The latest developments, as confirmed by CNN, on the uprising in Egypt. Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Egypt's major cities to demand an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, prompting the government to deploy the military to deal with civil unrest for the first time in a generation. Check out our full coverage and the latest tweets from CNN correspondents on the ground.
[Update 6:22 a.m. Friday in Cairo, 11:22 p.m. Thursday ET] More large anti-government protests are expected Friday in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt, despite Mubarak's announcement late Thursday that he'd delegate his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
[Update 6:20 a.m. Friday in Cairo, 11:20 p.m. Thursday ET] U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement late Thursday that the United Nations "stands ready to assist" in the process of ensuring "genuine and inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders" in order to expedite a "transparent, orderly and peaceful transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people."
[Update 4:29 a.m. in Cairo, 9:29 p.m. ET] - Following Mubarak's Thursday night speech, thousands of demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square have been showing their defiance to his rule by lying down on the streets and sidewalks under blankets for a massive "sleep in." On one wide sidewalk, about a hundred protesters lay next to each other under blankets.
Meanwhile, a group of volunteers were working early Friday to construct makeshift homes and buildings in the square, using plywood and wooden boards. They included shower stalls and bathrooms, activist Sharif Makawi said.
[Update 3:30 a.m. in Cairo, 8:30 p.m. ET] Long a pillar of Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule over Egypt, Omar Suleiman now sits at the top of the pyramid as its de facto president. Read more about Suleiman and his gradual rise to the top.
Brush up on Mubarak's speech here and find Suleiman's speech here.
Update 3:00 a.m. in Cairo, 8:00 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama urged the Egyptian government "to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language" the process that will lead to democracy.
"The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world," he said in a statement. "The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity."
Obama did not call on Mubarak to step down, but he did call for emergency law to be lifted while negotiations continue among the government, opposition parties and civil society on the country's future.
"As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy."
[Update 2:10 a.m. in Cairo, 7:10 p.m. ET] Disappointed. Angry. Frustrated. These are some of the words being used by CNN correspondents to describe the mood among protesters after President Mubarak's speech that designated Vice President Omar Suleiman the de-facto president of Egypt.
"He's playing the same old game. He hasn't done anything new," a protester told CNN's Fred Pleitgen. "Suleiman is the same as Mubarak. And we will keep coming out here each day until he's gone."
Read here for more crowd reaction, plus a roundup of expert opinion and reaction to the speeches, with a look at where the Egypt story goes from here.
[Update 1:56 a.m. in Cairo, 6:56 p.m. ET] An estimated crowd of 1,000 protesters are closing in on Egypt's presidential palace, where a heavy security presence is guarding the palace and several government buildings nearby.
[Update 1:29 a.m. in Cairo, 6:29 p.m. ET] But what about CIA Director Leon Panetta's statement to Congress earlier today that there is a "strong likelihood" that Mubarak might step down?
A U.S. intelligence official tells CNNâ€™s Pam Benson that Panetta was referring to press reports.
"This is not an intelligence failure. The intelligence community has been tracking events in real time, and actions and decisions change in real time," the official said.
During the House Intelligence committee hearing this morning, Panetta responded to a question with this headline-making statement: "As you can see I got the same information you did, which is there is a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening, which would be significant in terms of where the hopefully orderly transition in Egypt takes place."
But about 45 minutes later in the hearing he walked it back when he said, "let me say, just to make very clear here, I received reports that possibly Mubarak might do that, we are continuing to monitor the situation, we have not gotten specific word that he would do that."
[Update 1:08 a.m. in Cairo, 6:08 p.m. ET] Tweet from Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei: Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now.
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, ElBaradei said it's unclear whose side the Army is on. As for Suleiman taking control of the presidency?
"Suleiman is an extension of Mubarak. They are twins," he said. "For the sake of their country, they should go."
[Update 1:00 a.m. in Cairo, 6:00 p.m. ET] Parliamentary speaker Ahmed Fathi Srour tells Nile TV that President Hosni Mubarak's move puts the authority for the day-to-day running of the government in Vice President Omar Suleiman's hands. That would include oversight of the police, the Interior Ministry and other key agencies, control of economic policy and running any negotiations with the opposition.
Srour echoed Mubarak's statement in adding that the constitution specifically prohibits the president from delegating other key powers to the vice president. As a result, power to dismiss parliament or dismiss the government and the power to ask for amendments to the constitution remain in Mubarak's hands, not Suleiman's.
[Update 12:40 a.m. in Cairo, 5:40 p.m. ET] President Hosni Mubarak has transfered all effective powers of the presidency to Vice President Omar Suleiman, making Suleiman the de-facto president of Egypt, the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States said.
"The president did indicate very clearly he was transferring all his presidential authority to the vice president," Sameh Shoukry told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "President Mubarak has transferred the powers of the presidency to his vice president, who will now undertake all authority as president."
That makes Mubarak the de jure head of state, or as a matter of law, and Suleiman, the de-facto head of state and the military, Shoukry said, attributing the information to the Egyptian government. Suleiman has no power to dissolve parliament or to make amendments to the constitution, he said.
[Update 12:25 a.m. in Cairo, 5:25 p.m. ET] CNN's Ivan Watson says you need only look at the network of tents and a makeshift wooden shelter erected in the middle of Tahrir Square for evidence of what people are planning to do next: "These people are not going. 'When he leaves, we leave.' This is just the beginning."
[Update 12:15 a.m. in Cairo, 5:15 p.m. ET] Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered his view on the situation in Egypt Thursday during a visit to the United Nations:
"I think we should not pretend that we are more important for the Egyptian people than their own interests... it's up to the Egyptian people to find their way and to do it according to their own constitution, norms and practices."
[Update 11:58 p.m. in Cairo, 4:58 p.m. ET] Protesters are forming a human chain around the offices of the state-run television after Mubarak's announcement that he will stay in power until September. "The anger is deep, it's profound and widespread," CNN's Ben Wedeman reports of the crowd reaction. Some speculate that the government is trying to provoke strong reaction to justify a crackdown.
[Update 11:38 p.m. in Cairo, 4:38 p.m. ET] Vice President Omar Suleiman says President Hosni Mubarak's speech affirms his commitment to responding to "the demands of the people" and to making the "safety, security and stability" of Egypt a priority above any other consideration.
He also commended the "youth revolution" while urging young people to "go back to your houses, go back to your work, the homeland needs your work." He also told them to ignore the "satellite images" that "mar Egypt" by fomenting revolt.
[Update 11:35 p.m. in Cairo, 4:35 p.m. ET] A recap of the highlights of President Hosni Mubarak's speech:
- Mubarak said he has delegated powers to the vice president "in accordance with the constitution," but did not specify the scope of that power.
- Mubarak said that he will "keep his promise" to leave office after new
elections are held this fall.
- Mubarak announced that he "will not accept or listen to any foreign
interventions or dictations."
- Addressing Egypt's youth, the president vowed that he "will respond to your demands and your voices," and that he has been pained and embarrassed by violence committed against anti-government demonstrators.
[Update 11:30 p.m. in Cairo, 4:30 p.m. ET] The United States' reaction? "Not what we were told would happen, not what we wanted to happen," CNN's John King says, quoting a government official.
[Update 11:20 p.m. in Cairo, 4:20 p.m. ET] Some protesters begin to leave Cairo's Tahrir Square in the direction of the presidential palace, CNN's Ivan Watson reports. Others are heading in the direction of the state-run television station, CNN's Ben Wedeman reports.
[Update 11:05 p.m. in Cairo, 4:05 p.m. ET] "This guy is calling for more rage in the country," a protester in Tahrir Square tells CNN's Fred Pleitgen after Mubarak speaks. "This guy doesn't want to leave in peace."
[Update 11:00 p.m. in Cairo, 4:00 p.m. ET] The crowd in Tahrir Square erupts into roars of "get out" as Mubarak announces he will not step down.
"I will not submit to any international pressures," he says, according to an unofficial translation. "I have preserved my dignity and preserved the peace for Egypt and I have worked hard for the renaissance, I have never tried to have more authority, and I think the majority of people know very well who Hosni Mubarak is, and it hurts my heart when I see and hear from my own colleagues and my own people, but I –I know the juntion that we are facing right now, but I am fully convinced that Egypt will pass these difficult times."
[Update 10:55 p.m. in Cairo, 3:55 p.m. ET] President Hosni Mubarak announces that he "will follow the track of peaceful transition until September." He also said he will hold accountable those who fomented violence against demonstrators during the past two weeks.
[Update 10:50 p.m. in Cairo, 3:50 p.m. ET] "I will not nominate myself for next the presidential election and I will be satisfied with what I have done to the country and the homeland for more than 60 years during years of peace and war," Mubarak says.
