Friday, February 11, 2011

18 days in Egypt - a Time line of Revolution



Al Jazeera

January 2011: Activists in Egypt call for an uprising in their own country, to protest against poverty, unemployment, government corruption and the rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for three decades.

January 25: On a national holiday to commemorate the police forces, Egyptians take to the streets in large numbers, calling it a "day of rage".

Thousands march in downtown Cairo, heading towards the offices of the ruling National Democratic Party, as well as the foreign ministry and the state television. Similar protests are reported in other towns across the country.

After a few hours of relative calm, police and demonstrators clash; police fired tear gas and use water cannons against demonstrators crying out "Down with Mubarak'' in Cairo's main Tahrir Square.

Protests break out in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura and Tanta and in the southern cities of Aswan and Assiut, witnesses say.

Hours after the countrywide protests began, the interior ministry issues a statement blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's technically banned but largest opposition party, for fomenting the unrest - a claim that the Muslim Brotherhood denies.

Egypt protest organisers heavily relied on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

Egypt's interior minister says three protesters and a police officer have been killed during the anti-government demonstrations.



January 26: A protester and a police officer are killed in central Cairo as anti-government demonstrators pelt security forces with rocks and firebombs for a second day, according to witnesses.

Police use tear gas, water cannons and batons to disperse protesters in Cairo. Witnesses say that live ammunition was also fired into the air.

In Suez, the scene of bloody clashes the previous day, police and protesters clash again.

Medical personnel in Suez say that 55 protesters and 15 police officers have been injured.

Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for Barack Obama, the US president, tells reporters that the government should "demonstrate its responsiveness to the people of Egypt" by recognising their "universal rights".

Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, says he believes "the Arab citizen is angry, is frustrated".

January 27: Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog turned democracy advocate, arrives in Egypt to join the protests.

ElBaradei says he is ready to "lead the transition" in Egypt if asked.

Meanwhile, protests continue across several cities. Hundreds have been arrested, but the protesters say they will not give up until their demand is met.

Protesters clash with police in Cairo neighbourhoods. Violence also erupts in the city of Suez again, while in the northern Sinai area of Sheikh Zuweid, several hundred bedouins and police exchange live gunfire, killing a 17-year-old man.

In Ismailia, hundreds of protesters clash with police.

Lawyers stage protests in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta town of Toukh, north of Cairo.

Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger services are disrupted.


January 28: Internet and mobile phone text message users in Egypt report major disruption to services as the country prepared for a new wave of protests after Friday prayers.

The Associated Press news agency says an elite special counterterrorism force has been deployed at strategic points around Cairo in the hours before the planned protests.

Egypt's interior ministry also warns of "decisive measures".

Meanwhile, a lawyer for the opposition Muslim Brotherhood says that 20 members of the officially banned group have been detained overnight.

Egypt remains on edge, as police and protesters clash throughout the country.

Eleven civilians get killed in Suez and 170 injured. No deaths were reported in Cairo. At least 1,030 people get injured countrywide.

The riots continue throughout the night, even as Mubarak announces that he dismisses his government. Mubarak himself refuses to step down. His whereabouts are unknown.


January 29: Egyptian soldiers secure Cairo's famed antiquities museum early on Saturday, protecting thousands of priceless artifacts, including the gold mask of King Tutankhamun, from looters.

The greatest threat to the Egyptian Museum, which draws millions of tourists a year, appears to come from the fire engulfing the ruling party headquarters next door on Friday night, set ablaze by anti-government protesters.


Thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square stand their ground, despite troops firing into the air in a bid to disperse them. Hosni Mubarak has for the first time during his three decades in power appointed a vice-president. The man now second-in-command is Omar Suleiman, the country's former spy chief, who has been working closely with Mubarak during most of his reign.

Al Jazeera's sources have indicated that the military has now also been deployed to the resort town of Sharm el Sheikh.


Al Jazeera's correspondent in the city of Suez said the city had witnessed a "completely chaotic night", but that the streets were quiet as day broke.

