Egypt's Protesters Say They Won't Stop Until Mubarak Is Gone
Here's the latest on what is happening in Egypt, where anti-government protests are now in their sixth day, and highlights of related news from elsewhere. (Note: Cairo is 7 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast; and click your "refresh" button to be sure you're seeing our latest additions):
Update at 9:55 a.m. ET: From Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that not only are military helicopters and jets flying over Tahrir Square, but "we're being told ... that protesters are being asked to leave" the area. "They're not leaving, however. ... It's unclear what the Army is trying to do with this. It's being perceived as a scare tactic."
Update at 9:45 a.m. ET: Reuters writes that "Egyptian opposition forces have agreed to support opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei to negotiate with the government, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood said on Sunday. 'Political groups support ElBaradei to negotiate with the regime,' Essam el-Eryan told Al Jazeera television."
Update at 9:35 a.m. ET: On CNN a moment ago, Fareed Zakaria reported that he had just spoken with Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who is now in Egypt. ElBaradei told Zakaaria that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should leave the nation "within three days" and said he would be willing to lead a transitional government for the next year while a new Constitution is written.
Meanwhile, the curfew has gone into effect in Cairo — but reporters say demonstrators remain in the streets.
Update at 9:30 a.m. ET: We reported earlier about the conversation NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who is in Cairo, had with Weekend Edition's Liane Hansen.
Here is the audio of their conversation:
Update at 9:20 a.m. ET: Just moments ago on CNN's State of the Union, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked whether the U.S. is beginning to back away from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
"We do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back," Clinton said in response. What the U.S. wants to do, she said, is "to help clear the air so that those who remain in power, starting with President Mubarak ... will begin a process of reaching out" to those demanding reforms in Egypt.
Clinton was also asked whose side the U.S. is on, Mubarak or the demonstrators. "There's another choice," she said, "it's the Egyptian people." The U.S. wants, Clinton said, a "democratic Egypt that provides both political and economic rights to its people."
Update at 8:55 a.m. ET: Reuters and Al Jazeera say more Army trucks have rolled into Cairo's Tahrir Square, the center of the demonstrations. And Egyptian Air Force fighters have buzzed the city.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's appearances on the Sunday talk shows are coming up. We'll add highlights to this post, but also plan to break out any news from her comments in a separate post.
Update at 8:40 a.m. ET: While authorities have knocked Al Jazeera off the air in Egypt, its correspondents are still reporting. They've started posting audio reports here. And Al Jazeera English is still streaming its coverage, which still has live video from Egypt.
Update at 8:35 a.m. ET: The Associated Press writes that "the State Department says U.S. citizens in Egypt should consider leaving the country as soon as they can because of the spreading unrest there." As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported earlier, though, the scene at the airport is chaotic as both foreigners and many Egyptians try to get out.
Update at 8:20 a.m. ET. NPR.org's latest story leads with this:
"Egyptians woke up to a dawn of uncertainty Sunday with several key buildings still smoldering in the capital and thousands of anti-regime protesters remaining camped out at the city's main square in defiance of an extended nighttime curfew."
Update at 8 a.m. ET: As we noted yesterday, the Egyptian Army and how it responds could determine what ultimately happens.
To that point, the BBC reports that:
"Egyptian state-owned Nile TV shows video of President Mubarak meeting top military commanders. By his side were Vice-President Omar Suleiman and Defense Minister Tantawi. The channel said the meeting took place in the 'center for military operations' to 'follow up the armed forces' operations to control the security situation'."
Our original post, from 7:35 a.m. ET:
— From Cairo, NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro just told Weekend Edition host Liane Hansen that in many parts of the city, young men are protecting the neighborhoods "because there's just no police presence." The Army, she says, is protecting key buildings, but not all of the city. Looting has been reported across the city.
Meanwhile, the protesters she has spoken with "say they will not stop ... until [Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak is gone."
— Al Jazeera reports that "thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square are standing their ground, despite troops firing into the air in a bid to disperse them. The show of defiance came as Egypt entered another turbulent day following a night of deadly unrest, when looters roamed the streets in the absence of police."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press says that Al Jazeera "was ordered by Egypt's information ministry on Sunday to shut down its operations in the country, and later in the day its signal to some parts of the Middle East was cut."
— According to the BBC, "a coalition of opposition groups [has issued] a statement asking Mohamed ElBaradei to form a transitional government. They call on the Nobel Laureate 'during this transitional stage, to act in the internal and external affairs of the nation, and to form a temporary government … and to dissolve parliament and draft a new constitution which enables the Egyptian people to freely choose its representatives in parliament and elect a legitimate president.' The statement was signed by the 6 April Movement, the We are all Khalid Said Movement, the National Assembly for Change and the 25 January Movement."
— Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is making the rounds of all the major Sunday morning talk shows, where she'll be pressed on whether the U.S. should be urging Mubarak to heed the protesters' wishes or whether it's more important that he remain because of Egypt's key place in the region.
— At the main international airport, "it is chaotic," says NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson. "It's not just foreigners who are fleeing in great numbers, but Egyptians." Many people, she says, "are trying to leave Cairo as the city breaks down. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.