Egypt: Protests erupt on anniversary of revolution (LIVE BLOG)

A man holds Egypt's flag in Tahrir Square as people gather for the first anniversary of the revolution on Jan. 25 in Cairo, Egypt.</p>

A man holds Egypt's flag in Tahrir Square as people gather for the first anniversary of the revolution on Jan. 25 in Cairo, Egypt.



UPDATE: 1/25/12 510 PM ET / 1/26/12 1210 AM CAIRO

As January 25 comes to a close in Cairo, protesters are preparing to spend the night in Tahrir square, Al Arabiya News reported.

Several pro-democracy groups in the square announced they would begin a sit-in until Friday, when another rally will be held.

Check out some powerful photos from they day at the Boston Globe's Big Picture blog

UPDATE: 1/25/12 455 PM ET / 1155 PM CAIRO


The April 6 Youth Movement has called upon Egyptians to take part in a million-man protest next Friday, dubbed the "Friday of Dignity," The Egypt Independent reported. The Youth Movements has also called for a sit-in in Tahrir Square until the military hands over power to civilians. 

"We will stay in the square until there’s either a transfer of power to the elected parliament or application for presidential elections starts," Mahmoud Afify, spokesperson of the group, told The Daily News Egypt.

As Middle East analyst Dalia Ezzat wondered on Twitter: 

UPDATE: 1/25/12 440 PM ET / 1140 PM CAIRO

       The observance of the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution has been remarkably peaceful. Here, some of the latest tweets reflecting on the day: 





  UPDATE: 1/25/12 355 PM ET / 1055 PM CAIRO       

Another update from Ahram Online:

Thousands of protesters have arrived in Talaat Harb Square, in downtown Cairo. Representatives of liberal movements addressed the crowd as Egyptian singer Azza Balbaa entertained the gathered throng with a number of those patriotic songs that have been ubiquitous since Mubarak's ouster and the country's media decided they liked the revolution after all.

Also, there is a live stream of the protests on UStream, part of a collaboration between Ana Mubasher, a citizen media group based in Cairo, and notNOTjournalism, an experimental first-person reporting project.

Streaming video by Ustream

UPDATE: 1/25/12 250 PM ET / 950 PM CAIRO

As the Revolution wears on in Egypt, many Egyptian-Americans have been clamoring to assist the country in its transition. A GlobalPost special report takes a close look at the American Egyptian Strategic Alliance (AESA), a group founded for just that purpose.

“There was a sense of frustration among Egyptian-Americans,” said Heidi Abbass, a third-year law student from California. “The question was, ‘How can we help?’”

One year later, the revolutionary spirit is flagging and for the first time in decades the longstanding relationship between the US and Egypt is in serious flux. Abbass has joined a diverse team of like-minded members in creating the American Egyptian Strategic Alliance (AESA) to advise US officials on policy with Egypt as the balance of power shifts in the fledgling democracy.

Today, the US announced it would strike a trade deal with Egypt.

The White House also issued an official statement about the Egyptian Revolution on Tuesday: 

We congratulate the Egyptian people and their government on these important steps toward fulfilling the promise of Egypt’s revolution, which has inspired the world. While many challenges remain, Egypt has come a long way in the past year, and we hope that all Egyptians will commemorate this anniversary with the spirit of peace and unity that prevailed last January. The United States will continue to stand with the Egyptian people, and those across the region, as they defend universal values and work toward a better future for all Egyptians.

 UPDATE: 1/25/12 215 PM ET / 915 PM CAIRO

Music has played a crucial role in helping Egyptians voice their views on the Revolution. 

Dalia Ziada, a blogger and human-rights activist in Cairo, talked to NPR about Mohamed Mounir, "a singer so revered, he's known as 'The Voice of Egypt'." 

His single, "Ezzay," which means "How Come?", fast became the anthem of the protests. Ziada said that Mounir compares Egypt to a lover in the song.

