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Entries in Tahrir Square (32)

Friday
Feb182011

Egypt Protesters Gather in Tahrir Square for 'Victory March'

Photo Courtesy - Chris Hondros/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Tens of thousands of people are gathering on the streets of Egypt Friday, but this time, it's not in protest.

Exactly one week after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, protesters are returning to Cairo's Tahrir Square after Friday prayers for what they are calling a "victory march."  Protesters, complete with a military marching band, will be celebrating the ouster of Mubarak and the revolution they helped create.

In a symbolic move, Sheikh Qaradawi, one of the most influential Sunni clerics, will be presiding over Friday prayers at the square.  Qaradawi was previously banned from entering the country under Mubarak and has been instrumental in urging the Egyptian people to rise up against the regime.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb132011

Talks of Protests Force Action by Libyan President

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- After weeks of protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square led to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, reports say Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi fears his country may soon face similar protests.

Last week, Gaddafi used his security forces to detain political opponent Jamal al-Hajji for posting a message online urging people to protest the government. The message told the public to begin peacefully protesting on March 2. Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years after assuming control in a military coup during the 1960s.

Al-Hajii's call is similar to that which began the revolution in Egypt. A call for protesters to take to the streets began online, especially on Twitter using the hashtag #Jan25, denoting the first day of the protests.

It is also believed that Gaddafi held a series of meetings this past week with top officials within his regime to discuss safety concerns in the event of large-scale protests.

There is no clear indication of who a successor would be in the event Gaddafi is taken out of power. Libya does not have a formal constitution, and thus has no legal method of naming a next in command. He does have seven sons, two of whom have been speculated as possible heirs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Egypt: With Mubarak Out, New Sense Of Purpose In Tahrir Square

Photo Courtesy - Aaron Katersky/ABC NewsREPORTER’S NOTEBOOK
By AARON KATERSKY, ABC News


(CAIRO) -- After 18 days of protests that succeeded in ousting president Hosni Mubarak, a sense of civic pride has overcome the people of Egypt.

They're still celebrating here in Tahrir Square, but where they were carrying flags and placards, now they're carrying brooms, dustpans and garbage bags. The people here have a new sense of purpose – they are cleaning up the Square, actually picking up garbage.

“I've decided that I'm going to work, and plan and dream and get inspired,” one woman told me. “Starting cleaning the streets until building another pyramid.”

Such is the hope that was unleashed here with the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and, for the moment, it trumps any apprehension Egyptians may have about how their country will be governed going forward.

People say they want to build a new Egypt and thousands have come, many with their families.

“This is a historic moment in our time and I want them to feel this,” another woman told me, referring to her children whom she brought with her to help clean the Square. “I need this to be in their memory when they grow up.”

Though her children will grow up with almost no recollection of the country’s former president, she told me that she just wants them “to remember that we did something in this country.”

Over the last three weeks or so this square has seen bullets and bottles, violence and death, and celebration.

“Something within me says it has to be cleaned,” a third woman in the Square told me. “Now I feel it's an obligation.”

“This is my country,” she said. I have to clean it with my own hands. This is my own responsibility now, and everyone else’s.”

She told me it feels like she’s coming home after a 30-year absence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Egypt: Facebook Post Sparks Tension Amid Protesters

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- There was a great deal of tension in the air in Cairo Thursday morning, prompted in part by a Facebook post on the main page protesters have been using since the crisis began on Jan. 25.

The post refers to a purported Egyptian military document that calls for the removal of all protesters from Tahir Square Thursday night.

One of ABC News' fixers interprets the document as saying there are already Special Forces fanned out undercover in the Square, with other military troops staging for the operation.   It says deadly force is not to be used, but calls for tear gas, military vehicles and other military resources.

According to the document, the square has been divided into eight zones, each cleared by a dedicated unit.  All of the streets and entrances to the Square will be opened to facilitate the removal of protesters.

Egyptian colleagues of ABC News all believe the document could be authentic, but ABC News has not seen the document nor been able to confirm its authenticity.  It could be the real deal, but it could also be a forgery, put out by the protesters to provoke a response.

Although there was not a noticeable difference in security on Tahir Square Thursday morning, an ABC News correspondent in the country reported that a large number of tanks and armored vehicles staged outside the new building where the cabinet is working.  The cabinet moved its offices to Heliopolis Wednesday night, away from their location near the Parliament building, which has been the scene of protests for the last three days.

There was also increased security Thursday morning around the Presidential Palace, the Egyptian State Television building, and the Security Services building.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb092011

Egypt: Protesters Head to Parliament; VP Calls for End to Protests

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- Anti-government protesters in Egypt headed towards parliament Wednesday for a second straight day, demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Hundreds of protesters left Cairo's Tahrir Square and marched to parliament again in an effort to escalate pressure on the government to concede to their demands.  Demonstrators want Mubarak, along with his entire government, to step down.

As demonstrations continue for a 16th day, Vice President Omar Suleiman is calling for an end to the protests.

According to the state-run news agency Mena, Suleiman said, "We can't bear this for a long time, and there must be an end to this crisis as soon as possible," while speaking with newspaper editors on Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Egyptian Protesters Rally Around Google Hero

Photo Courtesy - PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egyptian protesters tweeted for people to return to the streets Tuesday as evidence began to emerge that some Egyptians were starting to tire of the more than two-week-long street uprising.

Many protesters clearly haven't tired of the effort to oust President Hosni Mubarak as people poured into Cairo's Tahrir's Square, which has been at the epicenter of the Egyptian uprising.

A draw for the crowd is the appearance of Wael Ghonim, the Google executive credited with being a major factor in mobilizing Egyptian outrage and crowds through a Facebook account. Ghonim was taken into police custody during the initial days of the protests and was released Monday.