In a statement released in Berlin on Saturday, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany said they were "deeply worried about the events in Egypt".

The Gulf Co-operation Council, a loose economic and political bloc of states in the Gulf, said on Sunday that it wanted a "stable Egypt".

The US embassy in Cairo has advised all Americans currently in Egypt to consider leaving as soon as possible, given the unrest. The UK authorities have advised against all but essential travel to the country for its citizens.

January 30: Thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square stand their ground, despite troops firing into the air in a bid to disperse them.

Hosni Mubarak has for the first time during his three decades in power appointed a vice-president. The man now second-in-command is Omar Suleiman, the country's former spy chief, who has been working closely with Mubarak during most of his reign.
Turkey has announced that it is sending aircraft to evacuate its citizens, after the US embassy in Cairo has advised all Americans currently in Egypt to consider leaving as soon as possible.

January 31: President Hosni Mubarak still refuses to step down, amid growing calls for his resignation. Protesters continue to defy the military-imposed curfew. Thousands remain gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square and hundreds have marched through Alexandria.

Internet access across Egypt is still shoddy according to most reports.


Egypt's new vice-president has promised dialogue in order to push through constitutional reforms.

Protesters remain camped out in Tahrir Square from a variety of political and demographic groups.

The White House says that the Egyptian government must engage with its people to resolve current unrest. Obama's spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, says the crisis in Egypt "is not about appointments, it's about actions ... They have to address freedoms that the people of Egypt seek".

Opposition groups continue to call for a "million man march" and a general strike on Tuesday to commemorate one week since the protest movement began. Meanwhile, the military reiterates that it will not attempt to hurt protesters.


As 250,000 gather around Cairo's Tahrir Square on Monday, President Mubarak asks his new prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, to start talks with the opposition.

The EU calls for free and fair elections in Egypt.

Worldwide investors continue withdrawing significant capital from Egypt amid rising unrest.

Mubarak names his new cabinet on state television, among them, Mahmoud Wagdi, sworn in as the new interior minister.


Egypt releases the six Al Jazeera journalists who were arrested in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Egyptian film star Omar Sharif, known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, has added his voice to those calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down, Reuters reports.

Former US president Jimmy Carter calls the unrest in Egypt an "earth-shaking event", and says he guesses Hosni Mubarak "will have to leave", the US Ledger-Enquirer reports.

Israel urges the world to tone down Mubarak criticism amid Egypt unrest to preserve stability in the region, the Haaretz newspaper reports, citing senior Israeli officials.

President Mubarak tells his new prime minister, Ahmad Shafiq to keep government subsidies and cut prices.

Al Jazeera says its broadcast signal across the Arab region is facing interference on a scale it has not experienced before.


February 1: Hosni Mubarak announces in a televised address that he will not run for re-election but refuses to step down from office - the central demand of millions of protesters who have demonstrated across Egypt over the past week.

Mubarak promised reforms to the constitution, particularly Article 76, which makes it virtually impossible for independent candidates to run for office. And he said his government would focus on improving the economy and providing jobs.


Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian opposition figure who returned to Cairo to take part in the protests, said Mubarak's pledge not to stand again for the presidency was an act of deception.

Abdelhalim Kandil, leader of Egypt's Kifaya (Enough) opposition movement, says Mubarak's offer not to serve a sixth term as Head of State was not enough.

US President Barack Obama in a speech at the White House praised the Egyptian military for their patriotism and for allowing peaceful demonstrations. He said that only the Egyptian people can determine their leaders.


Shortly after his speech, clashes broke out between pro-Mubarak and anti-government protesters in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, Al Jazeera's correspondent reported.

Khalid Abdel Nasser, son of the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, too joined the protest in Tahrir Square.


Motaz Salah Al Deen, spokesman for Egypt's opposition Al Wafd Party, says a self-described "new national coalition for change" has been formed.

