January 31st, 2011
10:48 PM ET

Egypt targets communications ahead of Tuesday protests

Read full coverage of the unrest in Egypt updated continually by CNN reporters worldwide. Send your photos and video to iReport and see CNN in Arabic here.

[Update 4:22 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 9:22 p.m. ET Monday] Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama needs to review his policy on Egypt.
"You need to start building confidence with the people and not with the people who are smothering the people," he said, addressing the president.

[Update 4:08 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 9:08 p.m. ET Monday] Google said on its blog late Monday night that it had set up a "speak-to-tweet" service to help people in Egypt stay connected. The service allows people without an internet connection to leave a voice-mail message, which will automatically be turned into a tweet.

[Update 3:11 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 8:11 p.m. ET Monday] CNN's Fareed Zakaria, host of “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” discusses the chances that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will step down and the possibility that unrest will spread to nearby nations.

[Update 1:24 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 6:24 p.m. ET Monday] Egypt's roiling political unrest is causing the United States to fine-tune a foreign policy equation that for 30 years has valued strategic partnership with President Hosni Mubarak over democratic ideals, experts tell CNN's Tom Cohen. Even hawkish conservatives generally opposed to Obama administration policies have backed the U.S. response, citing the over-arching need to prevent an unpredictable power vacuum if Mubarak were to be quickly forced out of power.

[Update 1:12 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 6:12 p.m. ET Monday] Egypt's information ministry told CNN Tuesday that the Noor Group, an Internet service provider, has been shut down. The move essentially takes the country offline.

Minnutes earlier, Egypt's information ministry that mobile phone networks will be shut down in Egypt during the next few hours ahead of demonstrators' planned "march of millions."

[Update 1:10 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 6:10 p.m. ET Monday] CNN's Arwa Damon reports on armed children helping to guard their Cairo neighborhoods, people standing in long lines for bread amid fears of a food shortage, a few people expressing support for Mubarak, and hostility toward journalists.

[Update 12:41 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 5:41 p.m. ET Monday] Mobile phone networks will be shut down in Egypt during the next few hours ahead of demonstrators' planned "march of millions," Egypt's information ministry told CNN Tuesday.

Protesters who were gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square said Monday that they were organizing a "million man march" around Cairo for Tuesday. Egyptian security forces have been laying down concrete barriers in front of strategic locations in central Cairo in preparation for the event. Demonstrators also told CNN on Monday that they were organizing a similar march in Alexandria for Tuesday.

[Update 12:31 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 5:31 p.m. ET Monday] A Google executive is missing in Egypt, having not contacted anyone since Friday morning - three days after major protests in Egypt began - CNNMoney reports. Wael Ghonim, Google's head of marketing for Middle East and North Africa, had traveled to Cairo for a conference, according to a tech entrepreneur who knows Ghonim.

[Update 12:19 a.m. Tuesday in Cairo, 5:19 p.m. ET Monday] A few hundred demonstrators have gathered in front of Egypt's mission to the United Nations in New York, wielding signs and chanting pro-democracy and political slogans about the unfolding events in Egypt, according to CNN correspondent Allan Chernoff. The protesters chanted "Free, free Egypt. Down, down Mubarak," he said.

[Update 11:51 p.m. Cairo, 4:51 p.m. ET] The U.S. men's national soccer team says it has canceled its Feb. 9 friendly match with Egypt in Cairo because of the political instability in Egypt.

[Update 11:36 p.m. Cairo, 4:36 p.m. ET] Talks between opposition parties and Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman are already under way, Suleiman's office said. Earlier, Suleiman said on state television that President Hosni Mubarak asked him to start working on "constitutional reform and legislation" in collaboration with the various political parties.

Suleiman, the longtime intelligence chief Mubarak picked as his vice president over the weekend, said a reform package should be drawn up "expeditiously" in conjunction with the country's parliament.

"The other parties will also have a role to play, which will lead to real political reform," Suleiman said.

[Update 11:16 p.m. Cairo, 4:16 p.m. ET] Amre Moussa, head of the Arab League, called Monday for a peaceful transition in Egypt, "from an era to the other," the AFP news agency reported. Moussa is a veteran diplomat who was Mubarak's foreign minister until 2001.

[Update 10:44 p.m. Cairo, 3:44 p.m. ET] Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said on state television that President Hosni Mubarak has asked him to start working on "constitutional reform and legislation" in collaboration with the various political parties.

[Update 10:22 p.m. Cairo, 3:22 p.m. ET] Former Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin said newly appointed Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman is "a very sophisticated and skilled intelligence officer, who is well regarded in the U.S. and around the region." McLaughlin told CNN that Suleiman had been "helpful in many arenas," including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

"I'm sure the Israelis regard him as a good and trusted interlocutor. He is basically your main go-to guy in Egypt," he said.

McLaughlin further said it's hard to say how Suleiman will handle the current turmoil, but "I think he'll take on board what's going on and have few illusions about the situation." He doubts Suleiman will do anything to stoke tensions.

"Many undoubtedly view him as old school, old regime and will not give him the benefit of the doubt for that reason. I do think it's a mixed picture," McLaughlin said.

As for the big picture, McLaughlin said, "The best way out is probably for someone in the government camp to call for and set up a constitutional revision process, with broad participation, aimed at holding elections in the fall that everyone would regard as fair."

[Update 9:38 p.m. Cairo, 2:38 p.m. ET] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has ordered the nation's rail system shut down indefinitely, a move that will help prevent protesters from joining mass rallies planned for Tuesday, CNN's Ben Wedeman reports.

[Update 9:30 p.m. Cairo, 2:30 p.m. ET] The "orderly transition" in Egypt called for by the United States "means change, and what we've advocated from the very beginning is that the way Egypt looks and operates must change," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

[Update 9:16 p.m. Cairo, 2:16 p.m. ET] Egypt's government should engage in "meaningful negotiations with a broad section of civil society, including opposition groups," and hold "free and fair elections" in September, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

[Update 9:08 p.m. Cairo, 2:08 p.m. ET] More than 500 Americans have been evacuated from Egypt aboard five flights, the U.S. State Department said Monday. The government said it hopes to evacuate another 500 people before the end of the day.

[Update 8:48 p.m. Cairo, 1:48 p.m. ET] Egypt's armed forces are aware of the "legitimate demands of the honest citizens," and will not use violence against the people, a spokesman said on Egyptian state television.

-[Update 8:38 p.m. Cairo, 1:38 p.m. ET] A team of heavily armed Marine Corps security personnel have been sent to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to provide additional security for the facility, defense officials tell CNN. The small team of Marines, about a dozen according to one of the officials, are part of a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST). The Marines are inside the embassy perimeter. Egyptian military and security forces continue to provide security outside the embassy, the officials said.

[Update 8:32 p.m. Cairo, 1:32 p.m. ET] Opposition movements in Syria are calling for mass protests on Saturday against the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad.

[Update 7:19 p.m. Cairo, 12:19 p.m. ET] Some Egyptologists and archaeologists fear some of the nation's priceless treasures may fall victim to looters or vandals amid the uprising.

Egypt is "the greatest open-air museum in the world," said Peter Der Manuelian, the Philip J. King professor of Egyptology at Harvard University. He said he and his colleagues are "trying to stay on top of (the situation) as best we can," given spotty internet service in Egypt.

Friday night, a group of "criminals" entered the Cairo Museum using a fire department staircase, Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told CNN early Sunday.

[Update 6:46 p.m. Cairo, 11:46 a.m. ET] The U.S. State Department told Americans on Monday that they should bring food, water and other necessities - including patience - to the airport if they hope to catch a flight.

"People should be prepared for a very long wait," said Janice Jacobs, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for consular affairs.

Watch CNN's Arwa Damon's report on Egypt's food crisis

- A worker at the South African Embassy in Cairo tells the Cape Times newspaper that he saw protesters killed Saturday night. "I watched them die. At the time it was like watching a movie, but it was live and real," the worker is quoted as saying.

