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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dec / Jan 2011: Timeline of Tunisia, Egypt and Middle East protests

Chronology of Tunisian revolution plus Egypt and Mideast protest timelines.

Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen protest timeline chronology

December 17, 2010 - Tunisia: 26-year-old computer-science graduate and fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire after policewoman slaps him and orders him to pack up his street cart in Sidi Bouzid. It was the last straw to add to his list of grievances (including not finding employment after graduation and having to resort to selling fruit to support his seven siblings).

Mohammed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old man trying to support his family by selling fruits and vegetables in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, douses himself in paint thinner and sets himself on fire in front of a local municipal office.

Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia

Police had confiscated his produce cart because he lacked a permit and beat him up when he resisted. Local officials then refused his hear his complaint. He is taken to a hospital near Tunis for treatment of his third-degree burns.

Bouazizi's act of desperation highlights the public's boiling frustration over living standards, police violence, rampant unemployment, and a lack of human rights. The protests begin in Sidi Bouzid that same day. They quickly spread across the region, then the country.

December 20: Mohamed Al Nouri Al Juwayni , the Tunisian development minister, travels to Sidi Bouzid to announce a new $10 million employment programme. Protests continue unabated.

December 22: Houcine Falhi, a 22-year-old, commits suicide by electrocuting himself in the midst of another demonstration over unemployment in Sidi Bouzid after shouting "No to misery, no to unemployment!"

Mohamed Ammari

December 24: Mohamed Ammari, an 18-year-old protester, is shot and killed by police during violent demonstrations in the central town of Menzel Bouzaiene.

Chawki Belhoussine El Hadri , a 44-year-old man, is among those shot by police at the same protest.

Hundreds of protesters rally in front of the Tunisian labour union headquarters over rampant unemployment, clashing with Tunisian security forces in the central towns of al-Ragab and Miknassi. Skirmishes break out when security forces stage overnight crackdown campaigns.

December 24, 2010 - Protests break out in Sidi Bouzid and spread to Menzel Bouzaiene, Kairouan, Sfax, Ben Guerdane, Sousse. Police fire on demonstrators.

December 25: Rallies spread to Kairouan, Sfax and Ben Guerdane.

An interior ministry spokesperson says police were forced to "shoot in self-defence" after warning shots failed to disperse scores of protesters who were setting police cars and buildings ablaze.

December 27: Police and demonstrators scuffle as 1,000 Tunisians hold a rally in Tunis, the capital, calling for jobs in a show of solidarity with those protesting in poorer regions. Demonstrations also break out in Sousse.

The protests spread to Tunis, the nation's capital. Over 1,000 people take to the streets. The protests are kept afloat via social media (similar to Iran's Green Revolution, the protests were organized through Twitter and Facebook).

December 28, 2010 - Ben Ali condemns protests and warns that those using violence will be punished (as if years under his rule weren't punishment enough...)

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country's president, warns in a national television broadcast that protests are unacceptable and will have a negative impact on the economy. Ben Ali criticises the "use of violence in the streets by a minority of extremists" and says the law will be applied "in all firmness" to punish protesters.

The Tunisian Federation of Labour Unions holds another rally in Gafsa province, which is squashed by security forces.

At the same time, about 300 lawyers hold a rally near the government's palace in Tunis in solidarity with protesters. Lawyers march in several other cities as well.

The governors of Sidi Bouzid, Jendouba, and Zaghouan provinces are dismissed for unspecified reasons related to the uprising, according to the Pana news agency.

The Tunisian ministers of communication, trade and handicrafts, and religious affairs are all sacked for reasons related to the uprising, the Arabiya news channel reports.

Abderrahman Ayedi, a prominent Tunisian lawyer, is allegedly tortured by police after they arrest him for protesting.

December 29: Security forces peacefully break up a demonstration in the northeastern city of Monastir but allegedly use violence in the town of Sbikha. There are also reports of police brutality in the town of Chebba, where one protester is hospitalised.

Nessma TV, a private news channel, becomes the first major Tunisian media outlet to cover the protests, after 12 days of demonstrations.

December 29, 2010 – Police clash with protesters in Algeria. Widespread protests, demonstrations and riots rock Algeria from January 3 to January 10. This unrest occurs in nearly all of the cities and towns of Algeria. Tensions were somewhat alleviated when the government cut taxes and duties on sugar and cooking oil.