Number of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir square revised to more than a million people. Thousands more took to the streets throughout Egypt, including in Alexandria and Suez.

February 2: Preparations begin for another day of demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak's regime. The army with tanks are still deployed throughout different positions in and around the square.
Google improves its speak2tweet technology for the people in Egypt.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Boston entrepreneur Hadid Habbab has called for volunteers to help find his missing friend, Google executive Wael Ghonim, who went missing during the protests of the past week.

Clashes between anti-government and pro-Mubarak protesters in Alexandria.
Internet services were at least partially restored in Cairo after a five-day blackout aimed at stymieing protests against Hosni Mubarak's regime.
Egypt's newly appointed vice-president has said that anti-government protests must stop before dialogue can begin with opposition groups.

Violent clashes raged for much of Wednesday around Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Up to 1,500 people were injured, some of them seriously, and by the day's end at least three deaths were reported by the Reuters news agency quoting officials.
Pro-democracy protesters said the military allowed thousands of pro-Mubarak supporters, armed with sticks and knives, to enter the square on Wednesday.

February 3: Bursts of heavy gunfire early on Thursday aimed at anti-government demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir [Liberation] Square, left at least five people dead and several more wounded, according to reports from Cairo.
Sustained bursts of automatic weapons fire and powerful single shots began at around around 4am local time (0200GMT) and went on for more than an hour.

February 4: Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square for what they have termed the "Day of Departure".

Chants urging Hosni Mubarak to leave reverberate across the square, as the country enters its eleventh day of unrest and mass demonstrations.

February 5: Thousands remain inside Tahrir Square fear an approaching attempt by the military to evacuate the square.
Differing reports of how many have died in the last 11 days of protests and clashes surface.
The Egyptian health minister says 11 people have died, while the United Nations says 300 people may have been killed across the country since protests began. News agencies have counted more than 150 dead in morgues in Alexandria, Suez and Cairo.
Reuters quotes Egyptian state TV as saying "terrorists" have targeted an Israel-Egypt gas pipeline in northern Sinai.

The leadership of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party resigns, including Gamal Mubarak, the son of Hosni Mubarak. The new secretary general of the party is Hossam Badrawi, seen as a member of the liberal wing of the party.

February 6: The Muslim Brotherhood says in a statement that it "has decided to participate in a dialogue round in order to understand how serious the officials are in dealing with the demands of the people".
Banks officially re-opened for 3.5 hours, and traffic police were back on the streets in Cairo, in attempts to get the capital to start returning to normal.
Al Jazeera correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin is detained by the Egyptian military. He is released seven hours later, following a concerted appeal by the network and Mohyeldin's supporters.
Protests continue in Tahrir Square; there are reports of gunshots fired by the army into the air near the cordon set up inside the barricades, near Egyptian museum.

Leaked US diplomatic cables suggest Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian vice president, long sought to demonise the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in his contacts with skeptical US officials.
Reports that Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, spoke with Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik (on February 5), emphasising the need to ensure the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people are met, also stressing that incidents of harassment and detention of activists and journalists must stop.

February 7: Thousands were camping out in Tahrir Square, refusing to budge. While banks have reopened, schools and the stock exhange remain closed.
A symbolic funeral procession was held for journalist Ahmed Mahmoud, shot as he filmed the clashes between protesters and riot police from his Cairo office. Protesters are demanding an investigation into the cause of his death.
Egypt's government approved a 15 per cent raise in salaries and pensions in a bid to appease the angry masses. Wael Ghonim, a Google executive and political activist arrested by state authorities, is released; some see him as a potential figurehead for the pro-democracy camp.

February 8: Protesters continue to gather at Tahrir Square, which now resembles a tented camp. Protesters in the capital also gathered to protest outside parliament.
The city sees possibly the biggest crowd of demonstrators, including Egyptians who have returned from abroad and other newcomers mobilised by the release of activist Wael Ghonim.
Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian vice-president, warned that his government "can't put up with continued protests" for a long time.
Separately, Suleiman also announced a slew of constitutional and legislative reforms, to be undertaken by yet to be formed committees.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, said genuine dialogue was needed to end the current crisis, adding that a peaceful transition was crucial.

February 9: Labour unions join protesters in the street, with some of them calling for Mubarak to step down while others simply call for better pay. Masssive strikes start rolling throughout the country.
Famous Arab pop star Tamer Hosni visits Tahrir Square, but protesters are unimpressed and angered. Hosni previously made statements telling the demonstrators to leave the square, saying that Mubarak had offered them concessions.

Thirty-four political prisoners, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, were released on Tuesday, according to Egyptian state television.
Human Rights Watch says that 302 people have been killed since the start of Egypt's pro-democracy uprising last month. Based on visits to a number of hospitals in Egypt, the organisation said that records show the death toll has reached 232 in Cairo, 52 in Alexandria and 18 in Suez.
Attributing the information to Egyptian security officials, Reuters reports that several protesters suffered gunshot wounds and one was killed when 3,000 protesters took to the streets in Wadi al-Jadid, where clashes from the previous nights carried over to the early hours.
Citing medics, AFP news agency reports five were dead and 100 are wounded in the clashes that have been going on for two days.

Ahmed Aboul Ghiet, Egypt's foreign minister, tells al-Arabiya network on Wednesday that the Egyptian army could step in to protect "protect the country from an attempt by some adventurers to take power".
And in an interview with American public broadcaster PBS, Aboul Ghiet said that he was "infuriated" by the US's initial response to the unrest in the country, and that he found the Obama administration's advice on political transition "not at all" helpful."

February 10: The newly appointed Culture Minister, Gaber Asfour, quits.  His family says it's due to health reasons but Egypt's main daily newspaper al-Ahram says Asfour, who is also a writer, was criticised by his literary colleagues for taking the post. He was the only new face in the new cabinet.
The Egyptian prime minister forms a committee that will gather evidence on "the illegitimate practices" that resulted from the events of recent weeks. The committee will receive reports from citizens and civil society organizations and then present a report to the public prosecutor.
The criminal court in Egypt has endorsed the decision of banning three former ministers from leaving the country and the government has also frozen their assets.
The security chief for the Egyptian city of Wadi al-Jadid (New Valley) is sacked and the police captain who ordered police to shoot at protesters is arrested and will be tried.
Amid rumours that he will be stepping down tonight, Mubarak gives a televised speech he says is "from the heart", in which he repeats his promise to not run in the next presidential elections and to "continue to shoulder" his responsibilties in the "peaceful transition" that he says will take place in September.

Protesters in central Cairo's Tahrir Square react with fury on Thursday when Mubarak says he's remaining in power until September. Protesters wave their shoes in the air, and demand the army join them in revolt.

February 11:  After tens of thousands people take to the streets across Egypt in angry protests, Hosni Mubarak resigns as president, and hands over power to the Army.
The announcement was given by Omar Suleiman, the vice-president just after 16:00 GMT.

Earlier in the day, masses of protesters had descended on the state television building in Cairo and the presidential palace in Heliopolis, as well as in Tahrir (Liberation) Square, which had become the heart of the pro-democracy movement.

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The will of the people changed the course of a country. It was decades in the making and while it wasn't as deadly as it could have been, it certainly wasn't bloodless. In 17 days a 30 year sitting president was expelled by a movement that consisted primarily of young people. Even though everyone is rejoicing the real hard work actually begins today.

Omar Suleiman takes the position of President at least in a interim status as elections will be held in September. Pay close attention the fall out of this revolution will be played out in the coming months. Will the Muslim Brotherhood have greater influence? Will the Egyptian military have an even greater role? Will Suleiman be accepted by the people? Is there a power player we haven't seen yet waiting to emerge from the wings? How will the other countries in the region react? And finally how will this affect our country's Middle East policy?

Stay tuned..this isn't over by a long shot.






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