Egypt crisis: Obama downplays fears of Muslim Brotherhood
On Sunday, an anti-Mubarak protester sleeps in a burnt out van that makes up part of the barricade that protects Tahrir Square.
February 6th, 2011
01:05 PM ET

Egypt crisis: Obama downplays fears of Muslim Brotherhood

Read full coverage and examine a timeline of the unrest in Egypt updated continually by CNN reporters worldwide. Send your photos and video to iReport and see CNN in Arabic here. See also this strong roundup of timely, insightful views on the wave of upheaval in the Arab world.

[Update 1:48 a.m. Cairo, 6:48 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama downplays  the prospect of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has voiced opposition to the United States, ascending to power in Egypt once its president, Hosni Mubarak, leaves office.  "They don't have majority support in Egypt, but they are well-organized," Obama tells Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on Sunday.

[Update 1:25 a.m. Cairo, 6:25 p.m. ET] Former ABC News journalist Sam Donaldson on Sunday stood by recent compliments he gave to Al-Jazeera regarding its coverage of the Egypt protests, telling CNN's Howard Kurtz that the network did "a service in fanning the flames in Egypt."

[Update 12:37 a.m. Cairo, 5:35 p.m. ET] The U.S. State Department  issues an updated travel warning for Egypt, continuing to recommend U.S. citizens make every effort to leave the North African country. It also adds the U.S. government is not planning additional charter trips. Read the full advisory here.

[Update 12:20 a.m. Cairo, 5:20 p.m. ET] A U.S. State Department release on Sunday says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke Saturday night with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. During that meeting, Clinton stressed that a "broad cross-section of political actors and civil society" should be part of the government's transformation process.

[Update 12:14 a.m. Cairo, 5:14 p.m. ET] State-run Nile TV reports that Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq called the network to announce that Google executive Wael Ghonim, missing for more than a week, will be released Monday.

[Update 8 p.m. Cairo, 1 p.m. ET] Multiple bursts of automatic gunfire - apparently warning shots - could be heard in Tahrir Square near the Egyptian Museum. The incident marked an escalation of tempers between the military and protesters. After the army fired the warning shots, hundreds of protesters surrounded the military positions in the square, CNN's Ivan Watson reported.

[Update 6:58 p.m. Cairo, 11:58 a.m. ET] Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said authorities have been told "not to bother" human rights activists and journalists working at anti-government protests. If there have been such problems, they are "not intended," Shafiq told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday. Arrests of journalists and human rights activists "are not allowed at all," he said.

[Update 5:40 p.m. Cairo, 10:37 a.m. ET] Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the United States cannot "micromanage the process" in Egypt, but that the Obama administration needs to make its goals clear. "Arriving at a Democratic solution is important, which is in fact inclusive, Democratic, peaceful and rapid," Albright said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

[Update 5:10 p.m. Cairo, 10:07 a.m. ET] Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said that the situation in Egypt remains in a standoff as long as President Hosni Mubarak refuses to leave. "I hope somebody will send a message, I don't know in which way, to President Mubarak that for the sake of the country, for his own dignity, to defuse this crisis, he better step down," ElBaradei told CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS." Watch Zakaria's take on whether Egypt is a revolution or a revolt.

"Everybody is ready to give him the dignified out he is entitled to as a former president of Egypt," ElBaradei told Zakaria.

- During his CNN interview Sunday, ElBaradei also said he would refuse to meet with the Egyptan government unless Mubarak steps down. Other oppositions groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have meet with the government. ElBaradei said the Egyptian people are getting confusing messages about whether Mubarak should leave office, referring to a U.S. envoy's comments that Mubarak must stay in place during a transition of power and the Obama administration saying he should leave soon.

[Update 3:09 p.m. Cairo, 8:09 a.m. ET] Some banks in Egypt have opened and it's now the start of the work week in Egypt. Banks had been closed for days during protests. Meanwhile, the mood in Tahrir Square, the site of pro-Hosni Mubarak and anti-Hosni Mubarak clashes last week, was festive and peaceful as Christians and Muslims held hands and sang. The gathering appears to be strong as people continue to push for Mubarak to leave office.

[Update 11:46 a.m. Cairo, 4:46 a.m. ET]It is a "huge mistake" for Egypt to shut down the internet or use violence against protesters, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday.

Some banks in Egypt were open Sunday, according to the country's minister of finance. Some banks opened as early as 8:30 a.m. local time.  Banks have been closed in recent days amid anti-government protests.

[Update 10:00 a.m. in Cairo, 3:00 a.m. ET] Egyptian Coptic Christians are expected to gather at Tahrir square to pray for those who have lost their lives since the protests started. Muslim protesters said they will form a ring around the Christians to protect them during the service.

The Muslim Brotherhood said it will meet with the country's vice president, days after the group said it would not negotiate until President Hosni Mubarak leaves office.

Opposition activists formed a human chain outside one of the entrances to Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday to prevent two Egyptian military tanks from crossing through barricades into what has effectively become an anti-Mubarak enclave.

The death toll from the violent clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square has reached 11, Egypt's Health Ministry has said. Nearly 1,000 people have been injured in clashes in Tahrir Square.

The U.S. Embassy in Egypt issued a statement indicating that several embassy vehicles were stolen in Cairo on January 28. The statement was in response to an online video that showed a white diplomatic van running into anti-government protesters near Tahrir Square.

Members of the general secretariat of Egypt's National Democratic Party submitted their resignations, Egyptian state television reported.

Among those submitting their resignations from leadership positions in Egypt's National Democratic Party were Gamal Mubarak, Mubarak's son, state television reported.

The head of the Egyptian stock market told the nation's official news agency that it has canceled a decision to reopen the stock market on Monday. The markets remain closed for now.

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Filed under: Egypt • Protest
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. abdullah

    Your comments are so theoretical. The actions of people of Egypt, and the protest in Liberation Square stem from 30 years of a military dictatorship, which never allowed the people a say in how they are goverened.

    Through those 30 years of terror and abuse by Mubarak and his regime, the Egyptian people could not protest or complain about the government for fear of being beaten, or locked up in prison, where Mubarak's prisons were notorious torture chambers.

    The hatred that the people of Egypt feel for Mubarak is visceral. They have held their hate inside of themselves all of these years. Now that they can release their feelings and express their pent up rage and hate for Mubarak and his regime, they want Mubarak to step down and leave Egypt. There is just that much hate for Mubarak.

    Dictator Mubarak, propped up by the military, is so out of touch with the people of Egypt that he did not realize how much hatred the people of Egypt held toward him.

    This is not theory or some intellectural expose. It is real and it is what is taking place in the streets of Egypt. Right now, jobs, housing, all of the things that you wirte about, are secondary to expunging Mubarak from the collective body of the Egyptian people. The things you speak of – jobs, housing etc, will come about after the people win their freedom from the dictator Hosni Mubarak.

    The people of Egypt are resilient and will make a future for themselves without Mubarak and his oppressive regime.

    (The first post inadvertently mispelled Barak for Mubarak)

    February 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tomas

    Freedom To Egypt! Days of puppet regimes are over. Give the people their rights Now! Mr. Mubarak, leave as they demand!!!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tomas

    @ lazarus: sad you think of islam like that. Whose history book u read to have come up with such conclusion, anti-islamic western history? Quit listening to media and teaparty republicans. They all the same aiming at keeping u an idiot fool! On the other hand, it is us who are trully behind the unrest in the arab world. Planting mubarak kind of democracy where the people has lost the voices at the expense of resources we take through corrupt dictators we call allies! Wake up before they take your own balls by time u see realities!!!

    February 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. yodler

    Yes lets give Egypt their freedom...
    Freedom to fail, we here in 'Amerikkka' could surely find somewhere else to spend our cash that we currently send to Egypt.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. tammy

    and it seems that Lazarus has forgotten the people murdered in the Dark Ages in the name of Christianity

    February 7, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Bimbombay

      Since you know about that why don't you tell u s about it. Most of probably never heard about it. So do tell us about the dark ages.. who, what, where , when, how .. how many, the end result or consequences. Tell us.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tomas

    @lazarus: are u drinking too much the masaged news media? Easy on yourself boy, save your best for when u travel out for an adventure of enlightment wakening! The grass is green than u know out there, so slowdown pls!

    February 7, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. colt

    Egypt is NOT our problem. Let them figure it out.

    February 7, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. ayman alexandria

    freeeeeeeeeedom for egypt.where we had 30 years of bad life under poor line .so we need this freedom for our new generation.we hope that all countries shall be with us to have agood life.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. Floria sigmundi

    This was so scary to watch!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kJGachsPnk

    February 7, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bimbombay

    In one way I do not care if all of Egypt is washed away by a Nile flood .. or if they join the Moslem Brotherhood and get even nuttier than they have been over the past 50 years. In another way I think the sooner all of this happens the sooner they can have their Islamic heaven-on-earth and (demise) anyone they don't like from Morocco to Indonesia. They have "taken" France and Holland and much of the Balkans. They have take over many former Soviet states ..so go ahead and get it one and then we can have at it.

    February 7, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tomas

    @deedee: the blame is put where it belongs – mubarak. If he goes, the us is gona have an uphill battles to face economically. Mubarak and the suadi king are two of entrance to our bases both in africa and the middle eastern regions. Can u think what will happen as a result of the world being free? GREATEST RECESSION THE WEST HAS EVER KNOWN! OBAMA IS PLAYING SMART POLITICS BEHIND THE SCENE TO PREVENT SUCH DOOM AS DOES HIS FRIENDS TO KEEP BUSINESS AS USUAL!

    February 7, 2011 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      Well said,Tomas. You know where it's at. Thank you.

      February 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. samad Khan

    Hi,

    everybody it would be nice that you think before you share or comment on any issue specially when you talk about religion, you should think deeply who made you civilized who thought you the ways of lives, who showed you the humanity rule and brother hood, before Islam see the world you will sham on you life that this was the price of human,
    other issue Egyptian want democracy and it is the right of everyone, if you have good suggestion just share if you don't have anything must be quite in order to save lives of million Egyptian.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. tilmeismoney

    GUILLOTINE

    February 7, 2011 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Markey Marshall

    What's scaring the daylights out of Barack Obama right now is the prospect of losing control of Egypt. If his puppet Mubarak is forced out,that becomes a distinct possibility and that he doesnt want!!!

    February 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      All the right-wing thugs in Washington feel that way,Markey.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. beezo

    Omg u ppl with your 20min post need to stfu already

    February 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
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