December 30: Chawki Belhoussine El Hadri, shot by police six days prior, dies of his injuries.

France's Socialist Party, the main opposition, condemns the "brutal repression" of the protesters, calling for lawyers and demonstrators to be released.

December 31: Lawyers across Tunisia respond to a call to assemble in protest over the arrested lawyers and in solidarity with the people of Sidi Bouzid.

Authorities react to the protests with force, and lawyers tell Al Jazeera they were "savagely beaten".

January 2: The hacktivist group "Anonymous" announces Operation Tunisia in solidarity with the protests by striking a number of Tunisian government websites with "direct denial of service" attacks, flooding them with traffic and temporarily shutting them down.

Several online activists report on Twitter that their email and Facebook accounts were hacked.

January 3: About 250 demonstrators, mostly students, stage a peaceful march in the city of Thala. The protest turns violent after police try to stop it by firing tear gas canisters.

At least nine protesters are reportedly injured. In response, protesters set fire to tyres and attack the local offices of the ruling party.

January 4: The Tunisian Bar Association announces a general strike to be staged on January 6 in protest over attacks by security forces against its members.

Tunisia - Bouazizi died of his burns, after which his funeral added momentum to protests against unemployment and repression. The protests spread to other parts of the country.

January 5: Mohamed Bouazizi, who launched the uprising by setting himself on fire two and a half weeks earlier, dies of self-inflicted burns. A funeral is later held for him in Sidi Bouzid, his hometown.

January 6: Reports suggest that 95 per cent of Tunisia's 8,000 lawyers launch a strike, demanding an end to police brutality against peaceful protesters.

January 7: Authorities arrest a group of bloggers, journalists, activists and a rap singer in a crackdown on dissent. Some of them reportedly go missing.

January 8: At least six protesters are reportedly killed and six others wounded in clashes with police in Tala, a provincial town near the border with Algeria. Another three people were killed in similar clashes in the Kasserine region.

In Tala, witnesses said police fired their weapons after using water cannons to try to disperse a crowd which had set fire to a government building. The crowd has also thrown stones and petrol bombs at police.

January 9: Two protesters, Chihab Alibi and Youssef Fitouri, are shot dead by police in Miknassi, according to the SBZ news agency.

January 13: The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights tallies 66 deaths since the protests began, and sources tell Al Jazeera that at least 13 people were killed in the previous two days. The government's official toll stands at 23, after three and a half weeks of clashes.

Later, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's president, makes a televised address, announcing unprecedented concessions and vowing not to seek re-election in 2014. He pledges to introduce more freedoms into society, institute widespread reforms and investigate the killings of protesters during demonstrations. Formerly blocked or banned websites reportedly become accessible.

Tunisia: 66 deaths, if not more, are reported since protests began. Government estimates only 23. President Ben Ali pledges major reforms and says he will not stand for re-election in 2014.

January 14, 2011 - A state of emergency is declared in the country. Ben Ali dissolves parliament and promises to hold legislative elections within six months. That same evening, he steps off his tainted "throne" and flees to Saudi Arabia.

Ben Ali imposes a state of emergency and fires the country's government amid violent clashes between protesters and security forces. He promises fresh legislative elections within six months in an attempt to quell mass dissent.

State media reports that gatherings of more than three people have been banned and "arms will be used if orders of security forces are not heeded."

That night, reports fly that the army has seized control of Tunisia's main airport and closed the country's airspace. Though members of his extended family are reportedly arrested, Ben Ali manages to leave country by plane.

Mohammed Ghannouchi, the prime minister, appears on state television to announce that he is assuming the role of interim president under chapter 56 of the Tunisian constitution.

Ben Ali reportedly flies first toward Malta, then Paris, before finally turning around toward the Gulf, where he lands in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. French media report that Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, refused to allow Ben Ali to land in his country.

Protests in major cities in Jordan prompt the government to postpone a rise in fuel prices. Mostly peaceful protests, including 5,000 people showing up in Amman to protest government policies on January 21, 2011.

January 15: Saudi Arabia officially announces that it is hosting Ben Ali and his family for an unspecified period of time.

