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Posted at 2:23 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Egypt protests: Day seven (Live updates)

By Melissa Bell and Cory Haik
egypt riots
Army soldiers stand guard near the Pyramids in Cairo. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)


» Latest Updates
» Day Six Protests
» Day Five Protests
» Day Four Protests
» Day One Protests
» Latest Tweets about Cairo
» Police rejoin army in the streets: The Washington Post report
» Submit protest photos | Full photo gallery

Latest Updates
We'll be marking time in EST. Egypt is seven hours ahead. (See World Clock here.)

6:00 p.m. Photographs and wrap up

We'll end tonight with some photographs uploaded by Ramy Raoof to his Flickr account. Raoof, an Egyptian blogger, took these photos during the past few days of the protests. We'll be back in the morning to follow the day's progress. Thanks for joining us!

egypt riots
(Ramy Raoof)
egypt riots
(Ramy Raoof)
egypt riots
(Ramy Raoof)
egypt riots
(Ramy Raoof)

5:14 p.m. Last Internet ISP blocked in Egypt

Hossam el-Hamalawy, the Egyptian blogger, just contacted one of our reporters from Cairo and said the last Internet connection left in Egypt, the Noor ISP, is now out. There are rumors that mobile phones will be blocked tomorrow and he believes out-going international calls from landlines may be unavailable. On Twitter, people are reporting that only the National Technology Group (NTG) in Egypt has access to the Internet. The NTG provides access to aviation, banking and financial groups. The country is preparing for a "March of Millions," Tuesday. The organizers of the opposition groups have called for people to march from Tahrir Square to Mubarak's home. The march is slated to begin at 7 a.m. Egypt time, or 12 a.m. EST and thousands of people are currently camping out in Tahrir Square.

A message has been making the rounds on Facebook:

"if u know ppl in Egypt, here's a method to bypass government blocking of website names, use numerical IP addresses for twitter "" for facebook "" for google "" A french ISP, offer a free dial-up internet access against Egyptian censorship. Number : +33 1 72 89 01 50. Login/Password: toto. Pass it forward."

The technology cannot be verified, but it's another example of the lengths people are taking to subvert the Internet ban.

4:16 p.m. A 1991 interview with Hosni Mubarak

ABC just released this 1991 footage of Diane Sawyer's interview with Hosni Mubarak. It shows how Mubarak was once viewed as "one of Washington's big new heroes:"

3:34 p.m. Vice president opens dialogue with opposition

The newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, announced he would be open to a dialogue with the opposition to push through constitutional reforms, the news network Al Arabiya reports.

3:22 p.m. Video of protesters cleaning the streets

The independent Daily News Egypt released this video to show Egyptians taking care of one another during protests with "a new national pride." The video is an attempt to show that protesters are remaining civil, despite reports from the Egyptian government that the demonstrations have caused harm to the city:

3:17 p.m. Google executive missing in Egypt

Wael Ghonim

On Monday, friends of Wael Ghonim started asking on Twitter for any information relating to the whereabouts of Ghonim, Google's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa. The Egyptian Google executive has been missing since last week, and Al Jazeera said his wife has been appealing for any information on his whereabouts.

Ghonim was participating in the protests. One of his last tweets read:

Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die #Jan25less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

His friends have been spreading the word via Twitter:

wael ghonim is really missing though, no one's been able 2 reach him in 2 days #jan25less than a minute ago via Mobile Web

2:29 p.m. Economic fears in Cairo

Egypt has an economic output on par with that of Alabama, but the Post's financial reporter Neil Irwin says the crisis in the country has cast a pall on global financial markets. He writes:

The price of oil rose to $91.54 a barrel by midday Monday, the second day of steep increases that have pushed the price up from $85.64 at Thursday's close. Stocks fell in many of the world's developing nations - including some geographically distant from Egypt - on fears that the unrest could spread and that some emerging markets are riskier than investors had previously acknowledged. The Jakarta Composite Index, measuring the stock market in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country by population, was down 2.25 percent.

