'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Egypt Erupts (Part 1) 

UPDATE 4 (9:52PM Pacific time):

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood web site "breaking news": "Protest organisers announce general strike Wednesday and Thursday" #Jan25 #Mubarak
about 3 hours ago via web
Retweeted by 21 people

C. Anzalone

Via The Arabist

UPDATE 3: It's Raining (US Made) Tear Gas

UPDATE 2: One of the most amazing aspects of the protests is, according to Issandr El Amrani at The Arabist, the fact that they were not supported by any established opposition parties, groups or political figures.

UPDATE 1 (4:44PM Pacific time): 4 Recent Tweets within the last couple of hours, starting with the most recent, courtesy of The Arabist:

Riot police behind our building in Maspiro guarding #Egypt TV building. Officer tells men: if they attack, kill them

Now in Tahrir situation is out of control. Prevented 2 angry guys from throwing a huge metal on police cars from top of the bridge!

the relative restraint shown by police earlier in the day is well and truly over. vigorously putting down protests in central cairo.

Gas being fired on corniche under 6 October bridge, chaos in central cairo. can hear ambulances, chanting from behind egyptian museum

Visit The Arabist and, as already noted, 3arabawy for more current information.

INITIAL POST: Another US puppet, dangling at the end of a string:

Here's a summary of the events so far today.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have clashed with police in Cairo in the largest demonstration in Egypt in a generation. Demonstrators want an end to the authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak's near 30 years of power.

Police have responded with batons, water cannons and tear gas in a bid to quell the crowd. The demonstration, said to be inspired by the uprising in Tunisia, began peacefully before clashes occurred.

As night falls in Egypt protests have also broken out in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. Roads are also being blocked by demonstrators in the Sinai Peninsula, and large rallies are being reported across the Nile Delta and the Suez Canal region.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Mubarak's government is stable despite the demonstrations. Mubarak is an important US partner in the Middle East.

5.57pm: My colleague Jack Shenker in Cairo sends this:

Central Cairo was the scene of violent clashes tonight, as the biggest anti-government demonstrations in a generation swept across Egypt, bringing tens of thousands onto the streets.

Shouting down with the regime and Mubarak, your plane is waiting, protesters demanded the end of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship and said they were fighting back against decades of poverty, oppression and police torture. The protests had been declared illegal by the authorities and were met with a fierce police response, as tear gas and water cannon were fired into the crowd and rocks were hurled into the air by both demonstrators and security forces.

We have never seen anything like this before – it is the first day of the Egyptian revolution, said Karim Rizk, one of those who joined multiple rallies in the capital. Apparently taken by surprise at the size of protests, police initially stood back and allowed demonstrators to occupy public squares and march through the streets, an unprecedented move in a country where political gatherings are strictly outlawed and demonstrations are normally quickly shut down by security forces. We have taken back our streets today from the regime and they won't recover from the blow, claimed Rizk.

Today's protests were called by a coalition of online activists, who had declared 25 January a day of revolt against the ruling elite and encouraged Egyptians to follow in the footsteps of Tunisia, where mass demonstrations forced President Ben Ali to flee earlier this month. As evening fell thousands of protesters from separate demonstrations converged on Tahrir Square, Cairo's central plaza, and begun an occupation that continued into the night. Demonstrators waved Egyptian and Tunisian flags, hauled down a billboard for the ruling NDP party and chanted depart Mubarak at the 82-year-old leader, who will face presidential elections later this year.

For updates, go to Lenin's Tomb, which has more information, and several links, as well as The Guardian and 3arabawy. Meanwhile, the US tries to stage manage the Tunisia revolution behind the scenes.

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