The constitutional court, Tunisia's highest legal authority on constitutional issues, rules that Fouad Mebazaa, the speaker of parliament, should be interim president, not Ghannouchi. Mebazaa tasks Ghannouchi with forming a new coalition government.

The power vacuum left by the departure of Ben Ali is exploited by looters and violent gangs, who ransack grocery stores and expensive manors belonging to the old regime, witnesses say.

Residents in several parts of Tunis say that groups were prowling through neighbourhoods at night setting fire to buildings and attacking people and property, with no police in sight.

Tunisia Speaker of Parliament Foued Mebazaa is sworn in as temporary president and begins discussions with opposition parties on the formation of a new government.

January 16: Tension and uncertainty grip Tunisia as military forces attempt to restore order.

Imed Trabelsi, a nephew of Ben Ali's wife, reportedly dies in a military hospital in Tunis. He would have been the first person in the president's extended family to have died as a result of the uprising, but the Reuters news agency later reports on January 21 that Trabelsi has actually been arrested.

Salim Shayboub, Ben Ali's son-in-law, is also reportedly arrested.

Rafik Belhaj, Tunisia's former interior minister and the man many held responsible for a police crackdown on protesters, is arrested and held in his home town of Beja in the north of the country.

WikiLeaks releases a four-part series of US diplomatic cables that shows the United States knew about the extent of corruption and discontent in Tunisia and chose to support Ben Ali regardless.

January 17: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi says he regrets the fall of Ben Ali, which has left the country in "chaos with no end in sight."

Tunisia's prime minister promises to announce a new coalition government, hoping to maintain the momentum of political progress to ward off fresh protests and also undercut gunmen loyal to the ousted president.

Ghannouchi also announces widespread reforms, promising press freedom, the lifting of a ban on human rights groups operating in Tunisia, and the release of political prisoners.

A new government is announced, but includes several Ben Ali loyalists in key posts - including the defence, interior and foreign ministers - and few opposition members in lesser positions.

Exiled opposition leaders cry foul, saying they've been sidelined in the new "unity" government, which favours members of the old guard.

January 18: Unhappy with the lineup of the new government, Tunisians take to the streets in protest.

Anouar Ben Gueddour, the junior minister for transportation, resigns from the newly formed cabinet, as do Houssine Dimassi, minister of training and employment, and Abdeljelil Bedoui, a minister dealing with prime ministerial affairs. They are all members of a general national labour union.

Mustapha Ben Jaafar, the newly appointed health minister, says he is suspending his participation in the cabinet.

Other opposition ministers threaten to quit, saying they do not want to be in a government with members of Ben Ali's former ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD).

Ghannouchi and Mebazaa resign from the RCD in a bid to placate protesters.

Sporadic protests across Yemen from January 18 to January 20 over the government’s proposal to modify the constitution. Riots break out in Aden leading to conflicts between soldiers and protesters.

January 19: The Swiss government orders a freeze on all funds held by Ben Ali in Switzerland, Micheline Calmy-Rey, the country's foreign minister said.

At the same time, prosecutors in Tunisia open an inquiry into the assets of Ben Ali and his extended family, the official TAP news agency reported.

Speaking to Al Jazeera in his first public remarks since the uprising, Gordon Gray, the US ambassador to Tunisia, calls the movement a "work in progress" and a "new phenomenon."

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the United Nations plans to send a team of human rights officials to Tunisia to look into weeks of violence and advise the new coalition government.

January 20: All ministers in the interim government quit Ben Ali's RCD party but remain in their cabinet posts. The central committee of RCD is dissolved, as many of the ministers were also committee members.

January 21: The first of a three-day period of national mourning sees protesters gather peacefully throughout the day in Tunis.

They demand the dissolution of the new government as they honour those who who died in the unrest of previous weeks.

In an effort to dampen the anger, Ghannouchi pledges to quit politics after legislative and presidential elections that he says will be held as soon as possible.

January 22: Thousands of protesters take to the streets yet again, continuing to ask for the removal of all RCD members from the interim government.

Around 2,000 police officers join the civilian protesters, calling for better working conditions and a new union and complaining about their association with Ben Ali's repressive regime.

Protesters break through barricades at the prime minister's office, but no violence is reported.

The army and the justice department are ordered to preserve any documents and evidence that can be gathered so the old government can be implicated throughout the investigation.

Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the leader of the formerly banned Islamist al-Nahda (Reinaissance) party and no relation to the prime minister, is still not allowed to return to Tunisia until a 1991 prison sentence is lifted.

Tunisia - Protesters again demand that Ghannouchi and other Ben Ali protégés go. Policemen, once the bulwark of Ben Ali's rule, demonstrate in Tunis, saying they too were victims.

ALGERIA -- At least 42 people were injured during clashes between protesters, who were defying a government ban, and Algerian police, who blocked a march on the country’s parliament building.

January 23: As the third and final day of national mourning begins, protesters are again expected to take to the streets, after former RCD government ministers showed no signs of resigning.

Hundreds of Tunisians defy a nighttime curfew and travel hundreds of kilometres in what they call a "Liberation caravan" to join protesters in the country's capital, where anger at the interim government continues to grow.

The country's state news agency reports that allies of Ben Ali - Abdelaziz bin Dhia, Ben Ali's spokesman and chief adviser, and Abdallah Qallal, a former interior minister and head of Tunisia's appointed upper parliamentary house - have been placed under house arrest.

The agency also reports that police are searching for Abdelwahhab Abdalla, Ben Ali's political adviser, who has disappeared and that Larbi Nasra, the owner of Hannibal TV and his son have been arrested on suspicion of "treason" for working on Ben Ali's return from Saudi Arabia (where the deposed president currently is currently in exile).

Nasra, the agency reports, is related to Ben Ali's wife, Leila, and is accused of "using the channel to ... create a constitutional vacuum, ruin stability and take the country into a vortex of violence that will bring back the dictatorship of the former president."

Yemen - Hundreds of students and activists gathered at Yemen’s Sanaa University, most of whom were calling for Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The smaller group of protesters called for the president to stay.

Egypt - Younger members of Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood indicated that they would participate in the January 25 protests.

January 24: Politicians are negotiating the creation of a council to oversee the interim government. Its task would be to protect the "Jasmine" revolution that toppled Ben Ali.

Tunisia - Politicians began negotiations on the creation of a council to oversee the interim government. Its task would be to protect the "Jasmine" revolution that toppled Ben Ali.

Tuesday, Jan. 25 - Egypt: Dubbed the "Day of Rage," this was the first large-scale protest organized by young Egyptians who were inspired by a popular uprising in Tunisia. It began peacefully, but turned violent when police used tear gas and water hoses to disperse crowds in downtown Cairo's Tahrir Square.

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.

Known more literally as the "Day of Anger" (Arabic: يوم الغضب‎ yaum al-ġaḍab, Egyptian Arabic: [ˈjoːm elˈɣɑdɑb]) or the "Day of Revolt", protests took place in cities across Egypt, including Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Ismaïlia. The day was selected as such by the 6 April Youth Movement, We Are All Khaled Said Movement, National Association for Change, 25 January Movement and Kefaya to coincide with National Police Day. Thousands protested in Cairo, with 15,000 occupying Tahrir Square, 20,000 in various locations across Alexandria, 200 demonstrators in the southern city of Aswan, 2,000 in the eastern city of Ismaïlia, and about 3,000 in the northern city of El-Mahalla El-Kubra.

We Are All Khaled Said, Facebook page links photos

Paramilitary riot police of the Central Security Forces; 20,000 to 30,000 police were deployed in central Cairo.

Cairo protesters had gathered in the morning in front of the High Court in the centre of Cairo. The demonstration was larger than expected and able to break the security cordon and head to Tahrir Square. Police used tear gas and water cannons against the protesters, who in turn threw stones at police, eventually forcing them to retreat.[64] Deadly clashes broke out during the protests. A policeman was reported to have died in Cairo, while in Suez two protesters were killed.[64] It was reported that many police had also been restrained in their use of violence.

26 January - On 26 January riots continued, with protesters numbering in the thousands, although no accurate estimate has yet been made. There was increased use of violence from both protesters and the police, with one protester and one police official killed in Cairo.[70] Suez experienced a dramatic uprising; many protesters were fired upon with live ammunition, and both protesters and police were beaten. Protesters in Suez also managed to set fire to several government buildings, including the police station

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, tell 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".

Egypt: Despite a government order against further protests, small-scale gatherings continued, along with sporadic clashes between police and demonstrators. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, and opposition groups began to coalesce. Egypt's stock market plunged as investors panicked over the unrest.