[Update 10:45 p.m. in Cairo, 3:45 p.m. ET] "I will respond to your demands and your voices and this is a commitment that cannot be reversed. I am committed to carrying out my promises in all credibility," President Hosni Mubarak says in a televised address, according to an unofficial translation.
[Update 10:25 p.m. in Cairo, 3:25 p.m. ET] Change is in the air and on the airwaves, CNN's Ben Wedeman tweets: "Egypt State TV now reading long list of charges against former NDP business tycoon Ahmed Ezz, Gamal Mubarak's ex-best friend. Unbelievable."
[Update 10:10 p.m. in Cairo, 3:10 p.m. ET] Now trending on Twitter: #Reasonsmubarakislate, which invites people to ponder what's taking so long for Mubarak to make his annoucement.
[Update 10:00 p.m. in Cairo, 3:00 p.m. ET] Jubilant chants of "down, down Hosni Mubarak" fill Tahrir Square as protesters anxiously await a scheduled announcement from the Egyptian president. Many in the square have told CNN's Fred Pleitgen they are confident that "tonight is the night" Mubarak will step down. But other sources tell CNN that Mubarak will not step down.
[Update 9:19 p.m. in Cairo, 2:19 p.m. ET] Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian activist credited with helping to organize the initial protest on January 25, tweets that he is heading to Tahrir Square, where thousands have gathered in anticipation of President Hosni Mubarak's scheduled announcement.
[Update 8:43 p.m. in Cairo, 1:43 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama said Thursday the United States supports an "orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt." He said "a moment of transformation" is taking place in Egypt "because the people of Egypt are calling for change."
[Update 8:40 p.m. in Cairo, 1:40 p.m. ET] If Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak turns over power to a military council, the United States will have to determine legal and diplomatic arrangements for working with a new Egyptian military-led government, a senior U.S. official said. The U.S. military does not work with governments that come to power by military coup, and while there is talk Egypt will be led by some type of military consensus arrangement, this still poses challenges for the Pentagon, the official said.
[Update 8:31 p.m. in Cairo, 1:31 p.m. ET] State TV is running a promo showing protesters shaking hands with the military, saying "Egypt is Changing." Such a favorable depiction of protesters is unprecedented, CNN's Tom Fenton says.
[Update 8:03 p.m. in Cairo, 1:03 p.m. ET] The Egyptian information minister denies that President Hosni Mubarak is stepping down, state TV reported.
[Update 7:49 p.m. in Cairo, 12:49 p.m. ET] The number of people killed in Egyptians' protests against President Hosni Mubarak could be two or even three times higher than previously estimated, a human rights activist on the ground warned Thursday. Human Rights Watch has confirmed about 300 deaths, said Hossam Bahgat of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. But independent researchers have not been able to get information from many places, he said.
[Update 7:31 p.m. in Cairo, 12:24 p.m. ET] President Hosni Mubarak has ended his meeting with Vice President Omar Suleiman and is meeting with Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, Egyptian state TV reports.
Asked about the Egyptian developments, President Obama said, "We're going to have to wait and see what's going on."
[Update 7:24 p.m. in Cairo, 12:24 p.m. ET] The "crowd in Tahrir Square just chanted 'civil, civil, not military!'" CNN's Ivan Watson reported in a Twitter message. That comes amid reports that President Hosni Mubarak may hand over power to the military.
[Update 7:18 p.m. in Cairo, 12:18 p.m. ET] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is meeting with his Vice President Omar Suleiman, Egyptian state TV reported.
[Update 7:14 p.m. in Cairo, 12:14 p.m. ET] President Hosni Mubarak is expected to step down on Thursday night, yielding power to the military, a senior Egyptian government official told CNN's Jill Dougherty.
[Update 7:08 p.m. in Cairo, 12:08 p.m. ET] The senior Egyptian government official who says President Hosni Mubarak is expected to announce that he will transfer power to the military says it's "not a coup in the traditional sense." But the move would take Egypt's government outside "constitutional authority," the official said. The official added that there was a consensus between the government and the military that a political transition was impossible with Mubarak in power.
