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In Egypt, Another Day Of Violence; Mubarak Sees 'Chaos' If He Leaves Now

Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt

In Egypt, Another Day Of Violence; Mubarak Sees 'Chaos' If He Leaves Now

Anti-government protesters carried rocks to throw at pro-government supporters near a highway overpass on the edge of Tahrir Square in Cairo earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011). i

Anti-government protesters carried rocks to throw at pro-government supporters near a highway overpass on the edge of Tahrir Square in Cairo earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011). Chris Hondros/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Anti-government protesters carried rocks to throw at pro-government supporters near a highway overpass on the edge of Tahrir Square in Cairo earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011).

Anti-government protesters carried rocks to throw at pro-government supporters near a highway overpass on the edge of Tahrir Square in Cairo earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011).

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

In this post: Running updates on what is happening in Egypt, where clashes continue between supporters of President Hosni Mubarak and protesters who want him to step down now. Several people have reportedly died and hundreds have been wounded in the past two days. (This post will automatically refresh every five minutes.)

A protester carrying a banner addressing Mubarak: "The people want you to fall." i

A protester carrying a banner addressing Mubarak: "The people want you to fall." Hossam el-Hamalawy/via Flickr hide caption

toggle caption Hossam el-Hamalawy/via Flickr
A protester carrying a banner addressing Mubarak: "The people want you to fall."

A protester carrying a banner addressing Mubarak: "The people want you to fall."

Hossam el-Hamalawy/via Flickr

Update at 6:43 p.m. ET: Tomorrow marks what protesters are calling "Friday of Departure," which refers to the unofficial deadline opposition leader and Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei issued to President Mubarak to step down.

Earlier today, reports NBC News, Egypt's Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told the country's interior minister to allow peaceful marches to proceed unobstructed.

We're going to pause the live blog here. It's 1:43 a.m. in Cairo. We'll leave you with two things to think about. First the black-and-white picture at the top of this update. It was taken by blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy on January 30th. Written on the sign is, "The people want you to fall." Then, here's a thought from George Packer of The New Yorker, who's weighing the future of this revolt:

When the people rise up, there's no guarantee they'll succeed. Just ask a Burmese or an Iranian. Egypt's revolution has a number of counts against it, the main one being the hollow core where Egyptian civil society ought to be—the absence of institutions, groups, and leaders that could shape this massive expression of popular will into an organized counterforce to the regime's violence, with the means to reach deep into the military hierarchy and a strategy for victory. Instead, Mubarak systematically closed off that space, so that he could say to the world: me or the Islamists, choose.

Update at 3:25 p.m. ET: Mubarak also told ABC News' Christiane Amanpour that "I never intended to run again. I never intended Gamal to be President after me." Amanpour adds that "Gamal, his son, was sitting in the room with us as he said this."

And ABC has now posted this video report on its interview with the Egyptian president:

Update at 2:45 p.m. ET. Mubarak Tells ABC News "If I Resign Today There Will Be Chaos":

In an interview with ABC-TV's Christiane Amanpour today, Mubarak said his government is not responsible for instigating the violence in Cairo, Amanpour just reported. And she writes that "he said he's fed up with being president and would like to leave office now, but cannot, he says, for fear that the country would sink into chaos."

Update at 2:40 p.m. ET: NPR's Soryaya Sarhaddi Nelson, who is reporting from Alexandria, Egypt, tells All Things Considered host Robert Siegel that in Egypt's second-largest city there is not evidence of large-scale clashes such as those in Cairo. And she also says there is substantial evidence of "pro-Mubarak" Egyptians getting out in the streets to do such things as remove or edit graffiti to give the impression that the president still has support:

From Alexandria, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson speaks with Robert Siegel
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More from Soryaya's conversation with Robert is due on today's edition of ATC.

This is the last photo that Burton took yesterday afternoon. He was grabbed from behind and beaten. i

As Burton was grabbed, someone went after his camera. Courtesy of Andrew Burton hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Andrew Burton
This is the last photo that Burton took yesterday afternoon. He was grabbed from behind and beaten.

As Burton was grabbed, someone went after his camera.

Courtesy of Andrew Burton

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET: Over at The Picture Show, photojournalist Andrew Burton writes about what happened when he was attacked by "pro-Mubarak" thugs yesterday in Cairo's Tahrir Square. He was saved by some of the "anti-Mubarak" protesters and 14 Egyptian solders, who pulled him into their tank.

Update at 2 p.m. ET: Earlier, we posted audio from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who described what happened when a mob attacked the group she was with and how Egyptian Army soldiers came to their rescue.

She's since talked with NPR's Newscast about what appears to be the systematic targeting of foreign journalist by pro-Mubarak "thugs" who many suspect are being directed by the government in an effort to limit coverage of the crisis.