Adding to the shaky world outlook, the Wall Street Journal reports that Coca-Cola Co. has closed its businesses in Cairo because of the unrest and will not reopen until security improves. Nestle SA said its operations in Egypt have been interrupted. It has about 3,000 employees. There are already widespread reports of food shortages in Egypt.

2:23 p.m. Army will not use violence against citizens

The Egyptian army released a statement promising not to use violence against citizens. From Reuters:

The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people.
Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody.

2:15 p.m. Egyptian blogger: Mubarak "will be taken into custody"

Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian blogger and journalist from Cairo, told our online readers in a chat:

I see [Mubarak] stepping down pretty soon or else he will be taken into custody of the protestors and will be put on trial. I do not worry about a power vacuum because the people are already taking initiatives on the ground to fill any security or political vacuums as we saw in the case of the popular committee that are running security now in the Egyptian neighborhoods, following the evacuation of the police.
I think Mubarak is confused and desperate so he is trying every trick in the book. But it's not working because the street pressure continues and escalates. Mubarak hoped for the end of the protests when he sent in the army expecting that people will be scared by the sight of the tanks and fighter jets. But it backfired.

Read his whole chat here.

2:00 p.m. The scene in Tahrir Square

egypt riots
Egyptian demonstrators gather at dusk in Tahrir Square. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

1:54 p.m. One dead in Sudan

The AFP reports that one student died from Sunday's clash between student protesters and police in Khartoum.

1:32 p.m. Shortcomings in a tweeted revolution?

Amid all the conversation in the Western media about how social media has propelled and produced the uprisings in Egypt and other parts of the Arab world, I am reminded of a blog post Helmi Noman, a Middle East Internet expert at Harvard University, wrote about the Tunisia uprising:

The Internet has not democratized a regime, but rather created an information paradigm that democratizes access to information and liberates users from the control of content providers.

In Tunisia, it was not a tweet that started the revolution. Someone killed himself to protest oppression. The protest was tweeted. The protest created the tweet, not vise versa.

It is not a Twitter Revolution, but rather a tweeted revolution.

The situation in Egypt has gripped the world because it has been a tweeted uprising from its inception as the Twitter hashtag #jan25. U.S. State Department officials make announcements online, leaders of the opposition have Twitter accounts. The stream of information gives everyone constant access to the unrest.

Perhaps because of this, the Egyptian government has constantly been working to shut off that awareness as much as possible. In a state where plain-clothes government officials are walking in and shutting down newspaper bureaus, protesters have turned to all sorts of forms of communication to get the word out -- from Google Voice lines to ham radios. There are scores of networks of technologists and social media folks out there who want to make sure information is getting out.

One of the questions these workarounds brings up, however, is how much these tools can be trusted. Couple that with the confusion in Egypt around who is siding with whom. the Post's correspondent in Cairo Griff Witte reports from Cairo that soldiers are rolling in with tanks and then shouting to crowds that they are with them.

Should the protesters and its netizenery be concerned that the sources they are moving to help them relay information would in some way return to harm them?

The New York Times' Lede blog points to an Egyptian blogger, Sandmonkey who warns people against a Facebook list of missing people. "DO NOT RESPOND," he tweeted. "This is state security trying to get info on us."

Another pitfall is that plans on social media are never secret. Already there are reports that train services have been cut in the country so people cannot come to the proposed march planned for Tuesday.

Are there other downfalls to tweeting an uprising? Let us know in the comments or by email (

12:58 p.m. Protests at London home of Gamal Mubarak

Johann Hari, a journalist for the Independent in London, says there are protests happening outside the London home of Gamal Mubarak right now. Gamal Mubarak was widely considered his father's successor before the protests broke out.There have been a number of rumors about his leaving Egypt for London and the BBC reported he arrived in London on Saturday.

12:13 p.m. Al Jazeera journalists released after pressure from U.S. State Department

"We have been told that following a request from The State Department, >@StateDept, Al Jazeera's journalists have been released," Alec Ross, a State Department employee, wrote on Twitter.

The State Department has also set up an assistance telephone number and e-mail address for anyone who is concerned about a U.S. citizen in Egypt:

Those concerned that their U.S. citizen loved one may need assistance in #Egypt: call 1-202-501-4444 | email EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.govless than a minute ago via web

11:23 a.m. Footage of Mubarak swears in new cabinet

Mubarak swore in new members of his cabinet earlier on Monday:

11:17 a.m. Americans leave Egypt

Around 2,400 Americans have contacted US officials seeking assistance in leaving Egypt, NBC reports. Colleges with students studying abroad in Egypt have started emergency evacuation plans.

The Post's Janine Zacharia is at the Cairo airport:

Toilets overflowed and convenience stores began running out of snacks at Cairo's international airport early Monday as tourists from around the world besieged terminals in a mad scramble to flee Egypt's growing chaos.
The airport was completely overwhelmed by passengers, many of whom showed up without a reservation after failing to get through to airlines because of the government-orchestrated disruption to Internet and cellphone service. Landlines also have failed frequently over the past several days.
At the airport, the departure areas of both Terminals 1 and 3 were suffocating mayhem late Sunday and early Monday, with people and luggage jammed up against one another. It was impossible to reach ticket counters.
Some people simply gave up and waited outside on curbs as they contemplated their next move. There were few, if any, security officers in sight.
At Kuwait Airways' check-in area early Monday, hundreds of people jumped up on counters and yelled when they were told there was no more seats available for outgoing flights.
People refused to budge and, at 4 a.m., were still staying put, with no other option apparent to them. Passengers heaved their luggage over their heads, aimlessly pushing their way through the crowd.

11:06 a.m. Chat with Egyptian blogger

At noon EST, Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian blogger and journalist (known on Twitter as @3arabawy), will be taking questions online at the Post here. El-Hamalawy is also one of the leading online protesters against the Mubarak government, tweeting and blogging news about the demonstrations. Submit your questions now and come back at noon to chat with him online.

Army helicopter is now circulating. Forget it Hosni. That will not terrorize us. You r finished!less than a minute ago via web

10:01 a.m. Tweets from arrested Al Jazeera reporters

Six Al Jazeera correspondents were detained Monday by Egyptian authorities. On Sunday, the Cairo bureau of the Middle East news organization was shut down. Al Jazeera correspondent Dan Nolan tweeted out his detainment:

4 soldiers entered room took our camera. Wr ae under military arrest #Egypt #jan25less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Unsure if arrested or about to be deported. 6 of us held at army checkpoint outside Hilton hotel. Equipment seized too. #Egypt #jan25less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Losing my phone now. Think we are ok. #Egypt #Jan25less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

We're okay, they held us for 3 hours, we've been released, took cameras, laptops and phones #Egypt #Jan25less than a minute ago via web

9:08 a.m. Latest news from Cairo

• President Hosni Mubarak swore in a new cabinet Monday. The biggest change was replacing the interior minister, Habib el-Adly, with retired police general Mahmoud Wagdi. There were hints Sunday that el-Adly was on the outs with Mubarak when he did not attend a meeting between the president and the military. The Interior Ministry controls the riot police, who have been severely condemned by protesters for their brutality during earlier demonstrations. The defense minister and foreign minister remained the same.

• Cairo airport is filled with international citizens evacuating the country. Colleges with students studying abroad in Egypt, including Georgetown and George Washington University, have started emergency plans to escort students out of the country.

• Police were back on the streets after disappearing over the weekend and a relative calm has descended over Cairo. Protesters are continuing to ignore the curfew, put in place for 3 p.m. Egyptian time.

• A wide strike has been called for Tuesday by protest organizers.

• The Obama administration aligned itself on Sunday with the protest movement, calling for an "orderly transition" to a more representative government.

• There have been reports of fuel and food shortages, as the supply lines have been disrupted throughout the country.

• Six Al Jazeera journalists were detained by Egyptian authorities and their equipment confiscated.

• Moody's Investors Service downgraded Egypt's outlook to negative.

• Here's a video of hundreds marching to Tahrir Square by Egyptian journalist Ramy Raoof. He says the footage was shot earlier today:

Hundreds Marching to Tahrir Square, Cairo from Ramy Raoof on Vimeo.

By Melissa Bell and Cory Haik  | January 31, 2011; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is Internet access a basic human right?
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