victory sign (Photo: AP)
Demonstrators flash the victory sign ad chant angry slogans during clashes with Egyptian security close to the interior ministry in Cairo, Egypt, early Wednesday, June 29, 2011 (Photo: AP)

5:36 The number of injured continues to climb. In a new ministry of health update, the assistant to the health minister declares that 1114 have up till now been injured. Of those, 990 were given treatment in the square while 124 were transferred to hospital.

05:05 Clashes between protesters and security forces have ceased around the interior ministry as earlier tensions subside.

Several military units branch out in an attempt to secure the ministry’s offices as armed forces continue to monitor all roads leading to the ministry. Most protesters have moved away from the ministry, settling in Tahrir Square.

05:00 An interior ministry official reveals that security forces have arrested 34 suspects believed to have been involved in the Tahrir clashes, including an American and British national. The suspects have been transferred to military prosecution for questioning.

04:50 Ahmed El-Samman, the official Cabinet spokesperson, states as false, reports that Minister of Interior Mansour El-Eissawi has resigned. Several satellite channels announced earlier today that El-Eissawi submitted his resignation due to the clashes in Tahrir Square.

04:30 About 2000 protesters remain in the square. Eyewitnesses at the scene say that the situation has calmed down and that the flow of traffic has resumed.

Groups of protesters in the square have begun clearing up the debris.

04:15 The ministry of interior releases a second statement saying that investigations have already been launched into Tuesday's incidents and the findings will be released shortly. Appealing to people's desire for stability, the ministry asked that the Egyptian people and the revolutionary youth not fall prey to rumours and lies meant to create divisions and raise tensions between the police and the people in the name of the martyrs of the revolution and their families.

The statement also insists that Egypt’s security forces have exhibited “wisdom and the highest level of self-control.” Rehashing their earlier statement, the ministry asserted that there are presently no security forces in Tahrir Square and that they are only surrounding the interior ministry to protect it from attack and those trying to storm it, which represents vandalism and a lack of respect for the law.

04:00 According to Abdel Hameed Abaza, assistant to the Minister of Health, yesterday’s clashes saw 1036 injured. Of those, 916 have already received treatment, while the remaining 120 have been transferred to hospitals.

03:45 The Revolutionary Youth Coalition release a statement on their Facebook page, demanding that the names of the officers and snipers responsible for attacking and killing protesters during the January 25 Revolution be made public.

The statement also expressed the coalition’s dissatisfaction with the slow pace with which the trials of police officers were proceeding and insisted that without justice neither the revolutionaries nor their families would calm down.

03:35 Three governorates, Suez, Alexandria and Cairo, have announced that there will be an open-ended sit-in until all demands are met.

03:15 The National Consensus Conference suggest that the government remove the headquarters of Parliament, the Shura Council and the ministry of interior from downtown Cairo, in order to protect them from future thuggery.

The National Consensus is a conference led by Deputy Prime Minister Yeyha El-Gamal to discuss Egypt's interim period with political analysts, leaders and other interested parties.

03:10 Political activist Wael Ghonim, remarking on Tuesday’s clashes through Facebook, states that the current “explosion” – referring to Wednesday’s clashes – is a natural upshot, stemming from the continuous delays in the trials of corrupt regime figures and the lack of any revolutionary decisions to curtail the rampant spread of corruption throughout the country.

03:05 Qasr El-Aini Street open to traffic.

03:00 Sami Mahmoud, deputy minister of tourism and deputy to the head of the Tourism Development Authority, stated that Tuesday's clashes will have a negative impact on Egypt’s tourism, especially if the situation persists for several days.

Tahrir Square, Mahmoud added, has become an international symbol, which means that all eyes are on it.

Moreover, the fact that the Egyptian Museum is within walking distance of the square may scare tourists away. He also stated that Egyptian tourism has recently begun to pick up following the January 25 Revolution, with 70 per cent occupancy rates in Red Sea hotels and 50 per cent in Cairo and Sharm El-Sheikh.

02:55 Amnesty International issues a statement on Twitter, stating that its team in Tahrir did not see any thugs clashing with security forces. Rather, they saw the families of the January 25 Revolution martyrs and activists.

02:50 According to one of our reporters, military police are standing, blocking off Mohammed Mahmoud Street which leads to the ministry of interior. They are advancing, at intervals, towards the protesters – estimated at around 500 – in what seems to be an attempt to clear the area surrounding the ministry.

Some protesters are making calls to return to Tahrir Square and reinforce their numbers. The numbers in Tahrir are still increasing. In total, there are an estimated 5,000 protesters.

02:30 The prime minister’s spokesperson stated that there have been no deaths from Tuesday night’s clashes in Tahrir Square and the Ballon Theatre in Agouza. He added that there are only 65 injured, 55 of who have already been treated and released from hospital. This figure is in sharp contrast with the health ministry's figures that earlier stood at 590 injured.

02:29 The ministry of interior issue a short statement on its official Facebook page saying that there are currently no security forces in Tahrir and that security forces are only responding to attempts aimed at breaking into the ministry of interior.

02:16 An eyewitness in Suez tells Ahram Online that protests erupted in the coastal city this morning in solidarity with the families of the martyrs.

Hundreds gather in Isaaf Square in El-Arbaeen District where the Suez Youth Bloc calls for an open sit-in.

01:46 Presidency hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi's campaign and 6th April Youth Movement announce that they will join the protesters in Tahrir Square for the planned sit-in.

01:30 Nine people, accused of instigating the violence that erupted yesterday, have been transferred to the military prosecution, according to the Cabinet official Facebook page.

The prosecution has begun questioning the group to understand the reasons behind the clashes that erupted yesterday in front of the Ballon Theatre in Agouza, the Tahrir Square and the Ministry of Interior.

01:30 Egypt's EGX30 main stock index is continuing its decline, slipping further to minus 1.55 per cent.

01:11 The clashes have subsided and calm has descended throughout the streets. There are still thousands in the square. Some chanting can be heard from pockets of demonstrators.

 01:00 Minister of Culture Emad Abu Ghazi has released a statement saying that the attacks by thugs on the Ballon Theatre in Agouza, was “prearranged.” Ghazi states that they are not, as they claim, the families of the martyrs, as they did not arrive on the buses which carried the martyrs' families. What’s more, they arrived wielding sticks, batons and firearms

12:56 On Twitter, journalist Thanassis Cambanis states: “Mob took away my press card in Tahrir and is taking me to police station.”

Cambanis is a  journalist and teacher specialising in the Middle East. He contributes regularly to the New York Times, the Boston Globe and other publications.

12:55 Ahly Ultras join the fray.

12:53 According to official figures released by the ministry of health, Tahrir Square clashes have thus far left 590 injured, 75 of which were taken to nine different hospitals while the rest were treated within square. At present, only 33 cases remain in hospital. There are 32 ambulances around the square, ready to transfer more injured. 

12:40: Tear gas rains down on protesters at the interior ministry from inside the ministry itself. 

12:39 Volunteer doctors are arriving to offer assistance in the field hospital. Activists on Twitter are calling for medical supplies. An Ahram Online reporter sees more than one protester injured by rounds of ‘pellets.’ Doctors confirm that injuries are due to ‘pellet fire.’

12:25 The Muslim Brotherhood’s online website claims that thugs were trying to break into the ministry of interior as the revolutionary youth tried to protect the ministry. Sheikh Safwat Hegazy went to the square and asked the 'real revolutionary youth' and the martyrs' families to leave the square as to not give the remnants of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s regime and their thugs a chance to destabilise the country.

12:20 Military police are seen arriving in armoured personnel carriers in front of the interior ministry.

12:15 Egypt main stock index the EGX30 declined 1.05 per cent at the opening of Wednesday's session in a reaction to ongoing violent clashes between security forces and protesters on Tahrir Square. It slipped further to 1.16 per cent at 12:00. "We expected blue chip companies, which were doing well yesterday, to decline today based on selling data. When the clashes happened, we became sure this would be the result," Ashraf Abdul Aziz, head of institutions sales at Arabia Online Securities, told Ahram Online.

12:05 The Revolution Coalition, the 6th of April Movement and a number of other groups are calling for an open sit-in in Tahrir Square starting from today 29 June until "the people's demands are met.” The sit-in, according to the statement published on the group's Facebook page, is to continue daily until 10pm.

Groups calling for another Friday of Rage on 8 July have made the following demands:

  1.  An immediate end to the emergency law
  2. Dismissing the Prosecutor-General, the interior minister, the finance minister and all ministers affiliated with the ousted president's National Democratic Party (NDP) and appointing an information minister from the revolutionaries.
  3. The National Association for Change to become an interim parliament until parliamentary elections are held. The interim parliament will then be in charge of reviewing and passing any laws submitted by the government.
  4. The role of the army will be to defend the borders and assist the police until it can begin functioning as normal
  5. Dismissing all current governors and holding elections for civilian governors within 60 days.

12:00. "We expected blue chip companies, which were doing well yesterday, to decline today based on selling data. When the clashes happened, we became sure this would be the result," Ashraf Abdul Aziz, head of institutions sales at Arabia Online Securities, told Ahram Online.

11:55 Protesters are collecting spent tear gas canisters, indicating to our reporter that they have “Made in USA” stamped in clear blue letters on the shell.

11:50 An Ahram Online reporter confirms the use of rubber bullets by police inside the square. Protesters are chanting: “The people demand the removal of the Field-Marshall" – referring to Egypt’s de-facto military ruler Field-Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.

11:45 Tear gas canisters are finding their way into AUC’s campus. Protesters are jumping inside to remove the canisters and prevent any possible fires.  Traffic begins to flow through Tahrir Square except around Abdel Moniem Riad Square.

11:42 Protesters are trying to build barricades to prevent police from entering Tahrir Square via Mohammed Mahmoud Street. They are facing a “nonstop bombardment of tear gas,” according to an Ahram Online reporter near the ministry of interior.

11:27 Zamalek Ultras group announces on Twitter that they will soon head to Tahrir Square to join the protesters.

11:20 An eyewitness tells Ahram Online that the clashes Tuesday began after the families of the martyrs protested outside the Cabinet offices demanding 'justice'. The police proceeded to attack the protestors until they reached Tahrir Square where they started chanting slogans against the police and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the country’s de-facto rulers.

The police attached the protesters again in Tahrir, according to the account. The clashes outside the Balloon Theatre followed those that took place outside the Cabinet.

11:16 Police retreat to the other end of Falaki Street, according to an eyewitness. Around a hundred demonstrators begin moving towards the retreating police.

11:05 In the twitterverse, ElBaradie messages: "Sluggishness, opaqueness & confusion eroding credibility. Clear vision, transparency, time line & genuine participation urgently required."

11:00 Clashes are still on-going at the interior ministry. Protesters are marching down Bab El-Louq Street towards the ministry but are finding their way obstructed by volleys of tear gas. Hundreds are being transferred to the ambulances.

10:58 The cabinet issues a statement on its official Facebook page, stating that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is calling on all Egyptian youth to protect the revolution. Sharaf adds that there is some systematic plan to spread chaos throughout the country. Furthermore, the prime minister is following the matter and has been in contact with the interior ministry since Tuesday night.

10:55  Health ministry confirms the death of one of the wounded  protesters at the Balloon Theatre in Agouza, Cairo.

10:45 Thousands are gathered in Tahrir Square after a bloody night . Police are firing tear gas relentlessly into crowds of protesters along Qasr El-Aini Street close to the American University in Cairo's downtown campus. According to an Ahram Online reporter more than a dozen ambulances are lined up nearby, providing aid to numerous victims, asphixiated by the barage of tear gas.

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