In this audio, she starts by describing the "thugs with batons ... [who] seem to be pro-Mubarak supporters or allied to the security services in some way. ... We've heard dozens of accounts today of journalists being detained." We've taken two segments of her audio report and put them in one file. There's a short pause between them:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro
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Update at 1:55 p.m. ET. Shahira Amin, a senior reporter and anchor for Egypt's state-run Nile TV has resigned and tells Al Jazeera that "I don't want to be part of the state propaganda regime, I am with the people. I feel liberated and relieved. I have quit my job and joined the people in Tahrir Square."

Update at 12:54 p.m. ET. CNN's Cooper Attacked Again:

Yesterday, CNN's Anderson Cooper and his crew were punched and roughed up by some of the "pro-Mubarak" men around Tahrir Square in Cairo. Just a few minutes ago, Cooper tweeted that "situation on ground in #egypt very tense. Vehicle I was in attacked. My window smashed. All ok."

Update at 12:18 p.m. ET. Protesters Are A "Light" For Their Nation:

As he finished up his appearance on Egyptian TV a moment ago, Vice Presdient Omar Suleiman said of the anti-Mubarak protesters (who he calls "the youth") that "your are the light" that has illuminated the reforms that must be made.

"Please, give a chance to the state to play its role," he adds, and again asks that they end their "strike."

Update at 12:17 p.m. ET. On the prisoners who have broken out of jails, Vice President Omar Suleiman tells Egyptian TV that there is "a call on all prisoners to go back to their prisons."

Authorities are also looking for them, he says.

Update at 12:11 p.m. ET: Criticism Of Al Jazeera And Other Media:

"I actually blame certain friendly nations who have television channels that are not friendly at all" because they have "filled the minds of the youth with wrong-doing and allegations," Vice President Omar Suleiman tells Egyptian TV. Those are references to Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and perhaps also the American and European news channels.

An anti-government protester in a makeshift helmet earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011) in Cairo. i

An anti-government protester in a makeshift helmet earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011) in Cairo. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption John Moore/Getty Images
An anti-government protester in a makeshift helmet earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011) in Cairo.

An anti-government protester in a makeshift helmet earlier today (Feb. 3, 2011) in Cairo.

John Moore/Getty Images

Update at 12:07 p.m. ET: Mubarak Is "An Honest Man":

He has worked with Mubarak for many years and knows the president is "an honest man, a committed man," Vice President Omar Suleiman tells Egyptian TV.

Update at 12:05 p.m. ET: We Hear You, End The "Strike":

Saying that the government "cares to respond to the demands they have submitted," Vice President Omar Suleiman just appealed to "the youth" to end their protests. "Continuing with this strike is continuing the paralysis of the state" and could allow "private agendas" to "terrorize" the nation, he tells Egyptian TV.

Update at 11:57 a.m. ET: The "pro-Mubarak demonstrations" yesterday were begun by people who "went out with their own will and without the direction of anyone," Vice President Omar Suleiman says on Egyptian TV. As for who then instigated the violence, "we're going to know who was behind this."

Update at 11:51 a.m. ET: A Commitment To Punish Those Responsible:

Vice President Omar Suleiman, on Egyptian TV, promises "an immediate investigation into those who have caused this crisis [the violence yesterday and today in Tahrir Square]. Anyone "proven to have been negligent ... will have their harsh punishment."

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET: "I am meeting representatives of the youth who were the core [of the protests]," says Vice President Omar Suleiman, as his appearance continues on Egyptian TV.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET: On Egyptian TV, Vice President Omar Suleiman continues to make the case that time is needed to study the constitution and make any changes. And, he says of the next presidential election, "are we [Egypt's political parties] going to agree on the conditions for nominations? This is the core of the issue."

"Political restructuring necessitates time," Suleiman says, according to the interpreter.

Update at 11:40 a.m. ET: New Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman is being interviewed on Egyptian television now. CNN is webcasting here.

He says Mubarak has outlined a road map to meet the protesters' demands, but that some time is needed to address them.

Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. Latest On The Death Toll And Injuries:

Egypt's Health Ministry "says that 13 people were killed and 1,200 injured in last night's clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators," Al Jazeera reports.

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: On Morning Edition, Renee Montagne spoke with Cairo tour operator and Egyptologist Medhat Saad, who is hunkered down with his family and trying to help protect his neighborhood from looters and others who would do them harm. During their conversation, Saad said he is seriously thinking about leaving the country — but that if Mubarak would step down now, rather than later, "everything will get back to normal."

"To save the country, for the sake of this country, if he really likes this country; he should go," Saad added.

