Live Blog: Evening in Egypt, ‘Day of Departure’ going strong as Mubarak stays put

Click Image to go to Al Jazeera Live Blog on Egypt for Feb. 4th

This post will update–you know the drill.

Scroll to the bottom for AJE Live feed, embedded in this post for your convenience, and for quick links to other live feeds.

More live blogging: AJ Live Blog | Enduring America “Egypt and Beyond” Live Blog | NYT Lede’s latest on Egypt | Ahram Online minute-by-minute account of “Departure Friday”

In reverse chronological order, so the latest update is first:

First time reporters will be able to ask Obama questions about Egypt.

On standby on the Obama press conference feed. Will update this if/when CNN or AJE cut back to it…

Ok, he’s back answering qs… repeating “orderly transition” talking point.

Oh goodness, now the president is praising Mubarak, calling him “proud and a patriot.”

2:20 ish pm CST: Obama speaks

First he’s doing remarks on Bilateral with Canada. Then he’ll address Egypt.

Obama on Egypt: “We oppose violence as a response to the crisis.” Attacks on human rights activists, on reporters, on peaceful protesters are unacceptable. Encouraged by restraint shown today. Transition needs to begin now. Details need to be worked out by Egyptians–we understand that they’re working on it now. Entire world is watching. Egypt in “tumult and transformation.” Confident Egyptian people can shape the future they deserve.

2 pm CST: Awaiting remarks from President Obama.

What will he NOT say next?

1:40 CST/9:40 pm Cairo

Pro-democracy activist Wael Abbas on the phone with AJE, reporting that the atmosphere around the protests is “crazy” and that he, like others, have been arrested for all sorts of weird reasons. He says he was arrested three times.

1 pm-ish CST: Robert Gibbs is blathering away.

I’ll let you know if he says anything that’s not the usual evasion tactics.

My verdict as AJE cuts away: Nope, he didn’t say anything of interest. The takeaway quote was Gibbs saying “I doubt if there’s anyone in Cairo looking for my definition of ‘freedom of speech.'” Yawn. ElBaradei denies Austrian interview (that he won’t run for president)

From’s M. Alex Johnson: “Update 1:21 p.m. ET: Reuters reports that ElBaradei has told Al Jazeera that he might, in fact, run for president ‘if the Egyptian people want me.’ Addressing the Standard report below, ElBaradei said by telephone that ‘this is not true,’ Reuters says.”

Here’s the Der Standard report, translated by google.

Ahram Online: Minister of Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid banned from leaving Egypt

Full text: “Public Prosecuter ordered Friday the freezing of the bank accounts of former Minister of Industry, Rashid Mohamed Rashid, and banned him from leaaving the country.

Yesterday, similar actions were taken on  former NDP Organization Secretary Ahmed Ezz, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, former Housing Minister Ahmed al-Maghraby and former Minister of Tourism Zuhair Garrana.”

Robert Fisk: ‘Mubarak will go tomorrow,’ they cried as rocks and firebombs flew

From the link: “From the House on the Corner, you could watch the arrogance and folly yesterday of those Egyptians who would rid themselves of their ‘President’. It was painful – it always is when the ‘good guys’ play into the hands of their enemies – but the young pro-democracy demonstrators on the Tahrir Square barricades carefully organised their Cairo battle, brought up their lorryloads of rocks in advance, telephoned for reinforcements and then drove the young men of Hosni Mubarak back from the flyovers behind the Egyptian Museum. Maybe it was the anticipation that the old man will go at last today. Maybe it was revenge for the fire-bombing and sniper attacks of the previous night. But as far as the ‘heroes’ of Egypt are concerned, it was not their finest hour.”

“Why Israel fears a free Egypt”

That’s the title of Middle East analyst and negotiator Aaron David Miller’s op-ed in today’s Washington Post: “The irony is that the challenges a new Egypt will pose to America and Israel won’t come from the worst-case scenarios imagined by frantic policymakers and intelligence analysts – an extremist Muslim takeover, an abrogation of peace treaties, the closing of the Suez Canal – but from the very values of participatory government and free speech that free societies so cherish. In a more open Egypt, diverse voices reflecting Islamist currents and secular nationalists will be louder. And by definition, these voices will be more critical of America and Israel.”

Alternet/Reuters — Egypt finance minister says unrest losses huge“:

  • Says 1 million tourists have left country
  • Says government to honour T-bill and bond commitments
  • Says food prices to be controlled after crisis

“Resilience of the crowd”

More than 8 hours after the protests began, AJE reports energy still strong.

8pm Cairo/noon CST

RT @Egyptocracy: Woman in niqab standing in Tahrir today holding a sign: #Egypt is for all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians

(reflecting the same spirit I heard earlier today–during Friday prayers someone said today’s protests were not about ideology or religion but about removing the Mubarak regime.)

A little levity

RT @BorowitzReport: World Cannot Believe Mubarak Hasn’t Fucking Left Yet:

NYT: “Egyptian Government Figures Join Protesters”

The Gray Lady reports the following faces among the crowd:

  • secretary general of the Arab League and former foreign minister Amr Moussa, who seemingly tried to align himself with the protesters but was drowned out by the crowd’s roars of approval.
  • Defense minister and deputy prime minister Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi was the first member of the ruling government elite to enter the square — “he seemed to be concerned mostly with reviewing the troops and did not seek to speak to the crowd, though he did chat with some protesters.”
  • Public spokesman for Al Azhar, Mohamed Rafah Tahtawy, informed reporters that he is quitting his position: “I am participating in the protests and I have issued statements that support the revolutionists as far as they go.”

“More women” reportedly at Alexandria

10:30 am CST/6:30 pm Alexandria: According to one AJE correspondent, women have a pronounced presence at Alexandria in comparison to some of the other protests.

“Death or Freedom”

10 am CST/6 pm Cairo: Crowds not thinning from earlier in the day, surprising Al Jazeera English anchors and correspondents. Reporter live at Tahrir says the protesters are saying “death or freedom” — he also observes that the “only indication that the protesters will accept anything is if President Mubarak steps down.”

Al Jazeera English LIVE feed:

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16 Comments on “Live Blog: Evening in Egypt, ‘Day of Departure’ going strong as Mubarak stays put”

  1. dakinikat says:

    What’s driving me crazy is story that journalists are now telling that the government is spreading that Israeli spies are inciting young people to riot. How can a supposed “Israel” friendly government be putting on things to incite anti-antisemitism? The Public TV reporter on the ground yesterday said the story was being repeated endlessly on TV. She said that when they started that is the same time westerners, journalists, and representatives of NGOs started being attacked.

    I’m not sure how any one that wishes safety for any one is Israel could justify that kind of behavior.

  2. OT, in case you don’t see this in the Friday thread’s comments:

    Chris ‘clueless class’ Bowers announces Open Left is closing:

  3. Woman Voter says:

    Missing Wise #Women in #Egypt, #Pro-Democracy Movement only found ‘Wise Men’ !?!
    From Warrior Women to #Female Pharaohs

    So, why do you think the Freedom/ Pro-Democracy Movement doesn’t have women, since the government is trying to say that women have rights etc, and the Freedom / Pro-Democracy Movement only FOUND MEN?

    Can you notice I am disappointed…hopefully the younger, youth of today will fix that, since the older men seem to be sending love notes to the Patriarchy.

    • I don’t know… I see women in the protests. See the updates in the live blog–in Alexandria today there were a lot of women. I think the idea that women aren’t involved is a meme being spread by dubious sources.

      • WomanVoter says:

        In the ‘Council of Wise Men’, even some of the younger people are doing, ‘Wise Men’, if indeed they are planning a Freedom/Pro-Democracy Government then they should have a woman, representative in the council of ‘wise Egyptian people’, for the future head of the Health Ministry or another position.

        Look at the US, it is the ‘Founding Fathers’, oh, because us women didn’t have voting rights, but in Egypt we are in modern times and there should be a woman, in the ‘wise council’.

        Any hoo, I am ribbing them about it, and have no regrets. Besides, I am telling my friends, that when Obama said “Right Now”, Hosni ‘Dictator’ Mubarak thought NOW (National Organization of Women) wanted him to resign, not that he should leave right now! 😉

  4. Ok, I just put up a few updates up top on Obama’s presser… O was pretty weak and then right afterward on CNN Gloria B and Wolf B spun it as O being so tough on Mubarak and how he really laid down the law.

    • bostonboomer says:

      The talking heads on Al Jazeera were like, “WTF?” They couldn’t believe he was so wimpy.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Wolfrum William K. Wolfrum
    by owillis

    Dear Muslim Brotherhood: It would really ease a lot of tensions if you changed name to “Happy American-Loving Fluffy Bunnies”

  6. Obama washes his hands of responsibility on Egypt…and CNN is worried about the Porn crisis

    That’s all they’re talking about right now.

  7. More on the arrests that Wael Abbas mentioned (cf. update at 1:40 pm CST in post up top)

    nancyelattar: Police arrests AbdelFattah Fayed, #AlJazeera’s office director in Egypt + reported Ahmed Youssef #egypt #jan25 #cairo #tahrir 1 minute ago via web

  8. WomanVoter says:

    EANewsFeed EA WorldView
    #Egypt URGENT: (VIDEO) Man Confesses to Having Been Paid by Authorities to Attack Protesters:

    OK, Biden, is Hosni Mubarak a DICTATOR NOW? Oh, and how about the estimated wealth he amassed @ 40 to 70 BILLION… Oh, Biden is he a Dictator NOW?

  9. CNN Breaking:

    There’s a report of gunfire at Tahrir.

  10. Pilgrim says:

    One thing Jack Beattie on NPR says is that U.S. would like this V.P. Sulamen to take over because, as the intelligence chief, he could be expected to keep secret the U.S. renditioning to Egypt of people for torturing.

    I keep hearing that said in various credible quarters.