An enormous crowd came out to the square Tuesday in a joyous demonstration of their staying power. They sang, chanted and prayed. Coptic priests stand shoulder to shoulder with Muslim imams. An old couple shuffled along through the crush, hand in hand, grinning broadly. In the enormous crowd were women in full cover and teenage girls in fashionable jeans.

For many, the demonstration was a family outing. In one scene, a dad swung his boy around, Egyptian flags clutched in his little fists, both of them laughing happily.

The government made further concessions in an effort to defuse the crowd's anger. Vice President Omar Suleiman said that the Egyptian cabinet has begun preliminary discussions around a new Constitution, and repeated his promise that protesters will not be prosecuted.

In recent days, the regime has given a pay raise for six million state workers and pledged to investigate corruption, but many protesters say that is not enough.

Mubarak on Tuesday held his first meeting with a foreign official since the conflict began two weeks ago, sitting down with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates. The photo op sent another message to the country that their president is in charge.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Egypt: Protester Says Negotiations Are a 'Trick'

Photo Courtesy - ABC NewsREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
By TERRY MORAN, ABC News


(CAIRO) -- On Monday, I spoke with Abdul Rahman Yusuf, a poet and political activist who has been sleeping in Tahrir Square for 10 days.  He was also at Sunday's meeting with Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Yusuf said fellow activists in the Square asked him to go, but he made it clear in his comments immediately after their request, (and was quoted in local papers) saying that he did not speak for any movement, and made no deals.

This guy is no fake dissident or regime puppet; he's been on the front lines of the demonstrations, and said he would never forget the sound of a bullet hitting the guy next to him Wednesday night.  He also said he wouldn't leave the Square until President Hosni Mubarak was gone.

It's hard to overstate the distrust of President Mubarak and his cronies.

"It's a trick!  It's a trick!" one protestor passionately declared when he heard me talking about historic negotiations between the Mubarak administration and the opposition.  It's clear that President Mubarak's talks of reform are not enough for the protesters.

And while most Egyptians are heading back to "normal life," I get the sense that they are quietly happy that the hard core protesters remain in the square -- guardians of the revolution, in a sense.  In fact, it seemed on Monday that many people just wanted to show up in the Square and take a stroll there after work, in solidarity and approval.

But under that degree of normalcy, there's still a lot of tension here despite Sunday's negotiations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb072011

Egypt: Protests Calmer, Less Tense; Normalcy Beginning to Return

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- The scene on Cairo's Tahrir Square remains almost jubilant Monday, with protesters content and pensive after demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak have dominated the streets of Egypt for nearly two weeks.

According to ABC News correspondents in the country, the scene doesn't feel tense on the surface, and people are beginning to get "organized," even splitting the square into smoking and non-smoking sections.

Thousands of people still crowd the streets of Cairo, refusing to leave and voicing dissatisfaction that opposition leaders, who met with the government on Sunday, spoke for them. 

But the real reason why many protesters may not be leaving the Square is that they fear retribution.  It is almost certain that authorities and military intelligence are watching and filming the area, and people fear that if they leave the Square, they could be picked-up at home.

Meanwhile, throughout Cairo, there are more signs of life returning back to normal.  Banks and some businesses are open, as are coffee shops and some restaurants.  The streets are more crowded, with the telltale sounds of honking horns returning to the city.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb042011

Egypt: Military Tries to Create Buffer Zone in Tahrir Square

Photo Courtesy - ABC NewsREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
By CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ABC News

(CAIRO) -- A rumor swept through Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday that President Hosni Mubarak had resigned.

The crowd went crazy, shouting, "He resigned, he resigned."  The Square erupted in a kind of euphoria for 30 seconds.  But it quickly became clear the rumor was not true and the crowd was once again calm.

This was the day the anti-government protesters had called "The Day of Departure," and said those calling upon President Mubarak to resign immediately had hoped this would be the day.

But Thursday in my exclusive interview with him, President Mubarak told me he had no intention of leaving Egypt.

"I would never run away," he said, "I will die on this soil."  So far it seems he is sticking with his resolve.

In general, after the violence of the last few days, the situation here on the Square has utterly changed.  The army has become a buffer zone, deployed around the Square to increase the distance between anti-government and pro-Mubarak supporters.

I came in from one bridge and I could see that the army has taken the whole bridge, having deployed tanks at both ends of the bridge so there is no chance, at this entry point, that pro- and anti-government protesters can clash.

There are also soldiers on foot forming armored barricades.  The protesters themselves are forming line after line of defense, to keep out trouble makers.  Once again you must pass through a checkpoint to get onto the Square.

I walked in front of the national museum and it is just strewn with rubble and burnt out vehicles leading up to the 6th of October Bridge where many of the clashes have taken place.

This is honestly like a World War II scene with all these burnt cars, rubble, and what look like military field hospitals that are actually triage centers set up by the medical professionals among the protesters.  Once a symbol of liberation, Tahrir Square remains a bloody battleground and at the center of the chaos.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb042011

Egypt Protesters to Gather After Friday Prayers

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- Thousands of anti-government protesters will gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday in what's expected to be a massive demonstration calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters are expected to populate the Square shortly after attending Friday prayers at their mosques.

ABC News correspondents in the country report that ambulances and tanks are standing by as the crowds continue to grow.  Helicopters are flying overhead and entrances to the Square are heavily fortified.

On Thursday, more violence ensued between anti-government protesters and those in favor of Mubarak.  Both sides attacked each other with rocks and fire bombs for a second straight day of violent clashes.  Several people have already been killed in the clashes and hundreds others have been injured.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio