Entries in Tahrir Square (32)


Three Americans Held by Egyptian Authorities

ABC News(CAIRO) -- Three U.S. exchange students at American University in Cairo are in custody, accused of tossing firebombs from the roof of a campus building overlooking Tahrir square.

The U.S. Embassy is trying to determine their whereabouts.

A spokesperson for American University in Cairo told ABC News Radio on Tuesday that the students being detained are Georgetown University student Derrik Sweeney; Drexel University student Gregory Porter, of Glenside, Pa.; and Indiana University student Luke Gates, of Bloomingdale, Ind.

The university said it is working with the U.S. Embassy to find out where the students are and to determine their well-being. It could not confirm the charges pending against the students.

There was a large show of force in Tahrir Square on Tuesday, the day activists called for a million-man march. Initial reports indicated at least 20,000 protesters had congregated and thousands more were on their way to Tahrir Square -- where red, white and black flags fluttered throughout.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's ruling army council, said that parliamentary elections will take place as scheduled on Nov. 28, and a handover to a civilian government will occur in July 2012. Tantawi accepted the cabinet's resignation but said it will remain in power until another one is formed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Protesters Demand End to Military Rule

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square had some reason to celebrate Monday when they learned that the Egyptian Cabinet stepped down amidst what is developing into a violent reprise of the Arab Spring movement from earlier this year.

Three days of confrontations with security forces have led to dozens of deaths as pro-democracy activists continue to put pressure on the military rulers to also resign.  The protesters have charged that the situation in Egypt hasn't improved since President Hosni Mubarak abdicated his post and are demanding the creation of a civilian government.

The thousands gathered in Tahrir Square are calling for the ouster of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the council of generals in control of Egypt over the past nine months.

While Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is the acknowledged leader of Egypt, political opponents see him as a puppet figurehead with the real power consolidated in the hands of the military, who are reluctant to cede power.

Further complicating the situation are the parliamentary elections scheduled for next week, which critics contend will only lead to the military remaining in control.  The generals have agreed to step down once a new president is elected but there has been no firm decision on when an election will happen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is Egypt Going Through a Second Revolution?

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Tahrir Square in Cairo was ground zero for the Egyptian uprising earlier this year that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, and this past weekend, it was once again the center of unrest as thousands of protesters unhappy with the country’s interim military leadership clashed violently with police and soldiers.

Civilian police and Egyptian soldiers burned down protesters’ tents and used clubs, tear gas and rubber bullets in a two-day effort to clear the square just one week ahead of the start of planned parliamentary elections.  Egypt’s health ministry said at least 20 people were killed and over a thousand injured in the weekend violence.

The cabinet running Egypt’s interim government -- the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces -- has faced incidents of unrest and condemnation since taking power from Mubarak, but various opposition groups now appear to be united in their demand for the end of military rule and an accelerated move to a civilian government.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to begin next Monday, but they are not expected to be completed until March.  The military has already stated it intends to retain power until long after the voting is completed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Riot Police Sent in to Clear Tahrir Square

ABC News(CAIRO) -- Tear gas and the sound of gunfire filled the air around Cairo's Tahrir Square for a third day running on Sunday.

Police in full riot gear, long associated with the hated regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, have were sent in to clear Tahrir Square. Officers were accompanied by armored personnel carriers.

Protesters threw stones and other missiles at riot police to throw them back.

The square was effectively cleared, only to be packed with protesters again in a matter of minutes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Crowds Gather for Protest in Cairo

An Egyptian demonstrator holds an anti-Mubarak sign during protests in Cairo's Tahrir square on February 8, 2011. PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egypt's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of this year's anti-government uprising and eventual upheaval, was packed with protesters Friday ahead of midday prayers.

Demonstrators called it a "Friday of One Demand," an attempt to end the so-called "supra-constitutional principles" -- a list of articles written by Deputy Prime Minister Ali el-Selmi that give a future administration little oversight over the military and will influence the formation of the assembly that will write the nation's constitution following elections.

Protesters also want a timetable regarding the handover of power to a civilian government, and the timing of the country's presidential election.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Islamists Draw Massive Demonstration in Tahrir Square

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Friday's call by Islamists drew one of the biggest -- if not the biggest -- crowds to Tahrir Square since Mubarak fell.  

There had been an agreement between the Islamists and the liberals to demonstrate only about issues they agreed on -- no military trials for civilians, prosecution for those responsible for killing protesters, faster trials for former officials and raising the minimum wage. But as the day progressed, it was clear that the agreement wasn’t holding. There were Islamist chants and banners for an Islamic state, reports of scuffles and aggressive attitudes toward the liberal women.  So the agreement fell apart.

The Muslim Brotherhood is more moderate than the ultra-conservative Salafists who were present on Tahrir Friday that the liberals are so scared of. Since the revolution, the Salafists have been going around destroying religious statues, graveyards, attacking Copts. Their vision for Egypt is much more conservative than the MB’s.

But a core disagreement between the liberals and the Islamists is how to go about writing a new constitution. The liberals want the military council to impose guidelines before the parliamentary elections (planned, for now, in November) to limit the power of the Islamists who are expected to perform well.

Some of the liberals who had been camped out Friday left the square in the evening, while others tried to continue the sit-in. Friday's demonstration, however, showed the power and popularity of the Islamists that had been much-discussed but rarely displayed.

On Wednesday Mubarak, his two sons, and other top officials are set to go on trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Government Fires Hundreds of Police Linked to Protester Deaths

Blood runs down the head of an Egyptian protester injured during clashes with riot police in Tahrir Square in Cairo. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO, Egypt) -- After nearly a week of re-occupying Cairo's Tahrir Square with protest tents, Egyptians have won one of their key demands from the new military government.  Over 850 protestors died during the revolution and hundreds of others were injured, and now some in the police force suspected of taking part in the violence are paying the price.
Egypt's new government has fired nearly 700 top police officers in response to the public's growing anger that so few had been held accountable for harming protestors during the revolution.  Major-generals, colonels and brigadiers were let go, while 37 of them face charges of killing protestors. The Interior Minister promised they would stand trial.  

The move may help restore credibility to the unpopular police force, but it won't get protestors to leave Tahrir Square. They're still demanding reforms to the constitution, the dismantling of interior ministry and trials for corrupt officials.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Anti-Government Protests Continue in Egypt's Tahrir Square

ABC News(CAIRO) -- Cairo's central square on Wednesday is once again the scene of violent anti-government protests.

Egyptian riot police are using tear gas and firing rubber bullets, but a few thousand protestors are refusing to leave the area around Tahrir Square. Some of them are throwing rocks and firebombs at the police. Dozens have been injured.

Many of the protestors are reportedly relatives of the 850 people killed during the revolution that took place earlier this year, which prompted Hosni Mubarak to step down as Egypt’s president.

Demonstrators say they're angry that the new military government hasn't begun prosecuting the police who protestors believe are responsible for those deaths.  Others say they're frustrated by the slow pace of political reform.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Military Uses Force Against Protesters

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- What began as a peaceful protest in Tahrir Square late Friday – two weeks after Hosni Mubarak ended his 30-year reign as Egypt’s president – turned into a standoff between the military and the people.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered, vowing to continue the revolution. Soldiers and plainclothes security officers moved in – beating protesters and firing in the air to break up the demonstration – and they succeeded in forcing them to leave.

The military, until now, has tolerated gatherings and sit-ins, but it appears the military’s patience may be running out. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that "what happened late Friday was the result of unintentional confrontations between the military police and the youth of the revolution."  It stressed that it "did not and will not issue orders to attack the youth, and all measures will be taken to ensure this will not happen again."

The protesters are due to meet again next Friday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egyptian Names Baby 'Facebook' For Site's Role in Revolution

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Looking for a name for their newborn daughter that celebrated the recent events in Egypt, an Alexandria couple skipped calling her "Tahrir Square" for something a little more trendy -- Facebook.

Baby Facebook's father, Jamal Ibrahim, told Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper that he "wanted to express his gratitude about the victories the youth of Jan. 25 have achieved and chose to express it in the form of naming his firstborn girl," according to a translation by the blog TechCrunch.

Social media played an integral part in coordinating three weeks of protests that ended in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, after three decades in power.

The Egyptian government quickly realized the power of the Internet in fomenting revolution and shut down access across the country. Soon after the protests began on Jan. 25, Wael Ghonim, a Google executive and founder of the country's preeminent dissident Facebook page, was arrested.

The page became a digital Tahrir Square, a central meeting places where protesters could plan and disseminate information about where to meet in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other Egyptian cities.

Facebook, along with Twitter, Google, and YouTube were all used by protesters to organize and broadcast news and images from the ground.

Earlier this month, Facebook reported having 5 million users in Egypt with 32,000 groups and 14,000 pages created in the two weeks after Jan. 25, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The new military government has also discovered the power of Facebook and recently set up a page for the Egyptian Armed Forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio