Live blog 29/1 - Egypt protests

By Al Jazeera Staff in on January 29th, 2011.

Smoke rises from the burnt headquarters of the ruling National Democratic party in central Cairo on January 29

Live blog 28/1 - Egypt's Protests Erupt (from yesterday)
Visit our special Anger in Egypt coverage page.

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Read up on a timeline of the past four days of unprecedented protests.
View a gallery of photos from the past four days of protests.

Follow staff tweets on the protests from Egypt and Doha.

(All times are local in Egypt.)

6:59pm Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Suez, says that the army has made a push to enforce the curfew there by clearing the center of the city. Protesters got angry with the soldiers, who scuffled with demonstrators while trying to keep the area secure without frustrating the people. Sherine observes people amicably drinking coffee with soldiers.

6:50pm As protesters continue to defy curfew, a bystander in Cairo tells Al Jazeera that there are no police left in the capital. Formerly omnipresent traffic police are nowhere to be found. Reports suggest that private property is being seized in locations throughout Egypt.

6:43pm Some of the rarest antiquities in the world are found damaged by looters at famed Cairo musuem.

6:33pm As Mubarak appoints a new prime minister and vice president, Egyptians wonder if there is a plan to replace the president himself. Former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood seem to have maintained a low public profile on Saturday.

6:18pm Al Jazeera Arabic reports that planes carrying families of Israeli diplomats have flown back to Israel.

6:14pm Reports emerge of gun fire in the affluent Cairo neighborhood of Mahdi. Local men are going into the street with clubs and chains to prevent looting. Residents are trying to protect the entrance to the neighborhood with blockades.

6:04pm President Mubarak's two sons, Gamal and Aala, have reportedly arrived in London.

6:00pm Former aviation minister Ahmad Shafiq is appointed the new prime minister of Egypt and will be responsible for forming new government.

5:36pm Ayman Mohyeldin is reporting that protesters continue trying to break into the Egytian ministry of the interior, as evening prayers conclude in Cairo.

5:25pm Head of Egyptian intelligence, Omar Suleiman, is sworn in as vice president. With his military credentials, the powerbroker is known to have significant connections and credibility inside and outside the country.

5:09pm President Mubarak reportedly holding meetings to discuss current unrest and rising tensions.

5:05pm Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reports that protesters of all walks of life continue to call for Mubarak to resign. He said, "They want Egypt to be under the control of a transitional government...and then to ensure free and fair elections."

4:27pm Malley adds that a government led by the Muslim Brotherhood would clearly would be a "major challenge" but would also somewhat vindicate the stance of Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been saying that a security regime in a permanent peace deal with the Palestinians would need to be onerous.

4:06pm The Egyptian situation is a "Catch-22" and an "unprecedented headache for policy-makers in the West", Robert Malley, program director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group,  tells Al Jazeera English. Malley adds that it is "not clear that a last-minute conversion [by the Obama administration] would convince those that are protesting" about the US change in tone.

4:00pm Curfew has commenced in major cities across Egypt - Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria - but thousands of protesters remain in the streets.

3:55pm Senior leader Ahmed Ezz announces his resignation from the ruling party.

3:47pm Al Arabiya is reporting that the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas phoned Hosni Mubarak to offer his support.

3:38pm The sheikh of Al Azhar University, a prominent cleric, tells protesters that shedding blood is prohibited under Islamic law and says that the Egyptian people have credible demands.

3:33pm No confrontations are reported to be taking place between soldiers and protesters in the capital. Army personnel are still being greeted in a friendly manner, with some even handing roses to the soldiers. Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin also reports that demonstrators are not seen waving any political flags.

3:17pm The Saudi stock market, the Arab world's largest, dropped 6.43 per cent on Saturday amid rising Egypt tensions. Traders fear that other Gulf markets, due to open on Sunday, could experience similar drops.

3:06pm At least 8 people killed by live fire at prison near Cairo, and Egyptian authorities call for all banks to close.

3:03pm Al Jazeera correspondent reports that 36 deaths are confirmed in Alexandria, a coastal city where several police stations have been torched. Protesters continue to gather along the Corniche there - but not as many as yesterday.

2:56pm Notable statements-- Amr Moussa, Arab League secretary-general, says he understands the Egyptian people's anger. Mohamed ElBaradei states that he's proud of the Egyptian protest movement. And the Muslim Brotherhood calls for the peaceful transfer of power in Egypt.

2:47pm Up to 50,000 people gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square, saying that resignation of the cabinet is not enough. Egyptian state TV says that the curfew will begin at 4pm local time.

2:10pm Egyptian military closes tourist access to the pyramids.

1:58pm A group of Bedouin has attacked state security headquarters in the town of Rafah near Egypt's border with Israel, killing three policemen, witnesses and a security source said.

1:55pm The headquarters of the ruling party in Luxor, Upper Egypt, have been torched. Military tanks are entering the city.

1:50pm A huge number of protestors is heading toward Tahrir square in downtown Cairo.

1:15pm Officials in Alexandria tell Al Jazeera that the death toll has risen to at least 27.

1:10pm Mohamed ElBaradei tells Al Jazeera that president Hosni Mubarak should step down and set a framework for transition of power as the only way to end street unrests that have rocked Egypt. The former head of the UN nuclear watchdog told Al Jazeera in a phone interview that Mubarak's speech on Friday, in which he said he would form a new government, was "disappointing" for Egyptians.

12:50pm Police in Alexandria are clashing with protesters, using live ammunition to control crowds, witnesses tell Reuters news agency.

12:38pm Egyptian state television says that the cabinet has officially resigned.

12:30pm Maged Reda Boutros, a member of the Egyptian ruling party, claims on Al Jazeera English that half of all the bodies in the morgue of Alexandria are from security personnel who were killed in the riots.

12:12pm Binyamin Nethanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has ordered government spokesmen to keep silent on anti-government protests in neighboring Egypt. Security officials nonetheless expressed concern the violence could threaten ties with its important ally and spread to the Palestinian Authority.

12:09pm Around 100 people have gathered outside the morgue in the eastern city of Suez where they said the bodies of 12 protesters killed on Friday in anti-government demonstrations were.

11:42pm Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan tweeting from Egypt: "Army tanks all through Cairo. Just filmed in gutted NDP compound, still burning, 50 vehicles torched in the grounds."

11:35am Crowds mass in major cities calling for President Mubarak to step down. The death toll from the protests on Friday has crosses 50.

11:10am Egypt's outgoing cabinet will formally submit its resignation at a meeting expected to start at around midday (1000 GMT) on Saturday, a cabinet spokesman said.

9:45am Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports there are protestors gathering in Alexandria.

8:41am Protesters are back on the street of Cairo. Hundreds gather in Tahrir Square in view of troops. Reports are coming in of tank rolling into the square. 

8:30am Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports having seen more than 20 bodies in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

7:07am Reports of police opening fire on protesters in main Tahrir Square in central Cairo.

7:05am Mobile phone service partially restored in Egypt after communications blackout.

6:48am Japan upgraded its security warning for Egypt on Saturday, advising travellers to Egypt to postpone journeys.

6:38am Internet and mobile phone networks are still down in Egypt.

6:30am The headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party in Cairo are still on fire.

6:04am Al Jazeera's Jane Dutton, reporting from Cairo, says the National Museum in the capital has not been damaged by the fire that destroyed the neighboring office of the National Democratic Party last night.

5:29am Associated Press news agency is reporting that China has blocked the word "Egypt" from the country's wildly popular Twitter-like service, while coverage of the political turmoil has been tightly restricted in state media.

5:13am The Egyptian army secured Cairo's famed antiquities museum early on Saturday, protecting thousands of priceless artifacts, including the gold mask of King Tutankhamun, from looters.

4:17am Al Jazeera's Amyman Mohyeldin says the streets of Cairo are "still abuzz" but peaceful. The curfew, which thousands have defied since it came into effect at 6pm yesterday, is in place until 7am.

3:25am PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, wrote this on Twitter a short while ago:  As President #Obama said, ideas in #Egypt cannot be suppressed. The people want change and the government must respond to that aspiration.

3:06am A senior Muslim Brotherhood official tells Al Jazeera that Mubarak must resign immediately and that it's time for the army to intervene and "save the country".

3:00am Mubarak's decisioon to sack the government does not seem to be enough to appease protesters. "The problem is he is a corrupt president and had a corrupt government and if he brings a new government is will also be corrupt since the system is all corrupt", a man in Cairo tells Reuters. "It was never the government, by God, it is you that has to go, it is enough what you have done to the people," says another protester.

2:17am Reuters reports that protesters stream back into Cairo's central Tahrir square in their hundreds, despite a heavy military presence. The news agency says a small fire has been set at the Mogama building, housing several government offices in the square.

2:07am US President Barack Obama says: "I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters ... The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association. The right to free speech and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights."

1:38am Obama just spoke briefly and took no questions. He said that the first priority in Egypt was preventing violence and called for restraint on both sides. He said that Mubarak pledged greater democracy for Egyptians, but that he needed to "give meaning" to those words. He also said he spoke to Mubarak by phone and told him this directly.

1:13am A senior Mim Brotherhood leader speaking to Al Jazeera Arabic, our sister station, has said that Mubarak has to step down and the military should intervene.

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