Day 13: Protest City

by Zoe Pollock


Although things are much calmer in Cairo today, there is still dramatic footage emerging online from days gone by. This footage (after the two-minute mark) seems to show a civilian shot by the police in Alexandria. Be warned: it is graphic and may offend some. Al Jazeera reporter Ayman Mohyeldin, was appealing for more information about this video just before he was taken into military custody.

The Guardian on the most recent developments:

10.08pm: In an interview on Fox News, Barack Obama says he believes Egypt is "not going to go back to what it was", and that the time for change is now. ...

Obama also said he believed the Muslim Brotherhood is only one faction in Egypt and that they do not have majority support. He added that they are well-organised and that there are some strains of their ideology that are anti-American.


11:45pm The US state department has said that Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, spoke last night with Ahmed Shafik, the Egyptian prime minister. Clinton emphasized the need to ensure that the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people are met, and that a broad cross-section of political actors and civil society have to be a part of the Egyptian-led process.  She also stressed that incidents of harassment and detention of activists, journalists and other elements of civil society must stop.

8:52pm Reports of human chains created to block the army tanks from entering the Tahrir Square.

Blake Hounshell takes stock:

No question, the protesters have won some important victories: Mubarak and his son are finished in Egyptian politics, and a number of the most corrupt party figures have been cashiered. Tens of thousands of young Egyptians have risked their lives and their livelihoods and inspired the entire world with their courage (this incredible footage of last Friday's epic battle on Qasr el-Nil bridge leading into the square gives you a taste of it). One of the most common phrases you hear in Tahrir Square is "we've regained our dignity" -- the protesters are enormously proud of what they've done, and rightly so.

But there are no signs that the regime is willing to concede any fundamental authority, and plenty of signs that it is trying to tire and isolate the protesters politically, divide opposition movements and groups in order to weaken them, and stall for time in the hopes of going back to business as usual.

The Guardian summarizes events of the afternoon:

Details of concessions agreed by Omar Suleiman at a meeting with groups have emerged. Concessions include liberalisation of the media and the release of political prisoners. Suleiman's office noted that a transition of authority will take place "within the constitutional framework".

The negotiations were criticised by opposition leaders Mohamed ElBaradei and Ayman Nour. The British protester Khalid Abadalla said the concessions are "not enough" and that protesters would stay until Mubarak goes.

 A new batch of WikiLeaks cables reveals that Suleiman has long sought to demonise the Muslim Brotherhood in his contacts with a sceptical US.


Opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei says he was not invited to the talks on Egypt's future and says the talks lack credibility.

Sandmonkey tweets to a video of the Christian Mass in Tehrir:

Please note that under Mubarak's rule, this has never happened. #jan25


Can u imagine the briefing Mubarak gets on Tahrir now? Singing, poetry reciting, religious service , weddings, honeymooners..Awesome #jan25

EA features a collection of photos from today of protest city in Tahrir. And in other good news, Al Jazeera's correspondent was released:

Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera correspondent who was detained while covering the unrest in Egypt, has been released. He was seized by the Egyptian military near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Sunday, but was freed seven hours later following a concerted appeal by the network and supporters of Mohyeldin.

But there is still cause for concern:

Amnesty International today warned that a Google employee reportedly arrested in Cairo during mass protests is facing a serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment by Egyptian security forces.

Father of two Wael Ghuneim was arrested by Egyptian security forces on 28 January 2011 during protests in Cairo, eyewitnesses said. His whereabouts remain unknown.