[Update 6:27 p.m. Cairo, 11:27 a.m. ET] CNN's Nic Robertson (#NicRobertsonCNN) sent these tweets from Alexandria within the past 10 minutes:

  • A 10-year-old American-Egyptian boy tells us he wants Egypt to be like US - "democratic."
  • Protesters in #Alexandria tell us they trust Army SOLDIERS but fear the OFFICERS are #Mubarak loyalists.
  • People on street tell us they no longer trust #Egyptian state media, says lying to them.
  • Several thousand people joined in prayer as sun set in Martyr Square,#Alexandria, one of many demos defying curfew.

[Update 6:02 p.m. Cairo, 11:02 a.m. ET] The U.S. State Department says more than 2,400 Americans have sought its help in evacuating Egypt.

[Update 5:51 p.m. Cairo, 10:51 a.m. ET] Egypt Air, Egypt's national airline carrier, has cancelled flights from 5 p.m.  local time (10 a.m. ET) on Tuesday to 10 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) on Wednesday, state television said.

[Update 4:55 p.m. Cairo, 9:55 a.m. ET] Egyptian security forces have been laying down concrete barriers in front of strategic locations in central Cairo in preparation for a “million man” march planned for Tuesday.

[Update 4:37 p.m. Cairo, 9:37 a.m. ET] Israeli President Shimon Peres praised his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, on Monday for promoting the peace process in the Middle East, the Jerusalem Post reports.

"We still have great respect for Mubarak," Peres is quoted as saying, noting that while the Egyptian president didn't do everything right "he worked to keep peace in the Middle East." Peres warned against a "fanatic religious oligarchy" taking over in Egypt.

- Thousands of Egyptians - taking to the streets across the country for a seventh straight day - defied a mid-afternoon government curfew Monday, despite a bulked-up and proactive military deployment scattered around the restive nation.

[Update 4:02 p.m. Cairo, 9:02 a.m. ET] Six journalists for the Al-Jazeera news network who were detained earlier Monday have been released, but their equipment has not been returned, the network said on its website.

[Update 3:48 p.m. Cairo, 8:48 a.m. ET] Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak was shown on state-run Nile TV swearing in new Cabinet members Monday: Gen. Mahmoud Wagdy as interior minister, Samir Radwan as minister of finance and Ahmed Hosni Farid as minister of health.

[Update 3:15 p.m. Cairo, 8:15 a.m. ET] A total of 219 Americans have departed Egypt on two flights, according to the U.S. State Department.

[Update 2:49 p.m. Cairo, 7:49 a.m. ET] Police in Cairo detained six journalists for Al-Jazeera, the Arabic-language news network, and confiscated their equipment, a network official confirmed to CNN Monday.

- Nearly 2,100 escaped prisoners in Egypt have been arrested by security forces, state-run Nile TV reported on Monday.

[Update 2:04 p.m. Cairo, 7:04 a.m. ET] Protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square said Monday that they were organizing a "million man march" around Cairo for Tuesday.

– Demonstrators also told CNN that they are organizing a "million manmarch" in Alexandria, but cannot confirm when they will start.

– Tony Blair, Middle East peace envoy and former British prime minister, told Sky News Monday that the developments in Egypt have "vast implications for the state of Israel, the Palestinians and the state of the peace process." He also said there aren't just two elements – a government that has long been in power and a movement for democracy – in the situation. "There are three elements, because there is also a very strong Islamist movement in Egypt through the Muslim Brotherhood ... I think that the people of Egypt will not elect a Muslim Brotherhood government."

– The Canadian government will begin evacuating its citizens from Egypt as early as Monday using chartered flights bound for Europe, according to the country's foreign affairs minister.

– Following a request from the Thai government, Thai Airways International is preparing for a flight to Cairo to bring back stranded citizens, according to a statement from the company.

– Two flights carrying Israelis from Egypt to Israel landed Monday morning, according to an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman. Another flight wasscheduled to land Monday evening.