Clashes break out near government offices in the old city, or casbah, where riot police fire teargas at hundreds of demonstrators.

The Tunisian General Labour Union holds a general strike in Sfax, Tunisia's second city and economic centre, and thousands demand that the government resign.

Tunisia has asked Interpol to help arrest ousted president Ben Ali and his family so they can be tried for theft and currency offences, the nation's interim justice minister said.

In Cairo, Google executive and Arab Internet pioneer Wael Ghonim arrested by Egyptian plainclothes police near Tahrir Square.

Video of Wael Ghonim being arrested by Egyptian authorities on January 26

Tunisia - Tunisia asked Interpol to help arrest Ben Ali and his family so they can be tried for theft and currency offences, the justice minister said.

January 27: Tunisia's foreign minister, Kamel Morjane, announces his resignation. The prime minister later announces a reshuffle of the cabinet, dropping key ministers from the criticised government of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Egypt: Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, the former U.N. nuclear watchdog, returned to his native Egypt to take a leadership role in the protest movement. Mubarak's ruling party announced it would open talks with opposition groups, but offered no concessions. Rallies in Cairo and other cities turned deadly. That night, the government shut down Internet service. Access to Twitter and opposition news sites was shut down throughout the country.

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.

“The people have broken the barrier of fear. There is no going back.”

Mohammed El Baradei

Protests were not as large on 27 January as preparations were made for planned large-scale events on the following day (Friday). The Muslim Brotherhood declared full support for the protests, and members planned to take part during Friday's demonstrations.[74] Reformer and leader of the National Association for Change Mohamed ElBaradei returned on that day at Cairo International Airport to join the planned protests on the next day.

Later in the day a protester of Bedouin descent was shot dead by police in the town of Sheikh Zoweid in the North Sinai region, bringing the death toll to seven. In Suez, the uprising continued and violence increased as more buildings were set on fire, including police posts. The population of Suez and the Sinai region armed themselves with guns leading to violent revolts by protesters.

Hundreds of people were arrested at the various protests across Egypt. More than 120 people were arrested in Asyut, most of whom were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and about another 600 people were arrested in Cairo, including 8 Egyptian journalists protesting against the government's reported restrictions on domestic and Middle Eastern affairs.

Egypt - ElBaradei returned to Egypt from his home in Vienna calling on Mubarak to quit.

Yemen - Tens of thousands of protesters marched on the capital against President Saleh.

28 January – Friday of Anger

Thousands filled the streets across Egypt on Friday 28 January, called by some the "Friday of Anger" (Arabic: جمعة الغضب‎, IPA: [ˈgomʕet elˈɣɑdɑb]) and by others as the "Day of Rage". Shortly before 1:00, hours ahead of the expected massive anti-government protests, the Egyptian government shut down internet services, although some people were still able to communicate using alternative means.

Text messaging and mobile phone services also appeared to be blocked. According to Vodafone, all mobile phone operators in Egypt were instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and the operators are obliged to comply.

Shortly after Friday prayers, tens of thousands of Egyptians began the protests, and within hours the number rose to the hundreds of thousands. Potential presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei traveled from Giza, where he had been leading protests, to Cairo, where he was arrested at an anti-government rally and placed under house arrest, although ElBaradei told Al Jazeera that he was unaware of his house arrest.

An Al Jazeera report on the protests (in English)

Throughout the day, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons into crowds during violent clashes between authorities and anti-government protesters in Cairo, Alexandria, and throughout Egypt. Thousands in Suez stormed and took control of a police station, freed all of the protesters held under arrest there and then torched up a nearby smaller local police post. In Port Said tens of thousands of protesters gathered and multiple government buildings were set ablaze. In Suez, police shot and killed at least one man taking part in the protests. The government issued a 18:00 to 7:00 the next day curfew, but protesters ignored it and were met by police.[94] In the evening, protesters set fire to one of the National Democratic Party (NDP) headquarters buildings in Cairo. While protesters paused for evening prayers, police continued firing tear gas.

The Egyptian government deployed military in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez to assist the police. Al Jazeera reported that in Suez the military wanted to avoid an open armed confrontation with protesters. The same was reported in Alexandria.
Protestors gathered in front of the l-Istiqama Mosque in Giza. Rebels and riot police fought in parts of Giza, including at the mosque.

A delegation led by the chief of staff of Egypt's armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, was in Washington, D.C., when the visit was truncated due to the protests. The sessions, an annual country-to-country military coordination, were being led for the U.S. by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow. A meeting with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other talks had been planned to extend to 2 February. However, in light of events in Egypt, the delegation left Washington to return home.[103] Before their departure Friday night, Vershbow urged the two dozen representatives of the largely American-funded Egyptian military "to exercise 'restraint'".

Protesters marching in Cairo

Al Jazeera reported an Associated Press claim that an elite counterterrorism force that had been deployed at strategic points around Cairo, and that Egypt's interior ministry was warning of "decisive measures". The secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party, Safwat Sherif, held a press conference stating, "We hope that tomorrow's Friday prayers and its rituals happen in a quiet way that upholds the value of such rituals ... and that no one jeopardises the safety of citizens or subjects them to something they do not want."

Amid reports of looting of government buildings, concerns were raised about the safety of the antiquities of the famous Egyptian Museum, near the epicenter of the protests in Cairo. Egyptian state TV announced in the evening that army commandos had secured the museum.

Protesters joined soldiers in protecting the Egyptian Museum, situated beside the burning ruling party headquarters. Looters managed to enter during the night from the roof to damage a number of small artifacts, and it was initially reported that they had ripped the heads off two mummies, but subsequent reports claimed that Egypt's top archaeologist had mistaken skulls from other skeletons, and that the mummies were intact.

The detention of ElBaradei prompted the U.S. to review its $1.5 billion aid package for Egypt; he was later released. The day's defiance was summed up by the plethora of Tunisian national flags and anti-Mubarak graffiti that the protesters had created in the Greater Cairo region, Alexandria, Beni Suef, Mansoura and Manufiya. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood said that twenty members of the banned group had been detained overnight, including Essam El-Erian, its main spokesman, and Mohammed Moursi, one of the its leaders.

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.

Friday, Jan. 28 - Egypt: Cell phone service was cut throughout Egypt to stop protesters from organizing rallies after midday prayers. Peaceful protests turned into violent riots across Egypt as huge crowds overwhelmed the police, torched police stations and freed prisoners. The Cairo headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party was looted and burned. The government imposed a 6 p.m. curfew in major cities. Mubarak made a late-night speech saying he'd appoint a new Cabinet.

EGYPT -- ElBaradei, who is later placed under house arrest, and his supporters were attacked by security forces after Friday prayers. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged both the Egyptian government and protesters to show restraint. The protesters ignored a government-imposed curfew. The government cut Internet connections in the country. Late in the day, Mubarak announced he would fire his government and bring on a new Cabinet to try to meet the nation's cry for change. Following Mubarak's announcement, President Obama spoke with Mubarak on the phone and delivered his own statement, calling for protesters and the government to refrain from violence and on Mubarak to keep his promises of reform.

Saturday, Jan. 29 - Egypt: The police vanished overnight, and looters ransacked shopping districts throughout Cairo and the suburbs. Residents formed neighborhood watch groups to protect their property. Rallies continued at Tahrir Square and other sites. Mubarak named his intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his first ever vice president.

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, appeares 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 Shaikh.

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 Cooperation 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.

Turkey has also said that it is sending aircraft to evacuate its citizens.

Demonstrators standing on an army vehicle in Tahrir Square, Cairo
The night of 28/29 January was quieter in Cairo with fewer reports of looting than in previous days.

Multiple and widespread protests continued, with many protesters chanting, "Down with Mubarak". Chants of "the people and the army are one" were also heard, as the position of the army in the course of events continued to be critical but ambiguous. By 2:00 pm local time, approximately 50,000 people had gathered in Tahrir Square, 10,000 gathered in Kafr-al-Sheikh, and additional protests were held throughout Egypt. A curfew was announced by the army for Cairo, Alexandria and Suez from 4 – 6 pm. The 6:00 pm police curfew the previous day had had "almost no effect whatsoever", according to Al Jazeera English, and protesters continued to descend on Tahrir Square. Protesters also gathered at the Ministry of Interior, and three of them were killed by police when they tried to storm the building.

Protesters were described by reporters as more confident than the previous day and earlier, and even celebratory as they felt they were nearing their objective—the end of Mubarak's presidency—although they had no tangible evidence that it was coming about. An eyewitness told Al Jazeera that people of all ages, men and women were present. Despite the curfew, people were on the streets and no one was attempting to stop them. Looting was also reported, while no police were visible on Cairo's streets.

In Beni Suef, south of Cairo, 17 protesters were shot dead by police as they attempted to attack two police stations in the city. Eight more people were killed during protests in the city. In the Abu Zabaal prison in Cairo, eight people were killed as police clashed with inmates trying to escape. According to a Reuters tally, these deaths bring the total death toll to at least 100; however, no figures could be accurately confirmed. Inmates rioted in Cairo's Wadi Natrun prison as it was attacked by an angry mob leading to the escape of several Islamist terrorists and others. Prison overcrowding and police brutality were one of the complaints voiced by many of the protesters in urban Egypt. Emad Gad, an analyst with the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that he has obtained information from a trustworthy source that "there have been orders from the very top to free known felons from the prisons, to arm them and to let them mingle with protesters."

Two Egyptian policemen jailed following the death of anti-corruption activist Khaled Said were among the hundreds of prisoners that escaped in Cairo that day.

Tanks were reported on the streets of Suez. A police station was torched after protesters seized weapons stored inside before telling officers to get out. At first there was a presence of the Central Security Force, then army troops who were ordered into major cities to quell street fighting. In the Sinai town of Rafah a lynch mob killed three police officers.

Many tourists sites have been disrupted, with access to the Pyramids in Giza suspended. The resort town of Sharm-el Shaikh, however, has been calm. Chaos had been reported at Cairo International Airport, where thousands of stranded and frightened foreigners are attempting to be evacuated back to their home countries.

Egypt - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named intelligence chief Omar Suleiman vice president of Egypt. Suleiman is the first person appointed to the position since Mubarak took office in 1981. Suleiman has long been considered a likely successor to Mubarak, according to profiles in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy and The Los Angeles Times.

In Washington, D.C., protesters gathered outside the Egyptian embassy, waving Egyptian flags and calling for the Mubarak's resignation.

Yemen - A small anti-government protest turned violent as protesters, who were marching to the Egyptian embassy in the capital San'a, clashed with security forces.

30 January

A troop carrier defaced with protester graffiti, the larger of which reads "Down with Mubarak", "No to Mubarak", "Mubarak the dictator has fallen" and "Leave, you thief!"
Overnight, thousands of protesters continued to defy the curfew, and as the night progressed, troops and armoured vehicles were deployed across Cairo to guard key places such as train stations, major government buildings and banks. The army had insufficient capacity to patrol neighborhoods, thus residents set up vigilante groups armed with guns, clubs and knives to drive off looters and robbers.

A heavy army presence (though no police) was also reported in Suez. Chaos was also rampant in Suez the previous night, but as day broke the streets remained relatively quiet. Like in Cairo, many residents formed vigilante groups to protect their homes and businesses due to the absence of police. The military set up numerous checkpoints throughout the city. About another 30 dead bodies were taken to El Damardash Hospital in central Cairo. The figure included 2 children.

By 6:00 am local time, Tahrir Square was quiet with only a few hundred people. Later in the morning, 3,000–5,000 protesters were reported as gathering there, including hundreds of state judges protesting for the first time. They, among others, have called for a new constitution and a transitional government. Judges joined the Tahrir demonstrations. Soldiers were given orders to use live ammunition, but the army said the order would be refused since they were present to "protect the people." According to Al Jazeera Arabic, the army chief told protesters they would not be fired upon. Helicopters were monitoring the protests, and fighter jets were repeatedly flying low over the Tahrir Square.

After the first pass of the two Egyptian Air Force F-16s, the crowd cheered but subsequent passes triggered louder chants, laughing, and waving. The crowd did not disperse. Protesters were also reported picking up trash in Tahrir Square, as essential services were not working and that they wanted to "keep our country clean". Food and water were offered at the scene.

Protesters in Tahrir Square. "Go away Mubarak"

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's Minister of Defence and Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, was seen with the protesters in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. As of 18:30, Mohammed ElBaradei had arrived in Tahrir Square and told that crowd that "what we have begun cannot go back". He also said "You are the owners of this revolution. You are the future. Our key demand is the departure of the regime and the beginning of a new Egypt in which each Egyptian lives in virtue, freedom and dignity."

