Escalating story tonight of at least one sniper in the Ministry of Interior picking off protesters outside the building. Witnesses are saying 10 to 15 people have been shot dead and dozens have been wounded. Dr Muhammad Hassan tells Al Jazeera that dead protestors from the area are flooding the makeshift field hospital.
Shot boy: The Army entered and shot us. They said we were being disruptive, but we were not; we were quiet. They shot at us with live bullets and rubber bullets. They were a lot of dead people and hurt people. I feel for them.Voice behind cam: All in the last few hours?Shot boy: Yes, all in the last few hours.Voice: But we saw people happy and dancing on Army vehicles.Shot boy: They were, and when they went inside the shooting started. They'd go in and out and shoot at us.Then they say goodbye and the interview ends.
Mubarak and his party are put under curfew and not the Egyptian people. #Jan25
Will the appointment of a vice-president end the unrest?Mubarak's decision to pick Suleiman gave a clear indication that the Egyptian leader understands the magnitude of the social and political upheaval that has gripped his country.Five days of unrest have forced Mubarak to make the long-delayed move of picking a deputy, signalling that his days in power may be numbered and that he may not run in a presidential election scheduled for September.With protests keeping the momentum and his army and police failing to quell running battles in the streets, the pressure seems to have grown on the 82-old president from allies and aides to prepare for a transition.Mubarak's legitimacy has all but evaporated under the overwhelming unrest in which 74 people have been killed and more than 2,000 injured.It has also diminished the probability that he or his son Gamal, who has been lined up as a possible contender, would run in this year's presidential election."Mubarak has been damaged. I can't see how this is not the beginning of the end of Mubarak's presidency," said Jon Alterman, Director of the Middle East Programme for the Center of International Studies."It seems that his task now is to try and manage the transition past his leadership. I have a hard time believing that he will be the president in a year."So far protesters responded to the announcement by stepping up anti-government demonstrators.Witnesses reported seeing looters ransacking and setting public buildings on fire. Nothing less than Mubarak stepping down can quell the unrest, some said."The story of Gamal and Mubarak is over. Now, the regime is looking for who will rescue it. Mubarak, Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq know each other on a personal level," said Safwat Zayat, a military analyst."Their task in the coming months would be to ensure Mubarak's safety until the end of his reign. They will reorganise the regime's internal affairs."What might happen on the streets?The army has deployed tanks and troops alongside police forces but has so far refrained from using force.Security forces however have warned that they could resort to tougher measures to impose order.They said that those arrested carrying out acts of vandalism would be tried in military court.Is this the beginning of the end for Mubarak?The revolt is the most serious challenge to the Egyptian government since the 1952 coup that ended monarchy and inaugurated a procession of military strongmen.It has shaken the government to its core, sent shock waves across the Middle East and alarmed Western and regional allies.Mubarak's nomination of an influential military figure with strong diplomatic credentials as his possible successor speaks volumes about the authorities' resolve to ensure that power stays in the hands of military and security institutions.Mubarak also secured the much-needed support from the army."Mubarak is gone, because of his illness, because of his age and because of what happened now in Egypt," said Bassma Kodmani, the head of Arab Reform initiative."This man will be gone by September 2011. He is not an option and everyone knows that and his inner circle knows that."Mubarak is buying time. He needs to buy time to provide the needed minimum stability and control of the country to allow for an orderly transition."What did he learn from Tunisia?Neither Mubarak nor his close aides, including Suleiman, want to see a Tunisia-style exit.When Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali appeared on television after weeks of rioting, those watching the address said fear appeared to be his dominant emotion.When Mubarak appeared on TV on Friday, the contrast could not be greater. His was a poised and confident performance. Yet, it did little to calm tens of thousands of protesters.Seeking to avoid appearing weak, Mubarak delivered a tough message and showed his resolve to stay in power.The message involved giving the military full control and acknowledging people's economic frustrations, as well as promises to help the poor and introduce political reform."Ben Ali made concessions and a day later he was out of the country. He didn't want to make the same mistakes. The regime has broader support than Ben Ali had in the last days," said Alterman."The military in Tunisia not only didn't defend the president but they helped push him out of the country. In Egypt, the military rather than push Mubarak is his next line of defence," he said."The appointment of Omar Suleiman is intended to send a message that if Hosni Mubarak leaves, the regime remains in place. It is not intended to mollify (the protesters). It is intended to show resolve."
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al Aswani "There is respect for the Army. I saw people in Army uniform chant along with protesters today"
- Every street has men armed with sticks and knives to procte their shops and homes. they told us to stay out of poorer neighborhoods because security is very bad, lots of looting. Egyptians keep telling us they want to determine their own future, not one imposed by other countries, very much like Tunisia.
- Reports that large numbers of criminals escaped or were released in alex during unrest, adding to looting and criminality.
- Just got a call from a Popular Committee member in Sidi Basr neighborhood of Alexandria to say looting is going down because of Popular Committee members defending neighborhoods.a
- We hear men armed with knives are looting empty homes in Bokkla. Locals are forming neighborhood committees to protect their homes. We were talking to the army when one group asked for help but the soldiers said they were overstretched and couldn't do anything today. Later we heard the army has asked people to coordinate the Popular Committee for Protection of Property and said reinforcements are coming tomorrow. Many people stuck in Alexandria far from their homes without transport home.
Speaking on CNN minutes ago, Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian blogger and journalist appealed to the media to not fall for what she described as a Mubarak regime plot to make the protests in Egypt seem like dangerous anarchy. "I urge you to use the words 'revolt' and 'uprising' and 'revolution' and not 'chaos' and not 'unrest, we are talking about a historic moment," she said.Moments later, as Ms. Eltahawy suggested that looting and damage to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo shown on Egyptian television was the work of "the police and the thugs of Hosni Mubarak," the lower third of the screen displayed the banner headline: "EGYPT IN CHAOS."She added, "Egyptians want to fix Egypt, they don't want to destroy Egypt."
My wonderful wife has handed out baseball bats, clubs, kitchen knives and tea to neighbourhood patrol.
Just spoke to my dad. He and 15 others have setup a checkpoint underneath their building, id-ing everyone. #Egypt
The museum in central Cairo, which has the world's biggest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, is adjacent to the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party that protesters had earlier set ablaze. Flames were seen still pouring out of the party headquarters early Saturday."I felt deeply sorry today when I came this morning to the Egyptian Museum and found that some had tried to raid the museum by force last night," Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Saturday."Egyptian citizens tried to prevent them and were joined by the tourism police, but some (looters) managed to enter from above and they destroyed two of the mummies," he said. He added looters had also ransacked the ticket office.The two-story museum, built in 1902, houses tens of thousands of objects in its galleries and storerooms, including most of the King Tutankhamen collection.
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Suleiman's appointment as vice-president carries two highly significant messages: for the first time since coming to power in 1981 Mubarak has a designated successor -- finally quashing speculation that it will be his son Gamal; and that successor has the full confidence of the military. Its role will now be crucial as the Egyptian drama unfolds.
... since 1993 Suleiman has headed the feared Egyptian general intelligence service. In that capacity, he was the C.I.A.'s point man in Egypt for renditions--the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances. ... beginning in the nineteen-nineties, Suleiman negotiated directly with top Agency officials. Every rendition was greenlighted at the highest levels of both the U.S. and Egyptian intelligence agencies.
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