"He's telling it, 'I love you, and I know you love me, too, but you have to appreciate what I'm doing for you. I will keep changing you until you love me as I love you,' " Ziada told NPR, adding that that's exactly how Egyptians feel about their country. Mounir's song was not played on Egyptian state radio, but the video is online, and it's been watched hundreds of thousands of times.

Non-profit Middle Eastern news source Aslan Media has rounded up even more music that has emerged from Egypt's revolution.

UPDATE: 1/25/12 150 PM ET / 850 PM CAIRO

Ahram Online reported that a woman gave birth in Tahrir Square today:

It's not just revolutions that see the light of day in Egypt's squares. Tahrir News reports that a protester gave birth today in Tahrir Square. She was rushed to an ambulance where she delivered her baby.

UPDATE: 1/25/12 130 PM ET / 330 PM CAIRO

Tweet updates say crowds are flocking to Maspero, the large building near Tahrir Square in Downtown Cairo that houses Egyptian Radio and Television Union:


UPDATE: 1/25/12 120 PM ET / 820 PM CAIRO

As night falls in Cairo, many are wondering if the military is really prepared to give up their tight hold on Egypt, which they are slated to do July. 

In a special report, GlobalPost followed the money trail to see just how much financial power the Egyptian military had...and if it will really give that power up.

Amr Hamzawy, a former research director for the Carnegie Middle East Center and political science professor at Cairo University, has researched the military and Egypt’s economy for years. He told GlobalPost reporters that the military may controlup to 30 percent of Egypt’s total $180 billion economy, or $60 billion.

In this video from Al Jazeera, Egyptians — half of whom live on just $2 a day — reflect on the revolution's effect on the economic climate in Egypt: 


       UPDATE: 1/25/12 1230 PM ET / 730 PM CAIRO

Our special report on Egypt's 'digital activism' hits its limit examines the schism that has developed between the young, educated and liberal population and the older, traditional generation dependent on more loyal and state-controlled media.

Even this day, Jan. 25, has been marked by the division between rallying groups: Is it a celebration of the anniversary of President Hosni Mubarak's ouster? Or is it a protest against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which remains in power until elections are held? Our correspondent, Erin Cunningham, spoke to PBS about the tensions between the opposing groups.

This video was shot a year ago, on Jan. 25 in Tahrir Square by Egyptian blogger Gigi Ibrahim:

UPDATE: 1/25/12 1200 PM ET / 700 PM CAIRO


In this video from Ahram Online, protesters are heard chanting, "Yes, we're chanting against the military. We've come back again and this time we're not leaving."


Read our special report on Military tribunals: A continuing crackdown on Egypt’s revolution, an examination on how the tide of public opinion has turned against the military, over fears that it will not relinquish power to a civilian government.


The New York Times noted:

After a year of protests and crackdowns, many note a pattern: the conflicts with security forces never begin on the days when crowds fill the streets but only days later when the authorities move in to clear out the stragglers.

UPDATE: 1/25/12 1145 AM ET / 645 PM CAIRO



UPDATE: 1/25/12 1100 AM ET / 600 PM CAIRO

Updates from our correspondent Erin Cunningham in the field.


UPDATE: 1/25/12 1030 AM ET / 530 PM CAIRO

The scars of last year's protests have not yet healed, as Egyptians still demand justice for the deaths that occurred during the first uprising in Egypt. The father of 13-year-old Mohamed Fawzy Ashour told Al Jazeera:

I demand SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) bring justice to all those who died, including my son. We want our rights. We want fair trials. We are not dogs. They don’t deserve the title ruler. We want all the murderers put on trial so justice can be done and it will be fair. This is what I ask from every Egyptian and every world citizen and everybody out there: to stand for what's right. These people who died are humans created by God.

Ashour was one of an estimated 846 people killed in the violence during the initial uprising.

Reuters reported on the continuing protests against the military, with activists demanding justice and trials for the hundreds of people killed in the past year:

UPDATE: 1/25/12 1000 AM ET / 500 PM CAIRO


Paul Danahar, of the BBC, reported from Cairo:

One year on from Egypt's revolution I am standing in the same square with the same people in a different country. Thousands are filing into Tahrir Square to celebrate the end of a dictatorship which smothered this nation of 85 million people for decades.