Here's part of their conversation:

Renee Montagne speaking with Medhat Saad
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Update at 10:50. Heavy Gunfire Reported:

"Another bout of heavy gunfire and clashes erupted Thursday around dusk in the Cairo square at the center of Egypt's anti-government chaos, while new looting and arson spread around the capital," the Associated Press says. "Gangs of thugs supporting President Hosni Mubarak attacked reporters, foreigners, and human rights workers and the army rounded up foreign journalists."

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that "we have heard from multiple witnesses that Leila Fadel, our Cairo bureau chief, and Linda Davidson, a photographer, were among two dozen journalists arrested this morning by the Egyptian Interior Ministry. We understand that they are safe but in custody."

Update at 10:35 a.m. ET: U.S. And Others Can't Order Mubarak To Leave 'Now,' Prime Minister Says.

The Al Arabiya news network reports that "new Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq on Thursday dismissed the U.S. and international demands that President Hosni Mubarak should start [a] transitional period 'now.'

" 'Now' should not be given as an order to Egypt. President Mubarak should leave the presidency in an honorable way. He is leaving anyways within the coming few months, so there is no means for the 'now' orders," he told reporters in a press conference in Cairo."

Update at 10 a.m. ET: Vice President Vows To Punish The Attackers:

The Associated Press reports from Cairo that "Egypt's new vice president pledged on Thursday to punish all those involved in causing violence and to release youths detained in anti-government protests who had not been involved in violence, state TV said. Omar Suleiman also said President Hosni Mubarak's son would not run for the presidency, a post for which Egyptians have long assumed he was being groomed."

Update at 9:18 a.m. ET: NBC News' Richard Engel writes that there is "lots of anger, perhaps even more today, against foreign journalists."

Update at 8:52 a.m. ET: More On Intimidation Of Journalists:

We posted earlier about reports of journalists being rounded up and what happened to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who was rescued from a mob by Army soldiers — who briefly detained her.

P.J. Crowley, spokesman for the U.S. State Department, tweets that:

"There is a concerted campaign to intimidate international journalists in #Cairo and interfere with their reporting. We condemn such actions."

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. One of Al Jazeera's correspondents has posted a short video of what it was like from one spot in Tahrir Square last night:

Al Jazeera English YouTube

Update at 8:30 a.m. ET: Pro-Government Rioters "Cleared Away."

The latest Associated Press report from Cairo begins with this news:

"Egyptian army tanks and soldiers cleared away pro-government rioters and deployed between them and protesters seeking the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, moving to halt violence as the prime minister made an unprecedented apology Thursday for the assault by regime backers that turned central Cairo into a battle zone."

Update at 8 a.m. ET: Al Jazeera reports that "according to an eye witness in Abdelmonaem Ryad square next to Tahrir Square, Mubarak loyalists are preparing firebombs to attack protesters in the area. One of our correspondents saw one person carrying a whole box of them and making his way towards that area. He was apprehended by people and delivered to the army."

Update at 7:50 a.m. ET: Soldiers have just fired gunshots into the air in what looks to be an effort to keep the two sides apart, CNN reports. But "a melee" continues as rocks fly between the pro- and anti-Mubarak demonstrators.

Update at 7:30 a.m. ET: The Associated Press writes that "Egyptian military has started rounding up journalists, possibly for their own protection, after they came under attack from supporters of President Hosni Mubarak who have been attacking anti-government protesters."

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that she was among a group of reporters who were in a middle-class neighborhood of Cairo when "we were mobbed by people from the neighborhood accusing of being spies, saying that we were propagandists. One of our colleagues got beaten quite heavily. They were basically trying to take away our equipment and wouldn't let us go. It was the Army, ultimately, that came and took us away from them and calmed the crowd down and held us for a while."

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro
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— Reuters says that "the Egyptian army pushed supporters of President Hosni Mubarak away from anti-government protesters on Thursday, continuing its drive to separate the opposing camps who have clashed in central Cairo."

— But as the day began, "pro-government demonstrators" appeared to be massing for more battles, NPR's Corey Flintoff reported from Cairo for Morning Edition.

Corey Flintoff
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— The country's prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, has apologized for the violence that began yesterday when supporters of Mubarak poured into Tahrir Square and began attacking the anti-Mubarak demonstrators with rocks, sticks — and eventually guns and fire bombs.

Al Jazeera writes that "prominent pro-democracy activist Mohamed ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood rejected a call by the prime minister for talks saying president Mubarak must leave office first."

— The BBC sums up the news to this point this way: "There's a thin line of control being held by the army between anti-Mubarak protesters camped out in Tahrir Square and the pro-Mubarak groups that have been fighting them. There were violent clashes yesterday and overnight, with horse and camel-back charges, petrol bombs and gunfire. Many say the pro-Mubarak groups have been paid by the government - but the government has denied that it is behind the violence."

Reminder: Among the other ways to follow events from Egypt are the Twitter lists being curated by NPR's Andy Carvin and the folks at StoryfulPro.

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