Egypt revolution live updates: minute by minute account of "Departure Friday"

Ahram Online staff, Friday 4 Feb 2011

Ahram Online providing minute by minute live updates of "Departure Friday", the eleventh day of Egypt's historic popular uprising.

Protesters in Tahrir square last Tuesday

21:52 A Jazeera report that four high ranking interior ministry officials had been arrested was denied by a spokesman for the ministry.

21:19 Committee of Wise Men announce that a solution to the current political crisis will be reached within the hour.

21:17 Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik to Arabia TV: "We are holding talks with various factions of the protesters and are close to reaching an agreement."

21:12 El-Baradei's Facebook status line: I hope Mubarak will not ask the Egyptian people to leave.

21:09 Alexandria pro-democracy protesters engage in heated arguments over what next.

20:32 Blogger Wael Abbas has been released.

19:12 Members of the Committee of Wise Men, set up last Tuesday, tell Arabia TV they have received positive feedback regarding their suggestion that Mubarak hand-over presidential powers to Vice President Omar Soliman.. 

19:06 Egypt's most well-known blogger, Wael Abbas said, in a tweet updated by him, that he has been detained by the army.

19:00 Essam El-Erian, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, tells BBC the Islamist group does not seek any governmental posts, nor does it have a hidden agenda. "We just want to be part of the society, just like everybody else," said El-Erian.

18:38 "I have served Egypt, and am ready to submit to any investigation," former minister of industry and trade, Mohamed Rashid tells Arabia TV. The Prosecutor General today ordered Rashid's bank accounts frozen and banned him from leaving the country.

18:33 Rifaat El-Said, leader of the leftist Tagammu, tells On TV, article 82 of the Constitution offers an answer to the dilemma of having President Mubarak step down. According to Said, the article in question allows the president to transfer power to the prime minister or the vice president in case of incapacitating illness or other extraordinary circmustances preventing from the proper conduct of his duties.

18:05 Mohamed El-Sayed, a young doctor helping treat pro-democracy protesters injured in clashes with "pro-Mubarak" hooligans, was himself attacked and severely beaten by thugs, he told an Ahram Online reporter in Tahrir. The battered El-Sayed was so insensed he said he now wants President Mubarak to be prosecuted for crimes against the people, and not just to step down.

17:20 Minister of defence and several army commanders visit Tahrir Sq.

16:50 Thousands of pro-democracy protesters are still pouring into Tahrir Sq. despite the lateness of the hour, says Ahram Online correspondent.

16:47 Public Prosecuter orders the freezing of the bank accounts of former Minister of Industry and Trade, Rashid Mohamed Rashid, and bans him from leaaving the country.

16:44 Egyptian army steps in to rescue 18 journalists who had been held by "pro-Mubarak" thugs.

16:41 "I'm so glad that Egyptians are no longer fooled by false government promises, and stick to their demands to bring the regime down," Mona Abdel-Ghani, a member of the Press Syndicate Council, tells Ahram Online reporter in Tahrir Sq.

16:38 Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa on his twitter account: "I'm in Tahrir to ask people to calm down and start the conversation."

16:13 Members of oppostion groups meeting in the Upper Egyptian city of Qena are under siege by thugs wielding knives and swords, leading member of the Karama party, Amin Eskandar told Ahram Online.

15:59 Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters take to the streets in Suez, spokesperson for Ghad Party leader Ayman Nour, tells CNN.

15:49 Protesters hoist a giant banner on the tallest building in Tahrir square, declaring their demands in huge letters. These are: 1) Mubarak should step down; 2) the rigged parliament should be dissolved; 3) a freely elected parliament should introduce the constitutional amendments necessary for presidential elections; 4) the immediate prosecution and referral to trial of the “murderers” of pro-democracy protesters, and of those implicated in corruption.

15:38 Pro-democracy protesters in violent clashes with pro-Mubarak demonstrators in.

15:35 Some 2000 pro-Mubarak demonstrators gather in Mohandessin, demanding an end to the Tahrir protest, restoration of public order, and that President Mubarak should stay in power.

15:22 Internationally renowned novelist Paulo Coelho on his twitter account: "Remember today in Tahrir... Dreamers cannot be tamed."

15:19 Airport security bar the entry of arriving Dutch journalist Eric Feijten and deport him back.

15:17 Anti-Mubarak protest in the delta city of Zaqaziq.

15:15 The number of pro-democracy protesters in the Delta city of Mansoura reaches half a million.

15:13 The liberal Wafd Party, and the leftist Tagammu announce their willingness to enter into dialogue with the regime.

15:12 Anti-Mubarak demonstrations in the north Sinai city of Al-Arish.

15:10 Jazeera offices reportedly stormed by a gang of hooligans, who then began smashing the equipment and other contents.

15:06 Pro-democracy activist Asma Mahfouz tells BBC she has received death threats from ruling party members.

15:05 Ahram Online reporters in Tahrir report the arrival of gangs of "pro-Mubark" hooligans, who have started clashing with the pro-democracy protesters on the outskirts of the square.

14:58 The Committee of Wise men (established last Tuesday and made up of a number of public figures and respresentatives of political tendencies) has just released a statement containing four demands: 1) the government take responsibility for protecting the lives o protesters in Tahrir Sq. and ensuring safe access and exit from the square; 2) Government authorities should be held responsible for bringing an end to attacks by thugs and hooligans; 3) the arrest and detention of pro-democracy activists should cease, and those arrested immediately released; 4) the armed forces should take up their role in assisting the peaceful transition of power in Egypt.

14:55 In the Delta city of Mansoura, witness to huge pro-democracy demonstrations, a pro-Mubarak demonstration has started, including an estimated 10,000 people.

14:50  Reports of a number of protests in Upper Egypt, including Luxor, were several thousand people, reportedly led by El-Baradei's National Association for Change, are demanding Mubarak step down. More thousands are protesting in Aswan, similarly demanding regime change. In Qena, some 2000 people are holding a pro-Mubarak demonstration.

14:44 Arab League Secretay General has twice tried to reach the eastern end of Tahrir Sq. to address the protesters, but on each occasion was thronged by cheering and welcoming crowds, his bodyguards pulled him back to the League Secretariat building overlooking the square on its western side. He talked to an Ahram Online correspondent, telling him that he was "exhilerated" by the protests, and was keen to talk to them, and to offer his assistance in any way possible.

14:40 Two anti-Mubarak demonstrations in the southern city of Menia, one led by the Muslim Brotherhood, the other involving non-Brotherhood protesters.

14:39 In the Delta industrial city of Mahalla, tens of thousands of protesters demanding Mubarak step down.

14:28 In the southern Egyptian city of Assiout, thousands of protesters march, demanding President Mubarak should step down.

14:27 Reports of massive anti-Mubarak crowds heading from Mohandeseen and other districts to Tahrir.

14:20 Prominent anti-regime editor, Ibrahim Eissa, is welcomed with cheering and applause upon his arrival in Tahrir Sq. Famous for his fiery columns, the former editor of the daily Al-Dustour, was summarily dismissed, along with his top staff, upon the buying out of the newspaper by Wafd leader, El-Sayed El-Badawy, in a move many believed had been part of a deal with the government.

14:18 Tens of thousands are protesting before government building in the Delta city of Mansoura, demanding Mubarak should step down.

14:14 Mohamed Refaa El-Tahtawy, the official spokesman for Al-Azhar, Egypt's top Muslim religious institution, has announced his resignation from his post, and that he will head to Tahrir Sq. to join protesters.

1:45 Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa said to be heading to join pro-democracy protesters on Tahrir Sq. Mousa's is among the names the youth movements are discussing as possible candidates for a negotiating body with the state, and has been suggested as well as a possible candidate for the presidency.

1:40 Egyptian state media denies military forces arrested journalists that were earlier reported to have been captured by thugs.

13:36 More than 100,000 pro-democracy protesters in the Delta city of Mansoura demonstrate, demanding Mubarak step down.

13:34 Ahram Online correspondent in the Alexandria says nearly one million pro-democracy protesters are marching, chanting "down with the regime".

13:28 Ahram Online correspondent reporting from the north Cairo district of Helipolis says barbed wire barricades are being erected around the Presidential Palace there.

13:25 Ahram Online correspondent says army has deployed paratroopers to protect bridges, adding that the military are dealing respectfully with the protesters. The protesters, says our correspondent whom he now estimates their numbers may have risen to around a million, are a truly representative crowd, with chain smoking secular (unveild) women standing next to women in niqab (full veil).

13:08 Protesters' banners read 'People want the regime down", "No to Mubarak... No to Soleiman", "No to dictatorship and corruption. One unique banner says, "I am not a member of the (banned) Muslim Brotherhood, yet it's Mubarak who should be banned".

13:05 Despite yesterday’s clampdown on foreign correspondents, both by police and police-driven hooligans, our correspondent says a number of foreign correspondents can be seen in Tahrir Sq. Our correspondent added, “among the pro-democracy protesters, they know they are safe.”

13:00 No sooner had Friday prayers ended than protesters resumed their chants: "Leave", and "The Egyptian people want the regime down", say our correspondents.

13:00 Ahram Online correspondent estimates number of pro-democracy protesters gathered in Tahrir Sq. as having reached some half million.

12:45 "I had to queue for three hours to reach Tahrir Sq. from Qasr El-Nil bridge (normally a 5 minute walk)", protestor tells one Ahram Online correspondent.

12:30 Ahram Online correspondent says hundreds of thousands are joined in Friday prayers. She described the scene as totally amazing, similar only to scenes of prayers during the Hajj in Mecca. The thousands who are not praying encircle those engaged in prayer providing them with protection.

12:18 Friday sermons start in mosques all over Egypt, with government appointed preachers urging young protestors to calm 

12:10 Protestors ready for a mass friday prayer on Tahrir Sq.

12:00 Ahram Online correspondent in Tahrir says tens of thousands continue to descend on the square; as has been the case throughout the week, protestors’ have organized special security details to check IDS of all incomers. All those connected with the police in any way are barred from entery.

11:45 Defence Minister Tantawy to visit Tahrir Sq. shortly to check on security, acording to Egyptian state TV.

11:30 Heavy security cordon on all roads leading to Tahrir square, with all incomers having their IDs checked.

11:27 Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathering in Tahrir square in central Cairo, chanting ‘leave’ with many wearing construction helmets to protect against flying rocks.


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