The Muslim Brotherhood, along with the April 6 Youth Movement, "We are all Khaled Said", National Association for Change, Jan 25 Movement and Kefaya (the main organizers of the protests) gave their support to Mohammed ElBaradei to act as a negotiator in the formation of a temporary national unity government. Al Jazeera reported that 34 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were released from custody as their guards abandoned their posts.

President Mubarak asked the current aviation minister and former chief of Air Staff Ahmed Shafiq, to form a new government. Shafiq, a party loyalist, had often been mentioned as a potential successor to Mubarak due to his politically reliable nature.

The Egyptian Central Bank said all banks and the stock market would remain closed on Sunday, 30 January. Police returned to the streets at about 10:30 pm except at Tahrir Square. By 10:55 local time, Al Jazeera's offices in Cairo were ordered to be closed. At the same time, all correspondents for the network had their credentials revoked.

On the night of 30 January Mubarak's Sharm el-Sheikh holiday villa was guarded by a small force of armed and loyal police who turned away all approaching vehicles. Sharm el-Sheikh had seen no deaths and only a minimal amount of trouble. A number of military aircraft were visible from the local airport’s perimeter fence, although the airport is frequently used by the armed forces for operations. It was also one of the hubs for private air travel in and around Egypt, but most light aircraft had left the airport earlier in the day.

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 Shaikh.

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 Cooperation 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.

Turkey has also said that it is sending aircraft to evacuate its citizens.

Egypt - Bread and other staples disappeared from store shelves as Egyptians stockpiled goods. Banks were closed, and fuel stations ran low on gas. ElBaradei joined protesters at Tahrir Square. President Barack Obama called for an "orderly transition" of power in Egypt.

Egypt - Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei arrived at the center of the political unrest in Cairo as protesters engaged in a standoff with the military. ElBaradei said on American television news shows that President Obama should hasten calls for President Hosni Mubarak to step down, saying the 30-year Egyptian leader possesses no credibility as a democratic reformer.

In Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton insisted American interests jibe with the protesters calling for new leadership and further decoupled the Obama administration from Mubarak. Clinton stopped short of advocating that Mubarak relinquish power but did call for “an orderly transition to meet the democratic and economic needs of the people.”

Also in Washington, Sen. John McCain called for the Obama administration to step up its level of engagement, saying Egypt’s political unrest represents a dangerous fuse that could detonate into radicalism.

Monday, Jan. 31 - Egypt: Throngs of protesters gathered again downtown. Mubarak announced his new Cabinet, mostly the same old faces. The most significant appointment was of a new interior minister, a retired police general. Opposition groups rejected the reshuffling and planned a "million-strong" march.

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. Press Secretary 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, Ahmad 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.

Egypt - The State Department is demanding the release of six detained Al-Jazeera journalists who were arrested today by Egyptian authorities. “We are concerned by the shutdown of Al-Jazeera in Egypt and arrest of its correspondents. Egypt must be open and the reporters released,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted this morning.

The State Department also announced plans to evacuate at least 900 Americans from Egypt today and additional Americans tomorrow. About 500 were evacuated by mid-afternoon eastern time, and at least 1,200 Americans were evacuated by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood declared its "total rejection of the new cabinet" that was sworn in today.

New Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said on state television late Monday that he had been authorized to start talking with the opposition to work out constitutional and political reforms, according to The New York Times, which reported that "it was not immediately clear who Mr. Suleiman was addressing his offer to, or whether the opposition would accept."

Also, the Egyptian military announced that it will not use force during the called for February 1 "march of millions" in Cairo.

Algeria - More than 10,000 protesters dispersed peacefully in the northern town of Bejaia after shouting "Tunisia-inspired slogans," according to the AFP news organization.

Elsewhere in Algeria, a pro-democracy group announced plans to march on Algiers on February 12.

Yemen - Thousands of protesters gathered in two rural areas of the country to voice opposition to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party. Opposition groups announced country-wide demonstrations on Thursday.

Sources incl: miamiherald.com, sarahalaoui.blogspot.com, aljazeera.net, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Egyptian_protests, recreatingtampa.com, nationaljournal.com

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