Yes, I saw that too and assumed it was in reference to the Tunisian demonstrations. I admit I was also surprised to see some of the Tunisian signs in English. Looking for a worldwide audience, I guess.
I am aware, as you might expect, of the demonstrations in Cairo. It does seem that they've blocked cell phone signals in the centre of town and possibly twitter. Though I am a bit dubious that that is correct. I do know there are a couple of people we've been trying to contact via cell phone who live 'Downtown' and we're unable to do so, it's not as if it's ringing, there is just no connection.
I have been following this as we've been having dinner at an Egyptian friends place this evening. It seems there have been three deaths of which two in Alexandria and one, a Policeman hit by a stone, in Cairo. I need to take my wife to work in the centre early tomorrow morning - but I'll see what the situation is early on and plan accordingly. If the worst comes to the worst, I'm only ten minutes away from the airport. But I don't expect at all that that will be necessary.
I can get the Twitter feed through Google but a lot of it at the moment is just repetition of previous events. The demonstrators want to stay in town all night and start off again tomorrow. They are also calling for a national strike with all the schools closed as well. Quite how successful that'll be, I don't know. Anyway, I'm off to bed now.
Egyptian police have clashed with anti-government demonstrators as thousands took to the streets demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's decades-old rule.
In Cairo, police fired tear gas and used water cannons on rock-throwing demonstrators Tuesday. At one point, demonstrators climbed on top of an armored police vehicle. Another protest erupted in Alexandria, where demonstrators shouted anti-Mubarak slogans.
The protests, reported by foreign media to be Egypt's largest in years, began peacefully.
Egyptians have been calling for political and economic reforms in protests inspired by demonstrations in Tunisia that led to the ouster of that country's president this month. The rallies are taking place in spite of government warnings that demonstrators could be arrested.
The rallies were promoted online by groups that say they speak for young Egyptians frustrated with the kind of poverty and oppression that triggered Tunisia's unrest.
Activists from Egypt's Kifaya movement, a coalition of government opponents, and the 6th of April Youth Movement, organized the protests on the Facebook and Twitter social networking websites.
Legal parties such as the liberal Wafd, as well as the banned Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best organized opposition group, have not formally endorsed the demonstrations, but said some of their members would take part.
Egypt has always been of interest to me since my father was there in 1972 for 6 months of UN duty. When he came home he had many interesting reports about life there. Since then I have always listented to any news coming from there with interest.
I was surprised how quickly and how successfully the younger population of Tunisia orchestrated an uprising via Twitter and Facebook. I would have thought such a bold manoveur as this would have required face to face communication to convince masses of people to agree on something of that magnitude. They took a big chance in beliving in one another to actually physically join the demonstrations in person. What if 50% of the people on their Facebook and Twitter decided they actually could not take part fearing punishment?
I will be interested to see the reports and the numbers that showed for the demonstrations in Egypt. I was sad to read of deaths in regards to this though. Mich
"Dégage" is a bit stronger than just "get out!" because it is in the familiar and therefore insulting form (rather than "dégagez!"), indicating that Moubarak is not deserving of respect.
I'm warming to the utility of the familiar/formal distinction in Romance languages, it really does lend a whole range of potential nuance. Particularly in maledictory usage. I'm getting sold on the common use of the subjunctive for similar reasons, it adds range.
Can someone please explain the utility of gender now?
Reports this morning are that everyone has been dispersed around 1am and the centre is quiet. It's coming up to 6.30am her now so it's still a bit early for everyone to come back and kick it off again. I'll just have to see how it goes. It seems two of the deaths were in Suez and not Alexandria, as I stated. It just goes to show how facts get twisted as I had that info from a news site. Anyway, with the high illiteracy here and the lack of internet to the common man I doubt there can be such a high organisation of people as in Tunisia.
"Fled" is possibly the wrong word. Too emotive. If the father disappears off then we know it's serious. Just because the son isn't here, even though he's supposed to be the successor, doesn't mean too much for now. I was aware of this last night and the usage of the word 'fled' but as with everything, there's more to it than meets the eye. No-one here treats it as anything other than spin on the real reason he might be there (whatever that is for now).
I'm aware calls are being made for more protests in the city centre, but in typical Egyptian fashion, a 9am start was asked for and nothing is really happening straight away (now 10.20am). This has now been put back to noon.
One other thing, the government announced last night an increase in fuel subsidies due to rising world prices (important as also includes cooking gas which we virtually all use) and a reassurance that food subsidies will not be affected. The cynic in me says that most locals are happy enough with whoever is in power as long as they can eat and cook cheaply (and move about) and there is no attack on their religion. Keep up all that and it's difficult to get enough critical mass to force a change in government. I have been wrong in the past though, but I don't think in the final counting that the government will fall and it'll blow over in a few days.
Due to the communication problems in the city centre it seems a lot of residents with internet access and a wireless router have cancelled the password requirement so that anyone with wifi can get a report out. We'll see if that affects anything. Plus there have been numerous hacker attacks on certain government web sites - quite why I don't know, possibly a 'just because we can' type feeling.
This morning's paper mentioned the demonstrations in Cairo and other Egyptian cities, but that there were also some in Jordan (your next destination, Mark?) and even in Yemen.
In El Mahalla el-Kubra, people tore up a large portrait of Mr Mubarak "an act whose boldness is hard to overstate".
Generally, commentary I read or hear is that the Egyptian population is less literate, less well-educated than in Tunisia, hence demonstrators are less likely to succeed in their bringing the population to their side. Which goes in the direction of what Mark said.
But we are indeed living in interesting times -- many of the Middle Eastern countries are stirring, even though the demonstrations in Lebanon are for different reasons. And the president of Yemen increased the military's salaries -- that'll keep them supporting the government and beating rioters.
The cynic in me says that most locals are happy enough with whoever is in power as long as they can eat and cook cheaply (and move about) and there is no attack on their religion. Keep up all that and it's difficult to get enough critical mass to force a change in government.
I would have said the same thing about what happened here. However, the most surprising thing was how many "just plain people" were involved, and the depth of their anger and their commitment to the cause of change. With many of them, it was the ongoing petty corruption and cheating that had brought them to this point of protest. People here work very hard and pretty much just can't get ahead. I imagine that's true to a large degree in Egypt, too.
Paranoia about political stuff is always a good idea. I really appreciate these updates and your clarifying what's appearing in the news, Mark.
I'll monitor stuff as I can here anyway, as long as it doesn't get in the way of the important stuff like I've got to get my haircut later and buy some cat food.
What you say is true bixa, it's getting the majority going that's always been quite difficult here. There is a lot of apathy and lack of will to change anything as it's far easier to keep it as it is. The attitude here has always been with everything 'if it's working, why touch it?'
Sorry about that, Mark. Didn't want to get you into trouble. I misread about the airport in question. UK indeed is not part of Schengen. I just assumed all those dictators and their families would be flying into Paris! They may know the January sales are on.
A number of things are kicking off again. I'm busy buying Egyptian pounds to make a killing later. Can't decide on 100 or 150 million. Ben Wedeman, a CNN correspondent is currently providing quite accurate info. And a Guardian reporter has been beaten up! The fun goes on.