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What’s Happening in Egypt

What’s Happening in Egypt

Needless to say, quite a lot. Here’s a rundown of events from over the weekend, and some of the issues the protests in Egypt have given rise to:

On Sunday, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate who had been under house arrest, led a defied a government curfew and joined thousands of protesters in Liberation Square. Tens of thousands of protesters continue to gather in the Square today; the army, it’s reported, has said that it will not fire on them. Tomorrow, Tuesday the 1st of February—which will be the eighth day of the demonstrations—protesters are planning a ‘March of Million,’ today’s New York Times reports. 

President Hosni Mubarak is struggling to stay in power. He has reportedly closed down not only the internet but banks, schools, universities, courts, and trains. While police have withdrawn from the major cities on Saturday, the word is that they are returning to the streets. 

As ThinkProgress’s Zaid Jilani writes, former US officials and foreign policy scholars are calling on President Obama to withdrawn aid from Egypt. He writes that today

the Egypt Working Group — “A bipartisan group of former U.S. officials and foreign policy scholars” that includes CAP’s Brian Katulis — released a statement calling on President Obama to suspend military and economic aid to Egypt until the government endorses free and fair elections and ends its crackdown on civil liberties and civil rights.

Care2′s David Shorr writes about the ‘tricky dilemmas’ the protests in Egypt carry for Obama:

Not only does this year mark the 30th anniversary of Hosni Mubarak assuming power, but for slightly longer than that, Egypt has been the most significant Arab country to have a peace agreement with Israel. The $2 billion aid package America gives Egypt each year is, in essence, compensation for being a key ally in the region. That makes it hard for the United States to unceremoniously chuck Mubarak overboard.

In that context, the Obama administration’s stern calls for Mubarak to make good on his promises of reform is hardly the warm embrace of a friend. 

The Obama administration is saying, David writes, that ‘it’s time for the process of finding his successor to begin.’

A government crackdown on the media continues: On Sunday, the government shut down satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian bureau.  Al-Jazeera’s reports had been reporting in Arabic and English, from Cairo, Suez and Alexandria, around the clock. Audiences across the Arab world had been ‘riveted by the unfolding drama on the satellite channel, popular precisely because it is so different from the normal run of self-censoring state media.’ Today, Egyptian authorities arrested six Al-Jazeera journalists. All were released after being detained for one hour but their cameras and other equipment remains in the possession of the police. Protesters have set up two huge screens in Tahrir Square in Cairo, so they can continue to watch Al-Jazeera. 

The US has begun to evacuate Americans out of Cairo, where some 90,000 Americans works and live. The State Department has authorized the ‘voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees.’ 

Previous Care2 coverage 

Packing Light — Obama Tries to Lighten the Baggage of US-Egypt Relations

Former U.S. Officials And Foreign Policy Scholars Call On Obama To Suspend Aid To Egypt

Egyptian Museum Damaged, Statues Of Tutankhamun Stolen & Recovered [VIDEO]

Fifth Day of Protests in Egypt: Chaos, Curfews Ignored, Looting [VIDEO] 

Cairo Protests Continue: Fires Burning In The Streets (Video)  

Egypt Goes Off The Electronic Grid

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Photo by Al Jazeera English

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29 comments

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8:08AM PST on Feb 6, 2011

Another Jew against another Pharaoh and all other dictators from Cairo to the corporate boardrooms and from Wall Street to Main Street.

Mubarak and his thuggish cronies must go!

3:42PM PST on Feb 3, 2011

Awesome effort in Egypt! Mubarak must go.

3:32PM PST on Feb 3, 2011

Thanks! Pray for peace.

5:54PM PST on Feb 2, 2011

Call #Obama urge #Mubarak step down IMMEDIATELY. Cut off funds to this dictator 100% 1-202-456-1111 #Egyptians #Egypt

Retweet above msg.

3:47AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

The Egyptian people seem to be on the right track ... methinks they are the best ones to determine their future ...
Lloyd H has summed it up perfectly ... Without all the "aid" Mubarak received, I wonder just how long he and his tyrannical regime would have lasted ....

4:53PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

I SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE THIS IS THEIR COUNTRY. I TRUST THEY WILL GET IT RIGHT.

3:54PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

interesting times. We can't expect to convert Egypt to our type of democracy (which is enjoying less and less freedoms each day). We will have to accept what the people of Egypt want. It's their country. CIA stay out, McDonald's stay out, Walmart stay out, and stop itching to send loads of missionaries to convert the masses to "our" (???) idea of religion that we think they need to have.

1:58PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

Thanks for keeping us posted Kristina!

1:37PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

I wish Egyptian people all the best in these testing times.

The MAD DOG must go, he has done nothing for anyone except himself.

GOOD LUCK AND KEEP GOING >>>>>

1:26PM PST on Feb 1, 2011

thanks for keeping us in the loop, Care2

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