Recap: Calm prevails in Tahrir after night of bloody battles, truce holds into morning

Ahram Online, Monday 21 Nov 2011

Police attack Tahrir Square to disperse thousands of anti-SCAF protesters at 5pm; Protesters fight back and regain control of square; truce reached and holds overnight

Protesters perform Sunset prayers while the army invades Tahrir square (Al Jazeera TV)

5:00- 6:00am: Street vendors work the square selling sandwiches, tea, cigarettes. The air smells less of tear gas as it did for hours and more like gasoline - as protesters light up dozens of fires to stay warm. Many protesters do not believe that this is the end of the battle, and some anticipate that police might break the agreement by morning time. Taxis and microbuses edge near the square to pick up exhausted protesters who are heading home.

5:00am: Standoff between a few hundred protesters and central security forces on Mohamed Mahmoud street. Protesters build barricades up and down the road where the old American University in Cairo stands. Protesters perform morning prayers less than 100 yards from soldiers who are cutting off the path to the ministry of interior. A teenager throws a molotov cocktail bomb in the direction of soldiers who do not respond - for the first time all night. Some scold the youngster for unnecessarily and prematurely provoking the cops. Tens of Soldiers facing protesters show signs of exhaustion and some squatt in a sign the police might have called it a night.

4:00am: A few thousand protesters hold square. Most reports put the dead at 10 and the injured close to 1500. Many people who fought the police for hours are beat and sleep in the central island. A few people are putting up tents. Dozens organise some check points at several entrances to the square.

3:15am: Imam Mazhar Shahin, the revolution's preacher who led Friday prayers since the outbreak of the revolution and a harsh critic of the old regime, announces via microphone in the square that he brokered a deal with government whereby police will cease attempts to break sit-in, youth will form popular committees to secure square , and an end to bloodshed.

2:35am: Numbers in Tahrir halved in the last hour. Thousands still holding square.

2:20am: Young protesters hurl molotov cocktail bombs at police from a buildig roof on Mohamed Mahmoud street to relieve protesters confronting security forces firing rubber bullets and tear gas below. A protester catches fire from a molotov bomb but quickly saved by comrade.

2:15am: Mazhar Shahin Imam of Omar Makram mosque in Tahrir square said on ONTV that he brokered a deal between protestors, the army and the Police. According to Shahin the Police will back up from the outskirsts of Tahrir square while the protestors will refrain of trying to attack the Ministry of interior, while army vehicles will act as a buffer between protestors and the police. It is still unclear if all the groups of protestors will accept the deal. 

2:08am: Activists identify green lazer beams that police use when snipers  are mobilised.

2:02am:  Protesters chant against Tantawi and call for the military council to depart.

1:50am: Battle rages at two entrances to Tahrir. Reports that the police has attacked one of the two field hospitals in the square and demolished it for the second time today. Doctors are making phone calls to divert cases to near by hospitals such as Kasr El-Aini 10 minutes off Tahrir.

1:30am: Police are firing tear gas from Falaki square - 200 meters northeast of the square into the area. Gas is rising and filling up apartment buildings on Tahrir street whch leads into the square.

1:15am: Former presidential candidate Aiman Nour tells ONTV that the army today behaved like Mubarak's repressive forces and it feels that the former Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly is not in jail but actually free and reining repression on the people like the old days.

1:00am: Field hospital outside of KFC in the square continues to treat protesters suffering from gas tear and rubber bullets.

12:15am: Around fifty thousand protesters are still in Tahrir. Clashes still ongoing at Tahrir Street and Mohamed Mahmoud street leading to the Ministry of Interior between protesters and military police

12:04am: Ministry of health raises count of dead to 10 and injured to over 1700 after two days of clashes.

10:30pm: Ministry of health raises count of dead to 6 and injured to over 1000 after two days of clashes.

10:27pm: Protesters continue to hold off police at Mohamed Mahmoud street off square.

10:11pm: The president of the influential Journalist syndicate, Mamdouh El-Wali, defends the people's right to protest, condemns violence against reporters and protesters by authorities, and announces that the entire board of the syndicate demands the resignation of the government of Essam Sharaf.

9:55pm: Crowds in Tahrir demand that military council give up power. "The People want the field marshal out!", "Depart means go! What do you not understand?"

9:45pm: Egyptian state tv releases the first statement issued by SCAF following the failed attempt of security forces to evacuate protesters from Tahrir in which the council calls on all political parties and youth groups to assist the council in containing the situation in Tahrir.

9:40pm: Numbers increase in the square. Tens of thousands roar in Tahrir against military council. "Speak up, do not be scared - the council must depart", We will defend the revolution till death" and other chants.

9:18pm: Presidential hopeful Mohamed El-Baradei releases a statement condemning government violence in dispersing Tahrir protesters, supports demands of stopping military trials against civilians and the formation of a salvation government with full jurisdiction.

8:53pm: Protest in front of the security directorate headquarters in the city of Qena, in solidarity with Tahrir protesters.

8:21pm: Police firing tear gas at the protest in front of the Alexandria police headquarters in Semouha. Residents in close buildings can hear the screams and chants, smell the tear gas.

8:20pm: A number of activists in the cities of Ismailiya and Tanta rally in solidarity protests with Tahrir.

8:07pm: Eyewitness on Twitter: Arbaeen square in Suez is packed with protesters.

8:02pm: Solidarity march in the city of Minya in Upper Egypt. Protesters attempt to storm police station.

7:49pm: Ministry of health revises numbers for dead in clashes down to three and says 192 people have been injured.

7:46pm Al Jazeera reports large protests in Suez in solidarity with protesters in Cairo. In Alexandria,

Large numbers of mourners bury member of Revolutionary Youth Coalition who was killed on Saturday then start protests against ruling military council.

Large numbers of protesters are surrounding police headquarters and army headquarters in Alexandria.

7:24pm: Prospective presidential candidate Amr Moussa tells reporters: "Military council should announce a clear-cut time schedule for Egypt's upcoming elections, and situation now is threatening the future of Egypt's political future."

7:15pm: Protesters chant against Field marshal Tantawi and military rule at center of square.

7:10pm: Health ministry confirms 5 deaths among protesters upon the attack on Tahrir square by security forces.

7:09pm: Cabinet statement: Government committed to holding elections on time.

6:46pm: Clashes still ongoing at Mohamed Mahmoud street leading into Tahrir between protesters and military police.

6:44pm: Ahram Online reporter: a march circling the square chants "the people demand the ousting of the Field Marshal Tantawi."

6:40pm: Cabinet ministers head to the Military Council headquarters for an emergency meeting to discuss the latest developments in Tahrir.

6:22pm: Egyptian minister of culture Emad Abu Ghazi resigns in protest over the violent reaction of authorities to the Tahrir protest.

6:21pm: Protesters secure the square again after retaking control of it upon the retreat of security forces, and set check points at multiple entrances.

6:14pm: Protesters retake the square at the apparent retreat of central security forces and military police.

6:13pm: Bothaina Kamel released by security forces

6:12 pm: Thousands of protesters retake the square at the apparent retreat of central security forces and military police.

6:04pm: Presidential candidate Bothaina Kamel confirms Kamel has been arrested by Central Security Forces.

6:02pm: Military police completely block Mohamed Mahmoud street leading to Interior Ministry Headquarters in an attempt to defend complex.

5:55: @khalidabdallah tweets from the square, "temperature in Tahrir is higher than camel wednesday. The bell has been struck. The end is coming."  

5:48pm: Islamist presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abou-Ismail and supporters trapped inside Omar Makram Mosque. Abou-Ismail told supporters that whoever wishes to go 'defend the square' may do so and whoever wishes to stay in the mosque can stay.

6:00pm Ahram Online reporters confirm one protester dead and the number could be as high as three.

5:53pm: A group of protesters gathering in front of the Egyptian Museum's entry to Tahrir Square discussing reentering the square.

5:45pm Battles rage on side streets around Tahrir square with eyewitnesses reporting that field hospital has been completely demolished by police.

Eyewitnesses tell Al Jazeera some of the protesters have sustained bullet injuries.

5:30pm Protesters are regrouping in Talaat Harb street, according to  eyewitnesses in the area. Protesters are chanting: The People Want to oust Field Marshal Tantawi.

Ahram Online reporters say that some protesters are attempting to reenter Tahrir square from the southside near the downtown area.

Al Jazeera is carrying footage of ambulances carrying injured protesters out of the square. Al Jazeera reprter says he has talked to protesters who say they have been shot with rubber bullets.

5:20pm In front of the Shura council building on Kasr El Aini street, there are tens of injured protesters with wounds all over their bodies. Ambulances drive down Kasr el Aini towards Tahrir to pick up and transport the protesters back to the hospital every couple of minutes.     

Other groups of protesters were standing at the Sheikh Rihan street intersection with Kasr el aini, throwing rocks at the police forces.

5:15pm Tahrir news is reporting that the police have attacked the field hospital with tear gas cannisters and that doctorsare fleeing the makeshift clinic.

Tens of armored personnel carriers continue to attack the square with rubber bullets and tear gas.

5:12pm: Eyewitness account on Mohamed Mahmoud street describes being beaten by military police with batons, not distinguishing between women and men, as they shout "you deserve this you sons of dogs."     

5:10pm Police forces and military police attack Tahrir Square to disperse protesters who have been staging an anti-SCAF sit-in since Saturday.

Protesters ran into the side streets, where they are being chased by police forces. Many are arrested and many wounded, according to eyewitnesses.

Al Jazeera television is carrying live footage of central security forces destroying and burning tents in the central island in Tahrir square. Other soldiers are seen burning motorcycles that were abandoned by protesters.

Thousands of protesters are hurling stones at attacking soldiers as night falls on Tahrir, live TV coverage shows.


See video attached.

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Sarah Raslan, Nada El-kouny, Sherry El-Gergawi, Salma Shukrallah, Yassin Gaber, Ahmed Abd Resoul and Mostafa Ali contributed to this report.

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