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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Egypt Feb 1st to 7th, 2011 timeline: Uprisings and Revolution in the Middle East

Chronology of Mideast Uprising - February 2011

February 1: Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, announces in a televised address that he will not run for re-election but refused 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 that President 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.

Egypt: Hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded into Tahrir Square for the biggest rally of the week. The mood was festive and peaceful, with no sign of riot police and only a muted military presence. At about 11 p.m., Mubarak announced he'd step down from the presidency in September. Obama called Mubarak and said an orderly transition "must be meaningful and peaceful, must begin now and must include opposition parties."

EGYPT -- On Egyptian national television, President Hosni Mubarak announced that he will not seek another term as president, but will stay on until elections are held.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo demanding an end to Murbarak's presidency.

JORDAN -- King Abdullah II fired his government and charged his new prime minister, Marouf al-Bakhit, to pursue political reforms to "correct the mistakes of the past."

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.

EGYPT -- A least one person was killed and 403 people were injured today during clashes between pro- and anti-government crowds in Ciaro and Alexandria, according to Egypt's Health minister, Ahmed Hosni.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today at a press conference that the violence in Egypt must stop and that President Hosni Mubarak must begin his transition out of power now.

YEMEN -- President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced that he wouldn't seek reelection or seek to transfer power to his son when Saleh's term ends in 2013. Despite his announcement, protesters still planned for a "Day of Rage" protest Thursday.

JORDAN -- Despite the appointment this week of Maruf Bakhit as prime minister with a mandate to introduce "true" political reforms, the Islamic Action Front, the country's largest political group, is organizing a mass protest Friday to mark Bakhit's appointment.

SYRIA -- About 11,000 peole joined The Syrian Revolution 2011's Facebook page, on which is a call for a day of protest Friday.

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.

EGYPT -- Newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman told Egyptians in a nationwide television address that the protesters' demands are "legitimate" and that he has set up a "road map" to implement those demands.

The New York Times reported that the White House is discussing a plan with Egyptian authorities by which President Hosni Mubarak would step down immediately and new Vice President Omar Suleiman would lead a transitional government.

YEMEN -- A "Day of Rage" with more than 20,000 protesters in the nation's capital ended peacefully today, though the protest's organizers promised to return each Thursday until President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down.

ALGERIA -- President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced today that he would soon lift the nation's almost 20-year-old state of emergency, a key demand of protesters who march on the nation's capital.

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, the president, to leave reverberate across the square, as the country enters its eleventh day of unrest and mass demonstrations.

JORDAN -- Although hundreds of people staged an anti-government protest against newly installed Prime Minister Marouf al-Bahkit, the country's main Islamic opposition group said it wants to give him some time to carry out reforms.

SYRIA -- No protesters showed up for a planned demonstration in the capital, Damascus. Who did show up were plainclothes police deployed in key areas of the Syrian capital.

February 5: Thousands remain inside Tahrir Square fear an apporaching 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. New 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.

During the night of 4–5 February, a few protesters continued to camp out in Tahrir Square, though it was largely quiet.

Despite the cold, rainy conditions, anti-government protesters continue to stand their ground at Tahrir Square. Early in the morning shots were fired as protesters said pro-Mubarak activists tried to assault the square. Troops then fired into the air to disperse them. Demonstrators later formed a human chain to prevent tanks from passing through the barricades into the anti-Mubarak enclave in Tahrir Square; a witness said scuffles broke out when an army general asked demonstrators to take down their make-shift barricades of corrugated steel and debris. As the army tightened access to Tahrir Square, the head of the army met protesters and asked them to return home so that life could return to normal. Protesters responded that "he (Mubarak) will go" and they would not. The army was also more organised and present on the day that during any other day of the protest.[199] A heavy military presence continued in central Cairo. An Interior Ministry spokesman said that "the army remains neutral and is not taking sides because if we protect one side we will be perceived as biased....our role is to prevent clashes and chaos as we separate the opposing groups."

Scuffles were reported during the day in Tahrir Square and one protester was said to have died. A group of foreigners[which?] have joined the protesters in Tahrir Square, handing our flowers to the protesters in a sign of solidarity and holding up a banner in English.[199] Five hundred protesters also arrived in Tahrir Square from Suez.[199] There were also reports of over 10,000 people continuing to stay in Alexandria through the night.

February 6: Things turned darker in Egypt, as more protesters were killed and journalists arrested.

The same organisers of the "Day of Anger", "Friday of Anger", "March of the Millions" and "Friday of Departure" called for a protest in what was dubbed the "Sunday of Martyrs"[259] (Arabic: أحد الشهداء‎).

During the night of 5–6 February, some protesters continued to camp out in Tahrir Square, and Alexandria had peaceful late-night protests. However, gunfire was heard in the early hours of the day in Cairo.

Egyptian Christians held mass in the morning in Tahrir Square to counter claims by state television that most of the anti-Mubarak protesters are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Copts wanted to show that they are a part of Egypt's popular uprising and share the same grievances as the rest of the country. Christians started their Sunday Mass in Cairo's Tahrir Square as Muslim protesters formed a ring around them to protect them during the service. Crowds in Tahrir Square chanted "We are one, we are one" ahead of prayers held at noon for those killed during the protests. Muslims later participated in Salat al-Janazah (Arabic: صلاة الجنازة‎) (literally: funeral prayer). Protesters in Cairo numbered in the vicinity of 1 million. In the midst of all of this, a young couple decided to get married. They planned to spend their honeymoon in Tahrir Square.

There were also demonstrations continuing in Alexandria focuses around the train station of El Ramel.[199] Several thousand anti-government protesters also continued calling for the Mubarak's resignation in Mansoura.

Journalists continued to be targets of the ruling regime. Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera English journalist, was arrested by soldiers in Tahrir Square, and held for 9 hours.

Banks temporarily reopened throughout the country amidst long queues,[266] and people rushed to buy US dollars.

There were also negotiations between Vice President Omar Suleiman and members from the opposition, including Mohammed Morsi(ar) and El-Sayyid el-Badawi. The Muslim Brotherhood said it was taking part in a dialogue with the government.[268] Suleiman agreed to a plan to set up a committee of judiciary and political figures to study constitutional reforms. Results of the committee are due by early March.[269] Naguib Sawiris, who was also involved in the talks, said that "big progress" had been made.[270]

February 7:

A symbolic funeral procession was held for Ahmed Mahmoud in Tahrir Square. Protesters demanded that an investigation be carried out into the cause of his death.

At least 70 people were wounded when hundreds of residents attacked the police station in Khargah to demand the ouster of a police official who had a reputation for heavy-handedness. Police then opened fire on the protesters. Authorities said that 11 people were said to have been killed across the country. The United Nations says it is more than 300.

Wael Ghonim, Google's head of Marketing for the Middle East and North Africa and the founder of the Facebook page that was said to have been influential in fomenting the protests, who had been in custody since 25 January, was reported to have been released.At 20:00, he posted on Twitter that "Freedom is a blessing that deserves fighting for it." (sic)[275] Since his release from custody and an interview on DreamTV, thousands of supporters joined a Facebook page created in his honour. "We authorise Wael Ghoneim to speak on behalf of the Egyptian revolution."

He issued a statement reading:

First of all my sincere condolences for all the Egyptians that lost their lives. I am really sorry for their loss, none of us wanted this. We were not destroying things. We all wanted peaceful protests, and our slogan was no to vandalism. Please don't turn me into a hero. I am not a hero, I am someone that was asleep for 12 days. The real heroes are the ones that took to the streets, please focus your cameras on the right people. I am okay. God willing we will change our country, and all the filth that was taking place in the country has to stop. Together we will clean this country.

Finance Minister Samir Radwan said 6.5 billion Egyptian pounds (US$960 million) will be allocated to cover a 15 percent raise in pensions and salaries for government employees. This decision was made at the first Cabinet meeting since the protests began. One protester said that protests would not end soon because of increasing concessions that the regime offers. While banks have reopened, schools and the stock exchange remain closed. The Egyptian Stock Exchange said it would resumed work on 13 February.

Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass announced that artifacts damaged by looters would be restored over the next five days<. He also said that steps were being taken to reopen Egypt's famed archaeological sites, which have been closed since pro-democracy protests started two weeks ago. Among the objects damaged was a statue of King Tutankhamun standing on a panther and a wooden sarcophagus from the New Kingdom period, dating back roughly 3,500 years ago. The museum, which is right next to the massive anti-government protests in downtown Cairo, is now being guarded by the army.

Former minister of the interior Habib El-Adli faces prosecution in a military court over giving orders to fire at protesters and obstructing peace in Egypt, as well as his role in the 31 December, 2010 bombing of al-Qiddissin Church in Alexandria.

State-owned Al-Ahram, declared its support for the protesters and stopped supporting the ruling regime.[281] Der Spiegel reported an unconfirmed rumour that Mubarak was planning a "prolonged hospital stay" in Germany, a move that would, in effect, have him leave the presidency paving the way for a face saving transition of power

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

Middle East protests, Tunisia and Egypt links:

Wael Ghonim Dream TV Parts One and Two, video in Arabic

English online ttranslation of Wael Ghonim Dream TV interview transcript

Wael Ghonim page on Wikipedia

2010-2011 Tunisia Revolution Wikipedia webpage

Wael Ghonim "ElShaheed" Facebook webpage We Are All Khaled Said

April 6th Movement for Youth wikipedia page

Wikipedia 2011 Egyptian protests

Tunisia revolution and Egypt protests, timelines chronology December 2010 / January 2011

2011 Mideast Uprisings, Summary and Links

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