Opposition parties called for Feb. 4 to be a "Day of Departure" earlier this week, AllVoices reports. The plan: to come together in massive numbers and in one voice demand President Hosni Mubarak to step down once and for all.
An Al Jazeera analyst said the goal was clear: "The idea is to send a message, and have the largest amount of people participate."
Protesters demanding Mubarak's ouster packed Cairo's central square in huge numbers Friday, waving Egyptian flags, singing the national anthem and cheering, appearing undaunted and determined after their camp withstood two days of street battles with regime supporters trying to dislodge them.
Thousands more flowed over bridges across the Nile into Tahrir Square, a sign that they were not intimidated after fending off everything thrown at the protesters by pro-Mubarak attackers -- stones, firebombs, fighters on horses and camels and automatic gunfire. The protesters passed through a series of beefed-up checkpoints by the military and the protesters themselves guarding the square.
The crowd, well over 10,000, was the biggest since Tuesday, when a quarter-million turned out. They chanted, prayed and unfurled a long banner in the national colors of red, black and white. A man sitting in a wheelchair was lifted -- wheelchair and all -- over the heads of the crowd and he pumped his arms in the air.
Egyptian Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi and senior army officials visited the square Friday morning and soldiers were checking IDs and performing body searches at its entrances, a sign that Egypt's most powerful institution was sanctioning the demonstration.
The New York Times reports that live video feeds were cut off in the square Thursday evening and numerous journalists have been attacked and detained, so it's not clear how well the media will be able to report Friday's happenings.
Coinciding with "Day of Departure" events in Egypt, a demonstration is planned for Feb. 4 in New York City's Times Square, beginning at 3:30 p.m. local time. Meanwhile, a "Day of Rage" is planned in Syria for Feb. 4, with major protests in the capital city of Damascus.
The Obama administration said it was in talks with top Egyptian officials about the possibility of Mubarak immediately resigning, and an interim government forming before free and fair elections this year.
U.S. officials said the creation of a military-backed caretaker government was one of several ideas being discussed between the Egyptian regime and the Obama administration. The American officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the continuing sensitive talks.
Among the options was a proposal for Mubarak to resign immediately and cede power to a transitional government run by Vice President Omar Suleiman, the officials said.
For more background, see our Egypt revolution guide.
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02/14/2011 4:24 PM EST
Somali Preacher Urges Egypt-Style RevoltAhram Online reports:
A spiritual leader of Somalia's Islamist Shebab rebels called for popular Egypt- and Tunisia-style revolts to topple the government.
Sheikh Jama Abdusalam said such uprisings would rid the war-wracked country of a government that he accused of serving Western interests.
"I am urging the people to carry out Egyptian- and Tunisian-style uprisings in Somalia," Abdusalam told Alfurqaan Radio, a Shebab mouthpiece.
Read more here.
02/14/2011 4:21 PM EST
Clinton To Egyptians 'Don't Let Anyone Hijack The Process'
|@ AlArabiya_Eng : Clinton to Alarabiya: I say to egyptians: don't let anyone hijack the process #alarabiya #Iran #Egypt #clinton|
02/14/2011 4:20 PM EST
Egypt Summary: Today's Events
Egypt's military rulers called for an end to strikes and protests Monday as thousands of state employees, from ambulance drivers to police and transport workers, demonstrated to demand better pay in a growing wave of labor unrest unleashed by the democracy uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak's regime.
The statement by the ruling military council that took power from Mubarak appeared to be a final warning to protest organizers in labor and professional unions before the army intervenes and imposes an outright ban on gatherings, strikes and sit-ins.
Soldiers cleared out almost all the remaining demonstrators from Cairo's Tahrir Square, the giant traffic circle that was turned into a protest camp headquarters for the 18-day revolt. During more than two weeks of round-the-clock demonstrations at the square, protesters set up tents, brought in blankets, operated medical clinics and festooned the entire plaza with giant banners demanding removal of the regime.
Read more here.
02/14/2011 3:51 PM EST
'Rumors' Of More Deaths In BahrainThe Guardian reports:
There are rumours – and let us stress, just rumours at this point – of more deaths in Bahrain following today's protests.
02/14/2011 3:48 PM EST
France Asked To Freeze Assets Of Egypt Officials
|@ felix85 : France says Egypt asks it to freeze possible assets of ex-officials, adding to UK and Germany already today|
02/14/2011 2:59 PM EST
Yemen Protests Continue After Concessions By Regime
Ahram Online reports:
A crowd of about 3,000 protesters, mainly lawyers and students, tried to march from Sanaa University to Al-Tahrir square in the city centre, where [Yemen President] Saleh's supporters have been camped since last week, but were prevented by security forces who erected barbed wire, witnesses reported.
In a move to manage the situation President Saleh halted constitutional procedures which may have allowed him to assume the presidency for life, and possibly pave the way for his son, the chief of the Republican Guard, to succeed him.
02/14/2011 2:50 PM EST
Protester In Bahrain Reported Killed By Security Forces
The Guardian reports:
A major development in Bahrain where there are reports that one person has been killed by security forces during a protest:
According to sources in the hospital, and confirmed by Nabeel Rajab from a Bahraini human rights organisation, Ali Abdulhadi al-Mushaima, 27, was shot in the back with live ammunition. Protesters are incensed.
02/14/2011 2:43 PM EST
Dozens Of Iran Protest Clips On YouTube
|@ thelede : Live Update: Dozens of Iran Protest Clips on YouTube http://nyti.ms/dG1C5M #Egypt #Bahrain #Iran|
02/14/2011 2:42 PM EST
Egypt’s Ruling Generals Meet With Opposition
The New York Times reports:
Two generals sat down Sunday night to talk about their country’s future with seven of the revolution’s young organizers — including the Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim — and the young activists posted their notes on the meeting directly to the Internet for the Egyptian public to see.
“We all sensed a sincere desire to preserve the gains of the revolution and unprecedented respect for the right of young people to express their views,” two of the young organizers, Mr. Ghonim and Amr Salama, wrote in their Facebook posting, with the disclaimer that they were speaking only for themselves. They noted that the generals spoke without any of the usual “parental tone (you do not know what is good for you, son),” and called the encounter “the first time an Egyptian official sat down to listen more than speak.”
Read more here.