But if a year ago the people were united in one cause the scene in the square today also reveals their divisions. Before there was only one stage, one microphone and one message. Now there are many.

The rallies in Egypt include a diverse group of people, from Islamists celebrating political gains to young activists wary of both the military and the Islamists.

The New York Times noted that Egypt's brewing financial crisis could undermine the power transition taking place:

With mounting debts, negligible economic growth and dwindling foreign reserves, the military rulers and the new Islamist-led Parliament now confront some difficult choices, beginning with an all but inevitable further devaluation of Egypt’s currency that could send the prices of food and other goods soaring.

The Times noted that increases in food prices and decreases in subsidies have sparked riots in Egypt in the past. The economic strife that sharpened anger against former President Hosni Mubarak's regime has only gotten worse.

UPDATE: 1/25/12 930 AM ET / 430 PM CAIRO

A video from the Associated Press showing rallies across Egypt marking the one year anniversary of the fall of President Hosni Mubarak:

UPDATE: 1/25/12 530 AM ET / 1130 AM CAIRO


Updates from journalists and activists in the field, as marches begin across Cairo and head to Tahrir:

UPDATE: 1/25/12 445 AM ET / 1145 AM CAIRO


Al Jazeera English producer, Adam Makary, posts a Twitter update (with photo) from the restive city of Suez, where protests have already kicked-off in the main square. Suez revolted in a serious way during last year's uprising, and has the potential for violent clashes again: 

UPDATE: 1/25/12 345 AM ET / 1045 AM CAIRO


Al Jazeera Mubasher, a local sister station for Al Jazeera Arabic, is broadcasting a live stream of protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Watch the stream with a grain of salt, however. Crowds will no doubt be quite large, but Mubasher is known for exaggerating protest size. Here's a link to Al Mubasher's YouTube live stream:

But as the crowds indeed swell, Egyptian web-based news site, Ahram Online, offers a comprehensive overview of what marches are happening today across Cairo and that will converge at Tahrir at various times throughout the day: Jan 25 anniversary demos: All roads lead to Tahrir


UPDATE: 1/25/12 3 AM ET / 10 AM CAIRO

Egyptian citizens across the country will be headed into demonstrations amid a few key political developments on theeve of the anniversary. Here are a few of yesterday's events that have the ability to affect protests on Jan. 25, 2012:

  • Egypt's de-facto leader and head of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, declared last night the end to a decades-old emergency law, which gave police sweeping powers to arrest and detain Egyptians at any time. Tantawi included a serious exception, however: he said the law would still be applicable in the case of "thuggery," a term often used by SCAF and pro-regime figures to describe anti-government protestors. 


  • Revolutionary members of the newly-inaugurated parliament called for members of SCAF to be tried for the murder of protestors over the past year. The parliament announced it would form committees to investigate the deaths, and summoned the prime minister and other cabinet officials. One of the key demands of the revolutionaries organizing today's protests is justice for those killed. 


  • Jailed blogger, Maikel Nabil, was released last night after serving 10 months of a three-year sentence for "insulting the military." He was pardoned by Tantawi on Saturday, and many activists had hoped his emancipation ahead of planned anniversary demonstrations would galvanize protestors. 


UPDATE: 1/25/12 230 AM ET / 930 AM CAIRO

Protests marking the first anniversary of Egypt's popular uprising are underway in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Hundreds, if not thousands, have already converged on the massive plaza in the heart of the capital. Concerns about plans by security forces to withdraw from demonstrat sites prompted rights group Amnesty International to issue a statement calling for the protection of protestors: 

"Rather than abandoning the sites of planned demonstrations, the security forces must act responsibly by ensuring that everyone can safely exercise their right to peaceful expression and assembly," said Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

"In a polarized environment where protesters have been portrayed by some state media and the authorities as trouble makers and as counter-protests are planned on the day, the position of the authorities risks amounting to a dereliction of their duty”.