– State-run Nile TV reported that police forces were scheduled to startdeploying and resume their duties throughout Egypt on Monday. Police clashed violently with protesters last week and have been virtually absent from the streets since Saturday.

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Filed under: Egypt • Protest
soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. Peace

    What does Islam have to do with this? This is about the Egyptian people and their struggle for freedom and honorable living.

    January 31, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • NRPJIM

      That is a fact. THere is a possiblity that this will end up with another theocracy, but it sure seems like the people of Egypt are having political unrest, trying to better their lives through protest and democracy. Anyone that thinks that is a bad idea is stupid. The more hard working folks that stand up for themselves in Egypt the better! It has noting to do with religion, oil, Isreal or the USA, this is about Freedom....RIGHT ON!

      January 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. K of Houston, TX

    Per my communication with friends and family in Cairo, Mubarak is buying time and moving ahead with new team, which the people are not interersted in it. He is stretching time as much as he can to depleate people's resources, food, momentum, and exhaust them morally (may be starve them too). His team as opened jails and thugs to raid on people's properties, families, ... People are scared even despite they are standing together and taking care of each other. I heard that a new PM named new team, and still not accepted by the people who want complete system removel, not repair. People has every right to their demands as this will give time to current system to perform their normal business, and hide their crimes.
    The critical issue now, is that people might start loosing steam and momentum. The more the issue drag, the more people will loose.

    January 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Justin Observation

    people are worried about crazy Islamic radicals taking over Egypt, so they want to stop the protest and restore the status quo...which is what gave rise to the crazy radical Islamics.

    Beat people and they will turn to anyone that promises to save them... even if those groups really just want to beat them too. Right now it appears the people of Egypt have not yet turned to radical Islamic groups to lead them, but keep beating them and they just might. Right now is decision time for the west. Do nothing and we lose, support the status quo, and we lose. Support freedom and democracy and we just might win. Most world leaders do not appear in favor of freedom and democracy because they fear what "might" happen, how it "might" affect Israel, who the people of Egypt "might" choose as their leader. In other words, freedom and democracy is not wanted in some parts of the world, by those who love how freedom and democracy made their countries great. This is wrong, and it's practice has led to the very things the west does not want... large numbers of oppressed, angry, and desperate people looking for any way out. And the ones who are trying to position themselves as that way out, are radical Islamic groups, because the west is sitting on their thumbs. Not wanting to support freedom, and hoping Mubarak or his cronies can maintain the status quo. Maybe we get another Iran, maybe we get another Saudi Arabia, maybe we get another U.S.A.

    Keep opposing freedom and democracy, and it will likely have the same result as it did with Iran. The West is scared of another Iran, but are doing the same thing they did back then to create one. Luckily they don't have a another Iraq to use like they did back then.

    Does nobody in leadership ever learn from history?

    January 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Soulcatcher

    I hear the next sequel to Fallout 3 is Fallout 3 – Cairo. This is what happens in a post-apocalyptic scenario.

    January 31, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john dahodi

    I mean for America and Israel? It would be much better if we can start preparing our exit form not only Egypt but the entire middle-east, including Israel too. Yes, it looks like our hegemony and Israel's dictate will come to the end very soon. Hope, Obama can read what is written on the WALLS.
    Very soon we will see free, secular and fear free Israel, capital will be Jerusalem.

    January 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    @Dr. Moses, so. 3 hours have passed. Where are those laser weapons? I knew you were just yaking like some of the other blogers, yak yak yak, blah blah blah, Ha!

    January 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. shelbydawkins

    people need to understand that Mubarak did keep the peace in a very important region for quite a while. Apparently Islamic fundamentalists have decided that the time was right to foment discontent with the status quo so that their agenda could be furthered. They islamists not install anything resembling a democratic government but instead will be severing hands and noses at the base of the pyramids in the name of islamic justice.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. freedom

    do your know egypts work for us government and israel when we take out Mubarak... we going to have freedom. and we will get palestine back...............and israel know its what going to happpen now in 10 year. thank your!!