[Update 6:58 p.m. in Cairo, 11:58 a.m. ET] CIA Director Leon Panetta said Thursday that he assumes Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will hand over more power to Vice President Omar Suleiman. An orderly transition of power and effective government outreach to political opponents "could have a positive effect" on the broader Middle East, Panetta told members of Congress. Panetta noted that U.S. intelligence officials have analyzed the potential impact of a transfer of power in Egypt on Israeli and regional security.
[Update 6:52 p.m. in Cairo, 11:52 ET] CIA Director Leon Panetta said the loyalty of Egypt's military in the political crisis "is now something we have to pay attention to because it is not always one that will respond to what a dictator may or may not want." He said "there is a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening."
[Update 6:37 p.m. in Cairo, 11:37 a.m. ET] President Hosni Mubarak will address the nation Thursday night from the presidential headquarters, Egyptian state TV confirms.
[Update 6:31 p.m. in Cairo, 11:31 a.m. ET] No decision has yet been made on the future of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said, state-run Nile TV reported. Mubarak is still in power, Nile TV quoted Shafiq as saying.
[Update 6:27 p.m. in Cairo, 11:27 a.m. ET] "People in Tahrir Square know exactly that their request has to be achieved not by promises but by action," Houssam Badrawi, the secretary-general of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, told CNN.
[Update 6:17 p.m. in Cairo, 11:17 a.m. ET] A senior U.S. official who said Hosni Mubarak has agreed to yield power to Egypt's vice president also said, "We need to see it happen" and "We are told soon is the plan." The source was speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information.
[Update 6:04 p.m. in Cairo, 11:04 a.m. ET] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has agreed to yield power to his vice president, a senior U.S. official told CNN's John King, citing contacts within the Egyptian government.
[Update 6 p.m. in Cairo, 11 a.m. ET] There is a strong likelihood that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will step down Thursday night, CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress.
[Update 5:58 p.m. in Cairo, 10:58 a.m. ET] Cairo's Tahrir Square is packed and the atmosphere is festive amid talk that President Hosni Mubarak may deliver important remarks to the country later on Thursday.
[Update 5:55 p.m. in Cairo, 10:55 a.m. ET] National Intelligence Director James Clapper defended U.S. intelligence operations in Egypt, telling members of Congress that accurate information has been provided, but "specific triggers" for incidents that will cause a regime to fall cannot always be accurately predicted. "We are not clairvoyant," he said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered condolences to the friends and loved ones of Khairy Ramadan Aly, who went missing on January 28 and has been confirmed dead. Aly was a carpenter for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
[Update 5:48 p.m. in Cairo, 10:48 a.m. ET] Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian activist on leave from his job at Google, said, "Mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians," on Twitter amid signs of possible imminent change in Egypt. Ghonim has been hailed by many fellow protesters as a hero.
[Posted 5:32 p.m. in Cairo, 10:32 a.m. ET] Some of the most senior military officers in Egypt met Thursday to discuss the crisis in that country and plan to meet further to discuss "what can be achieved to preserve the homeland and the gains of the Egyptian people," a spokesman for the Egyptian military said.
The new secretary-general of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party told CNN he expects President Hosni Mubarak will "take the next steps" after amending the constitution. Asked what the next step would be, Houssam Badrawi said "accommodating the demands of the youth" and the "best interests of the country." Badrawi told CNN that the demands of Egypt's protesters had been met. "They won," he said.
- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak plans to transfer his powers as commander in chief of the armed forces to the Egyptian army, Al Hurra TV reported. The Arabic language, U.S.-based channel is financed by the U.S. government.
- Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq formed a five-member fact-finding mission to investigate the uprising, state TV reported.
- Vice President Omar Suleiman said in a statement that the demonstrations organized by the 25th of January movement are "a clear sign of our support and respect to democracy," state TV reported. He said he was misquoted in a TV interview that cited him saying Egypt isn't ready for democracy.
- Protesters calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's ouster toppled barricades near the Abdeen Palace, a Cairo landmark, on Thursday.
- Thousands of anti-government protesters - mostly lawyers and judges - marched in front of Abdeen Palace in Cairo. The crowd was chanting and waving flags, and pumping fists in the air. Chants included, "My God, my God," and "Down with Hosni Mubarak."
- Civil Aviation activities in Egyptian airports went down by 70% over the past two weeks, a government official said Thursday in a statement posted on a state media website.
