Egypt protests "Day of Departure" day eleven
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A moment of unity and music, via al-Jazeera. On Friday, amid shouts for Mubarak to step down, a guitarist starts playing and the crowd joins him in song. With that, we will be closing up the blog for the night. Thank you for being with us.
Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud, an Egyptian reporter shot during the clashes four days ago, died of his wounds, Al Jazeera reports.
Obama is discussing Egypt during a press conference with the Canadian prime minister. He reiterated points that have become part of the White House's response in the Egyptian conversation: hope for a orderly transition and an emphasis on peace and safety for Egyptian people. He condemned the violence toward journalists. "We want to see this moment of turmoil turn into a moment of opportunity," Obama said. He stopped short, once again, of calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to leave his post immediately, instead repeating that the transition must begin "now."
The Obama administration has been working to persuade opposition groups to participate in a Saturday meeting with Vice President Omar Suleiman, the Post's Karen DeYoung reports, but opposition leaders insist no dialogue can begin without Mubarak leaving office. "Even as it presses for a dialogue with the opposition -- and with its own preferred outcome in mind of an "orderly transition" that includes Mubarak's departure and a strong military role -- the administration remains wary of proposing a specific plan. Officials were loath even to name those opposition figures with whom they are speaking, lest those figures be tainted with a "made in America" label."
Sky News reports on the tens of thousands of protesters filling the streets of Alexandria:
"Having a policeman say he wanted to kill me wasn't my most frightening moment yesterday in Cairo." So begins the story of Maram Mazen's attack by a mob in Cairo. The Bloomberg reporter and Egyptian just posted her story about how her vehicle was attacked, her possessions stolen and she and her friends detained during Thursday's round up of journalists and human rights workers.
While many Western journalists were released Thursday, CNN reports that three French journalists and a French research are still missing, according to the French Foreign Ministry.
A former Egyptian foreign minister, Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, appeared among the crowds in Tahrir Square, state-run Nile TV said. It was unclear what his intention was, but he was greeted with cheers, the New York Times reports. Nick Kristof, a New York Times columnist, wrote on Twitter that "Lots of people in Tahrir have mentioned Amr Moussa as a potential president. His trip to the square puts him in play."
Muhammad Rifaa al-Tahtawi, the spokesman for Al-Azhar University, resigned his position and joined the protests, Al-Masry Al-Youm English news Web site reports.
Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi was also seen at Tahrir Square, but he was likely there to review the troops stationed at the protest site.
While most dispatches from Egypt have spoken about the peace in Tahrir Square and in other protests around the country, there have been reports of continued violence Friday. The English-language news web site, Ahram Online, reports that a doctor working in a makeshift triage center was attacked and beaten.
The Muslim Brotherhood office has been reportedly raided and members have been arrested. BBC reported that two of its online staff were "ruthlessly assaulted."
Wael Abbas, a well-known Egyptian blogger, wrote on Twitter that he had been arrested by the army.
Globe and Mail reporter Sonia Verma, one of the journalists detained on Thursday, was rushed by a mob Friday with her colleague Patrick Martin. She wrote on Twitter, "The pro-Mubarak crowds are ruthless: Some observations: They are armed, not just with sticks, but with guns."
Ibrahim Kamel, the general secretary of Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, spoke to the BBC Friday morning. He said that the Western media is conducting an "ugly campaign against Egypt" and "when the dust settles I do hope that you will all be apologetic to the Egyptians." He said most Egyptians are developing the impression that the protests are a conspiracy against Egypt, perpetrated by the Western media and that Mubarak would not step down.
Readers have been sending in their first-hand accounts from the past 11 days in Cairo. Sarah Blake, a 19-year-old American student in Cairo, wrote, "I saw a man, his eyes bloodshot. He was struggling to breathe and could barely see and I offered him water from my bottle. He managed to find composure,... took that moment to put his anger aside and show genuine gratefulness. When he gave the bottle back he went back to yelling and screaming and protesting." Read more dispatches here and submit your own story here.
As its traffic sharply spiked in February because of its intense coverage of the Egyptian protests, al-Jazeera has started a campaign to bring its television news network to more cable channels. On Feb. 10, Al-Jazeera is encouraging a meet up in 224 communities for viewers to demand the network on U.S. television.
Abderrahim Foukara, the Washington bureau chief of al-Jazeera, will be taking questions online at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the protests in Egypt, the detention of journalists and what Americans don't get about the conflict.
In South Africa, approximately 3,000 demonstrators held a peaceful protest, blocking the street in front to Egypt's embassy and shouting "out with Mubarak" in English, Afrikaans, Zulu, and Arabic.
In Malaysia, hundreds gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy to urge the U.S. government not to interfere with protests in Cairo. Seven men were arrested for unruly behavior in an illegal gathering.
Residents of the Texas area are planning a "Super Rally for Solidarity" in Arlington on Super Bowl Sunday. Organizers say they expect several hundred people attend.
Hundreds of Jordanians staged an uprising Friday in Amman against their prime minister, installed just days earlier in response to anti-government marches. The turnout was smaller than previous protests, as Jordan's main Muslim opposition group said it wants to give the new leader a chance to institute reforms.
In Iraq, residents staged two small demonstrations to protest corruption in Iraqi security forces, unemployment, and scarcity of electricity and water.
In Syria, an online campaign calling for protests in the capital of Damascus against President Bashar Assad died down and no protesters showed up.
There were expectations of large-scale protests in Arab countries after Friday's noon prayer, but these did not materialize.
On Thursday, an image of a man happily holding up a "Thank you, Facebook!" sign came across the photography wires, but it is not the only instance of Egyptians showing their appreciation for social media sites. Here are a few more images from around the country:
Al Jazeera reports that its Al Jazeera Arabic Cairo office was stormed, trashed and set on fire by unknown men on Friday. Its statement reads:
It appears to be the latest attempt by the Egyptian regime or its supporters to hinder Al Jazeera's coverage of events in the country. In the last week its bureau was forcibly closed, all its journalists had press credentials revoked, and nine journalists were detained at various stages. Al Jazeera has also faced unprecedented levels of interference in its broadcast signal as well as persistent and repeated attempts to bring down its websites. We are grateful for the support we have received from across the world for our coverage in Egypt and can assure everyone that we will continue our work undeterred.
The Post's correspondent Will Englund reports from Tahrir Square:
Investment bank Credit Agricole CIB said Egypt is losing about $310 million a day because of the unrest. It revised its economic growth outlook to 3.7% from 5.3% in 2011. Moody's and Finch's rating service had previously downgraded the country's outlook to negative. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Western think-tank, said that Egypt's decision to cut off the Internet likely cost Egypt $18 million a day.
At 3:10 p.m. EST, President Obama will address the situation in Egypt. According to his White House schedule, Obama will hold a joint press conference with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during which he will take questions from reporters about the continuing developments in Egypt.
The White House is now pushing for an immediate end to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, the New York Times reports. The plan would put Vice President Omar Sulieman at the head of a provisional government, backed by Lt. Gen. Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister.
Thousands of protesters have gathered at Tahrir Square and Al Jazeera reports that the atmosphere remains uneasy, but calm. Here's how some journalists and bloggers describe it on Twitter:
guys in tahrir are motivated, optimistic and heavily fortified. They survived invasion attempts last 2 days and have regrouped#jan25 #egypt
The numbers are crazy, feels way more than Tuesday, I feel safe. Tahrir square #jan25 egypt
On Thursday, when dozens of journalists detained by the police, four Post employees were also detained. Sufian Taha, a Post translator, and Mansour el-Sayed Mohammed, a driver, were released unharmed early Friday. Leila Fadel, the Cairo bureau chief and Linda Davidson, a photographer, were released on Thursday.
| February 4, 2011; 6:00 PM ET
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