    January 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. F. Thomas Cain

    The over population facing all nations of the world is the root all problems. China is the only nation addressing the very real issue of overpopulation and all the collateral problems associated with overpopulation. You believe in global warming? What causes it? Too many people! The world has a finite amount of resources for a finite number of people! All of the problems facing mankind and the planet are the direct result of overpopulation. As populations explode world wide due to ignorance so will the problems-like war-genocide and mass starvation!! ZERO POPULATION GROWTH must be implemented everywhere!!

    January 31, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mr obama

    "Egypt is where civilization started" brace the history"

    " I Just love how the world is watching , somone needs to assist with aid!!!!! "

    January 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. In America

    The best thing we can do for these people is provide humanitarian aid, stay out of their politics and let them pick a leader they feel best represents their global interests. The only people that posed a threat to our push for self-goverment in this country was the government we were fighting to separate from! If the people of Eygpt want the current leadership out, then the people have spoken. So let it be said, so let it be done.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Name*

    It's high time the U.S. government back true democracy in one of their allies, even if there's a chance someone we don't like ends up running the country. Our "allies" have often been the oppressors of the people anyway. Does anyone remember when Saddam Hussein and Ossama bin Ladin were the Government's creation? No wonder the U.S. is so hated around the world.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scot

      Forgot to post my name.

      January 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xcalibar

      The US is only hated by people of those countries that wish they had the freedom our country has. No matter who is in charge of any country there will always be a group that feel they are oppressed and look to blame thier situation on someone else. Granted, not everyone in other countries have the ability to pick themselves up out of poverty. That is the one area where all civilized countries should be pushing for aid. There is no reason any country including ours should provide aid to countries that as part of their governmental beliefs hold our country in contempt. Egypt was not one of those countries, but it soon will be.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LiveFreeOrDie1776

    When you see Jimmy Carter show up on the scene you'll know the elections are free and fair. ROTFLMAO! Jimmy never met a Marxist caliphate he didn't love. Its all over but for the mushroom cloud.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scot

      Not necessarily. Jimmy Carter's not always wrong, just as you're not always right. Look back at history and ask yourself if the U.S. Government has done a stellar job picking the right people to support? Not so much. Free elections, duly monitored, might be a better option then blind support.

      January 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ahmed Al Majid

    American goverment must understand that supporting this dummy dictator Mubarak is putting her bad credibility into more danager , we all know that American policy is always hypocratic , they must support the change in Eygept, if the officials in America has any morals and care for human beings in the middle east and poor countries have the right to live then it is time now at this moment to change their policy and save American interests in the world and reduce this hatered against US.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xcalibar

      The middle east can fend for themselves. they have taken advantage of America's generosity and now they are crying because we won't support the takeover of a peaceful government by Islamic backed militants. Egypt had an advanced education system, well managed utilities, prosperity and freedom to travel. Watch it detiorate in the next two years as all the infrastructure starts to fail as it is usurped by uneducated fundamentalists. Watch the rest of the modern world turn their back on this country as it demonstrates its economic instability. Tourism will fail, trade will fail, and other countries will shun Egypt's needs. All you have to do is look south to Darfur to see your future. Good Luck

      January 31, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • In America

      I agree with most of what you say. Mubarak is not running our country; the President of Egypt must represent the people of Egypt. He must make positive change in accordance with what the people he is "leading" in the direction they want to go. Watching what has been going on, watching a common accord between the military and the people is refreshing. When armies are called in, it all too often is done when civil unrest demands change and change is not the desired outcome of the leadership. Time after time after time, the people suffer and the leaders are the only ones who benefit. We need to support the ideals that built this country. If the government does not derive its power from the consent from the governed then where tell me does it come from.

      Again Mubarak is not our President; we cannot support him when so many of the governed are calling for his resignation. If he were being attacked and the people raced in to preserve their present government, then the people should still be supported. Majority Rule, the freedom to participate in a government whose true north are its own population is the only way governments have ever so long endured. All governments fall eventually. There is not one in all of history that every remained the same since the day it was brought into being.

      January 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sandi

    I can't wait to see the laser weapons used.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
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