- Egypt's Finance Minister Samir Hadwan said the nation will "do its utmost best" to ensure that the Suez Canal remains open. "All precautions are taken to prevent any sabotage from outside to the Suez Canal," Hadwan told CNN's AC360. "The Suez Canal is safe and the Egyptian army - I don't talk on their behalf - but I can assure you it will do whatever is in its power to keep that open."
- Thousands of Egyptian workers went on strike Thursday to demand better compensation and transparency in executive salaries, authorities said. The protests included employees in the petroleum, railway and telecommunication industries. About 2,000 workers are on strike in the petroleum sector, said Hamdi Abdel-Aziz, a spokesman for the petroleum ministry.
- Employees of the National Railway Council called for longer contracts, prompting their leaders to meet with them and pledge to extend their contracts. Workers in the steel industry and the government-owned Suez Canal Port Authority are demanding better salaries as well, state-run al-Ahram newspaper said.
This is no different than if the U.S. president was unable to perform his duties b/c he was down with the flu, the VP takes over. But in order to prevent coup attempts in such a case the VP (in egypt anyway) has limited powers. But as soon as it is deemed the President (Mubarak) is "able to perform his duties" the power goes back to him.
All they're doing is using something similar to how the VP office works in emergencies in america. It's as if Mubarak "can't rule" (right now) b/c of the protests so he's turning power over to the VP, but as soon as things clear up... it all
reverts to him just like it would when the US prez got over the flu.
Mubarak is playing a game he gives powers to VP who will end up Attacking his own people. Then Mubarak will come to his peoples Rescue like some kind of Hero it's very sick but just wait... Talk about Ego
Hey Mike if the Suez Canel closes down your going to have to worry more about how we are going to afford the cost of bread, milk and well... anything else that is transported in gas consuming vehicles.
Without having a referendum, there's no way of knowing how many Egyptian citizens actually want him out. A tiny minority is protesting in the streets. That is not good enough reason to resign.
Burn down your city it will make everything better!!!
Reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live sketch with John Belushi....The Thing That Wouldn't Leave!!!!
Really like the support here... I know it's dragging out but this is a HUGE deal. One of the leading powers in the Middle East, great oil supplier, and most importantly, a chance for democracy to spring up in an area riddled with corrupt dictators. As soon as the neighboring countries see the Egyptian people legitimately voting for leaders and having actual rights, more revolutions will be quick to follow. This could be the end of dictators in the Middle East!
The man is a selfish fool, who thinks ruling his people for the past 30 years is his God's given right. America it good to be friendly with other nations around the world, but it also good to tell your friends after they have ruled their people for over eight years that it is time to go and don't do it by given them billions and billions of dollars in aide. Those of us who think this is Obama's problem are wrong it is not a political issue, because both the Republican and Democatic leaders are guilty of supporting dictators around the world.
Whoaaa! Pineta got duped; Al Jazeera got duped; Wolfe got duped; I did, everybody got duped by the "super-duper"! The Egyptian Ampassador to U.S. says Mubarak has no power! REALLY! EVERYBODY is forgetting that Mubarak is a dictator; a super-duper dictator! Shame on all of us for believing anything the man says. I wonder if Pineta will have a job tomorrow....he made Pres. Obama look stupid!
i think if Mubarak leaves his place this whole Egyptian thing would be over along time ago...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darn, now the United States will have to resign Mubarak.
Dear Egyptian People,
May God bless you in your struggle to bring freedom and dignity to your people and your country. You have earned the love and respect of people from all over the world except those of the tyrants and the imperialist rulers. In this critical juncture, keep up your struggle with non-violenece and civil disobedience. God Willing, success is written for you. You are in our prayers.
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always. "
Mubareck came out... saw his shadow and went back in... 6 more weeks of rock throwing.
Mubarek is very astute. Leave now and the rabble rousers take control, the army takes control and chaos ensues. These countries, Egypt included, don't know anything about a smooth transition of power.
HEY WOLFE, EGYPT IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE AND GUESS WHAT? BREAKING NEWS: MUBARAK STILL HAS ALL THE POWER.
I'm totally for the people...anywhere, anytime. But......there is this little nagging thing that won't leave me....Do we want to risk Egypt's military in the hands of an Iranian-style Khomeini figure? How about a Bin Laden type? This is the stuff nightmares are made of. Darn, I hate to be a hypocrite, but I've got to be realistic. That military has some "good stuff." Good training etc. Scary scenario if things go a little anti-US. Hey, I'm American, of course I'm pro-US. But the hypocrite thing bothers me.