62 people have been killed in the protests in Egypt, according to the Associated Press; other reports via Al-Jazeera say that almost 100 have been killed (see The Times of London and the Frankfurter Allgemeine). The unrest continues for a fifth day with some 50,000 gathering in Cairo. Protesters are ignoring a curfew issued by President Hosni Mubarak, the BBC reports. Residents in Cairo are boarding up their homes and setting up neighborhood watches as ‘”looting has engulfed the capital,”‘ with reports of gangs breaking into stores and shopping malls and into affluent areas in the suburbs. NileTV is reporting that the headquarters of Egypt’s ruling NDP party in Cairo has been burned and ransacked by demonstrators (see video below).
Mubarak has so far refused to step down. Today he announced that his chief intelligence officer, 74-year-old Omar Suleiman, will be his new vice-president. Suleiman will be Mubarak’s first-ever vice president and his appointment is seen as a sign that Mubarak is preparing to hand over power.
Vodafone reports that mobile service started to resume across Cairo today after it was shut down yesterday. 1,500 to 2,000 people—half tourists and half Egyptians—are crowding Cairo International Airport, according to the Associated Press, but Western carriers are canceling, delaying, or suspending service. One British airline turned around a Cairo-bound plane in mid-flight. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Jordan have arranged flights to take their nationals and families of diplomats out of Egypt. The United States has issued warnings to US citizens, ‘urging them to cancel nonessential travel to Cairo and to remain indoors and away from flashpoint areas if they were already in the country,’
Egyptian state reports that looters broke into the Egyptian Museum during Friday night’s protests and destroyed two ancient mummies, says the Guardian. The museum is located in central Cairo and has the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities; it is adjacent to the headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling party, which protesters set on fire on Friday.
The Atlantic has obtained copies of the Egyptian activists’ action plan from two separate sources. These have been translated by someone over Twitter. Noting that ‘nothing in these pages …. goes beyond standard advice and broad political statements,’ nine pages of the 26-page pamphlet can be viewed here. The excerpts contain instructions about how one can equip myself for a civil disobedience protests against riot police. Comments the The Atlantic in an update:
Update 9:32am: A refinement of the document’s translation has been made. Meanwhile, the Internet remains shut off in Egypt as protesters across the country clash with security forces wielding large amounts of tear gas and powerful water cannons. While the Internet remains shut off, @Jan25Voices is tweeting updates from phone calls with Egyptians. Al Jazeera English is providing excellent coverage from the ground.
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Photo by M. Soli.