**4.16am** Upon watching the Al Jazeera coverage today, I can't help but notice that the Al Jazeera anchors and reporters seem to be using incendiary language in their descriptions, almost as if they were designed to inflame opinion. I can't help but wonder what they are saying, and how they are saying it, in Arabic. It's something to consider keeping an eye on. I bring this up because yesterday, the anchors didn't refrain from mocking Obama's Press Secretary while he was giving a presser yesterday and even mocked Obama, and there were two occasions were an anchor accidentally called Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian President, Barak Obama.
As things stand now, it looks like the Egyptian protests will continue today (Saturday) and it will be interesting to see how things unfold, and if the Egyptian military forces side with the government or the protesters.
After the protests in Tunisia successfully toppled the government and forced the President to flee to Saudi Arabia [Wikipedia], similar events have begun in Egypt.
The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.
On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.
The secret document in fullHe has already been arrested by Egyptian security in connection with the demonstrations and his identity is being protected by The Daily Telegraph.
Source: The Telegraph
I spent a few hours yesterday watching the riots unfold via the Al Jazeera livestream, reading their liveblog, reading tweets from Egyptians and others in the area. The rioters seemed to make a clear distinction in how they respected the military as opposed to the police forces. When Army Troops were introduced into the streets, they were often (not always) welcomed with cheers and escorted by mobs through to their destination. I saw several instances where rioters climbed onto tanks and armored personnel carriers and hitched rides. The police, however, were met with rocks and Molotov Cocktails.
The Egyptian government used its Internet Kill Switch (similar to what Obama has been seeking) in an attempt to deny rioters the means to organize. The above graphic shows the precipitous drop in Internet traffic when that was accomplished. All cell phone providers were also instructed to suspend cell phone service in Egypt. I note that most of the organizing activity for these riots were taking place in and near the mosques before and after prayers.
Here are a few videos to give you a taste of how things went yesterday...
In this clip, reported to be from Wednesday, and records a protest that took place in the 'Gamal Abd El Nassar' station and was posted to Ahmed Ajjur's blog, which includes instructions for Egyptians to circumvent the attempts of the Egyptian government to shut down Internet access to the protesters.
This is the first video uploaded to the Al Jazeera You Tube Account from their live coverage. In this clip, police fire barrages of tear gas at protesters gathered in front of the high-end Ramses Hilton hotel.
In this clip, rioters in Suez light several fires during their protests calling for an end to Mubarak's 30 year Presidency.
In this clip, police in Cairo use tear gas to disperse mobs of protesters.
In this clip, Police hold their fire while protesters perform their evening prayers. Praying five times a time at prescribed times is one of the five pillars of Islam.
In this clip, Protesters welcome the introduction of Egyptian military assets into the streets of Cairo.
Reactions to the protests and riots are varied. The Iranian government is hopeful that the riots across the Middle East result in pro-Western governments being toppled and replaced with hard line Islamic governments that will be friendly to Iran and less friendly to Israel and the United States. See article in the New York Times.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has responded by dismissing his top government ministers and has called for the formation of a new government...with him still as President.
Here are the latest updates to the Liveblog being run by Al Jazeera as I prepared this post (all times are local):
6:48 am Japan upgraded its security warning for Egypt on Saturday, advising travellers to Egypt to postpone journeys.
Here are snippets of how the events in egypt are being reported around the Arab world:
"It seems more appropriate that Egyptian officials fulfill the people's demands and avoid violence caused by military and security officials against this popular uprising," an informed source with the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
Egypt's popular uprising is based on the religious teachings and vigilance of the Muslims in the Middle East region, the source added.
This uprising aims to return Egypt to its original place in the regional and international political scenes, the source said.
"The Egyptian people deserve higher and more influential status" in the Middle East and the Muslim world, the source added.
The Egyptian government has cut all cell phone and Internet services amid anti-government demonstrations that began after the Friday prayers.
The army was brought in and military vehicles could be seen on the streets of the capital following violent clashes between police and protesters.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei was among top opposition figures who attended the rally.
From Al Arabiya
This is from Al Hayat in Beirut: