A Summary of the Egyptian Revolution’s Events and People:
On 11 February, 2011, during the course of the 2011 Egyptian protests, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took power in Egypt after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. The Council, led by the Defense minister Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, includes the following members: Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed, Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, Armed forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Abd El Aziz Seif-Eldeen, Commander of air defense, and Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, Navy commander in chief.
The Egyptian protests of 2011 began in Egypt on 25 January 2011, a day selected to coincide with the National Police Day holiday. The 2011 protests were the largest demonstrations seen in Egypt since the 1977 Bread Riots and unprecedented in scope, drawing participants from all socio-economic backgrounds and faiths.
The demonstrations and riots started in the weeks after the Tunisian Revolution, with many protesters carrying Tunisian flags as a symbol of their influence. Grievances for Egyptian protesters have focused on legal and political issues including police brutality, state of emergency laws, lack of free elections and free speech, corruption, high unemployment, and food price inflation. The primary demand was the end of the Hosni Mubarak regime, the end of Emergency Law (martial law), freedom, justice, a responsive non-military government, and proper management of Egypt’s resources, especially the gas being sold to Israel.
As of 29 January, at least 105 deaths had been reported, and those injured number 750 policemen and 1,500 protesters (will check out latest figures).
Mubarak dissolved his government and appointed military figure and former head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Omar Suleiman as Vice-President in an attempt to quell dissent. Mubarak also asked aviation minister and former chief of Egypt’s Air Force, Ahmed Shafik, to form a new government. Opposition to the Mubarak regime has coalesced around Mohamed El Baradei, with all major opposition groups supporting his role as a negotiator for some form of transitional unity government. In response to mounting pressure, Mubarak announced he would not seek re-election in September. However, these concessions were too little, too late, and the revolution continued to swell until this evening, February 11, when Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak would be stepping down as president.
1st day of Demonstrations
25 January – Day of Anger yawm al-ġaḍab
Number of Demonstrators
15,000 Taḥrīr Square
3,000 El-Maḥalla el-Kubra
Demonstrations were called by:-
(1) The April 6 Youth Movement is a Facebook group started by Ahmed Maher and Ahmed Salah in Spring 2008 to support the workers in El-Mahalla El-Kubra, an industrial town, who were planning to strike on April 6
(2) We Are All Khaled Said Movement, a group formed to protest the killing of the blogger Khaled Said on 14 Jun 2010 in Alexandria
(3) National Association for Change is a loose grouping of various groups. There was general agreement on the need to unite all the voices calling for change within a National Assembly led by Mohamed ElBaradei. The movement asked especially for the amendment of articles 76, 77, and 88 of the constitution as soon as possible, but generally asked for social justice and democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood was included and Amr Moussa the head of the Arab League also joined
(4) The 25 January Movement
(5) Kefaya or the Egyptian Movement for Change (el-Ḥaraka el-Maṣriyya min agl el-Taghyīr), a grassroots coalition which first emerged in 2004 to oppose the possible nomination of Gamal Mubarak as successor to Hosni Mubarak, but with origins in the solidarity committees that spread throughout Egypt following the start of the Second Intifada in Palestine in October 2000. The pro-Intifada demonstrations were particularly notable as they involved a new generation of previously non-politicized youth and, as a direct consequence, resulted in a revival of Egyptian street politics. Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, these protesters formed the backbone of Egypt’s highly vocal anti-war movement, and those protests in turn developed into the first public demonstrations against President Mubarak since he had taken office. The anti-war protest of 20 March 2003 – from which the anti-war movement 20 March derived its name – was one of the biggest spontaneous demonstrations in Egypt’s history.
Wael Ghonim was arrested. Ghonim is Google’s head of Marketing for the Middle East and North Africa and founder of the Facebook page that was said to have been influential in fomenting the protests; his activism was an important trigger to the revolution.
On 26 January riots continued and increased use of violence from both protesters and the police, with one protester and one police official killed in Cairo. Suez experienced a dramatic uprising; many protesters were fired upon with live ammunition, and both protesters and police were beaten. Protesters in Suez also managed to set fire to several government buildings, including the police station.
Preparations were made for planned large-scale events on the following day (Friday). The Muslim Brotherhood declared full support for the protests, and members planned to take part during Friday’s demonstrations. Mohamed el-Baradei returned on that day at Cairo International Airport to join the planned protests on the next day.
A Bedouin protester was shot dead by police in the town of Sheikh Zoweid in North Sinai. In Suez, the uprising continued and violence increased as more buildings were set on fire, including police posts. Protesters in Suez and Sinai region came out armed.
More than 120 people were arrested in Asyut from the Muslim Brotherhood, and about another 600 people were arrested in Cairo, including 8 Egyptian journalists protesting against the government’s reported restrictions.
28 January – Friday of Anger ǧumʿat al-ġaḍab
At 13:00 hours ahead of the expected massive anti-government protests, the Egyptian government shut down internet services. Text messaging and mobile phone services also appeared to be blocked. The main headquarters of the ruling NDP was set aflame.
Shortly after Friday prayers, hundreds of thousands of protesters attended and Mohamed el-Baradei traveled from Giza to Cairo, where he was arrested at an anti-government rally and placed under house arrest, although ElBaradei told Al Jazeera that he was unaware of his house arrest.
Throughout the day, police were extremely repressive and violent throughout Egypt. Thousands in Suez stormed and took control of a police station, freed all of the protesters held under arrest there and then set fire to a local police post. In Port Said tens of thousands of protesters gathered and multiple government buildings were set ablaze. In Suez, police shot and killed at least one man taking part in the protests. The government issued curfew (18:00-7:00), but protesters ignored it and were met by police. In the evening, protesters set fire to the NDP building again. While protesters paused for evening prayers, police continued firing tear gas.
The Egyptian government deployed military in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez to assist the police. Al-Jazeera reported that in Alexandria and Suez the military wanted to avoid an open armed confrontation with protesters.
Protestors gathered in front of the l-Istiqama Mosque in Giza around which fighting broke out with police.
A delegation led by the chief of staff of Egypt’s armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, was in Washington, D.C., when the visit was ended due to the protests. The sessions, an annual country-to-country military coordination, were being led for the U.S. by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow. A meeting with Adm. Mike Mullen was cancelled. Before their departure Friday night, Vershbow urged the two dozen representatives of Egyptian military “to exercise ‘restraint'”.
AP claimed that an elite counterterrorism force had been deployed at strategic points around Cairo, and that Egypt’s interior ministry was warning of decisive measures. The secretary-general of the ruling NDP Safwat al-Sharif held a press conference stating, “We hope that tomorrow’s Friday prayers and its rituals happen in a quiet way that upholds the value of such rituals … and that no one jeopardizes the safety of citizens or subjects them to something they do not want.”
Amid reports of looting of government buildings, concerns were raised about the safety of the antiquities of the Egyptian Museum. Egyptian state TV announced in the evening that army commandos had secured the museum. Protesters joined soldiers in protecting the museum next to the burning NDP headquarters. Looters managed to enter during the night from the roof to damage a number of small artifacts, and it was initially reported that they had ripped the heads off two mummies, but subsequent reports claimed that Egypt’s top archaeologist had mistaken skulls from other skeletons, and that the mummies were intact.
The detention of El-Baradei angered the US and he was later released. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood said that twenty members of the banned group had been detained overnight, including Essam El-Erian, its main spokesman, as well as Mohammed Moursi, one of its leaders.
By 2:00 pm local time, approximately 50,000 people had gathered in Tahrir Square, 10,000 gathered in Kafr-al-Sheikh, and many other protests took place throughout other areas of the country. A curfew was announced but had no effect whatsoever. Protesters gathered at the Ministry of Interior, and three of them were killed by police when they tried to storm the building.
In Beni Suef, south of Cairo, 17 protesters were shot dead by police as they attempted to attack two police stations in the city. Eight more people were killed during protests in the city. In the Abu Zabaal prison in Cairo, eight people were killed as police clashed with inmates trying to escape. According to a Reuters tally, these deaths brought the total death toll to at least 100 by that day. Inmates rioted in Cairo’s Wadi Natrun prison as it was attacked by an angry mob leading to the escape of several so-called Islamist terrorists and others. Emad Gad, an analyst with the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies said that he had obtained information from a trustworthy source that “there have been orders from the very top to free known felons from the prisons, to arm them and to let them mingle with protesters.” Two Egyptian policemen jailed following the death of anti-corruption activist Khaled Said were among the hundreds of prisoners that escaped in Cairo that day.
Tanks were reported on the streets of Suez. A police station was torched after protesters seized weapons stored inside before telling officers to get out. At first there was a presence of the Central Security Force and later, army troops were ordered into major cities to quell street fighting. In Rafah a mob killed 3 police officers. Chaos reported at Cairo Airport where thousands of stranded and frightened foreigners were attempting to be evacuated back to their home countries.
President Hosni Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman Vice President on January 29, 2011
Thousands of protesters continued to defy the curfew and, as the night progressed, troops and armored vehicles were deployed across Cairo to guard key places such as train stations, major government buildings and banks. The army had insufficient capacity to patrol neighborhoods, so residents set up armed vigilante groups. A heavy army presence (though no police) was also reported in Suez. Another 30 dead bodies, including 2 children, were taken to El Damardash Hospital in central Cairo.
3,000–5,000 protesters were gathering in Tahrir Square, including hundreds of state judges protesting for the first time. They, among others, called for a new constitutional and a transitional government.
Soldiers were then given orders to use live ammunition, but the army said the order would be refused since they were present to protect the people according to Al Jazeera Arabic. Helicopters were monitoring the protests, and F-16 fighter jets were repeatedly flying low over Tahrir Square. Protesters were reported picking up garbage in Tahrir Square, as essential services were not working and they wanted to “keep the country clean”. Food and water were brought and offered at the scene.
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s Minister of Defense and Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, was seen with the protesters in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. Mohammed El-Baradei arrived in Tahrir Square and told the crowd that “what we have begun cannot go back”.
The Muslim Brotherhood, along with the April 6 Youth Movement, “We are all Khaled Said”, National Association for Change, Jan 25 Movement and Kefaya (the main organizers of the protests) gave their support to Mohammed El-Baradei to act as a negotiator in the formation of a temporary national unity government. Al Jazeera Arabic reported that 34 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were released from custody as their guards abandoned their posts.
After appointing Omar Suleiman VP on the previous day, President Mubarak asked the current aviation minister and former chief of Air Staff Ahmed Shafiq, an NDP party loyalist, to form a new government as Prime Minister. He kept the banks and the stock market closed. At 10:55, Al Jazeera’s offices in Cairo were ordered to be closed, and the correspondents for the network had their credentials revoked.
For the fourth day in a row the curfew was violated without repercussions. Security officials had announced that the curfew would start at 3:00 pm and threatened to shoot anyone who ignored it, although eventually little or no action was taken as security and army personnel left Tahrir Square.
Hundreds of thousands continued to protest in Egyptian cities, including 250,000 protesters in Cairo alone. A protester was shot dead in Abu Simbel and extra troops were also moved to guard the Suez Canal. For the first time during protests, there were pro-Mubarak protests of at least 1,000 people, mostly from the neighborhood watch groups. Mohammed El-Baradei again joined thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square and the umbrella group National Association for Change chose El-Baradei to negotiate with Mubarak.
Police forces disappeared from Cairo, and the military took up key positions there, while senior Egyptian generals led by Tantawi held the military back, as the army as a whole stated its understanding of the legitimate rights of the “great people of Egypt”.
The army released a statement saying:
“The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people. Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody.”
Reports emerged of several major prisons across the country being attacked, and law and order rapidly deteriorated across most of Egypt. Criminal violence continued in Cairo as looters burnt out the Arkadia shopping mall. Egypt Air cancelled all internal and outbound flights.
Industrial strikes were also called in many cities, including Cairo. The Japanese firm Nissan had suspended production at its plant in Egypt to ensure employees’ safety after anti-government protests, but the Korean owned Hyundai plant chose to continue working.
Zahi Hawass was appointed by Mubarak to the newly created cabinet post of Minister of Antiquities during the cabinet shakeup on 31 January, and was set to protect the Egyptian Museum.
The NDP was expelled from the Socialist International because:
“The use of violence, with scores dead and injured, is totally incompatible with the policies and principles of any social democratic party anywhere in the world”.
1 February – March of the Millions
Opposition leaders called for a million-strong march dubbed “March of the Millions” from Tahrir Square to the Presidential Palace in Tahrir. Egyptian security forces fortified Mubarak’s presidential palace with coils of barbed wire.
According to Al Jazeera, over one million protesters gathered in central Cairo by the afternoon, a number growing to around 2 million later in the day.
Similar protests occurred across Egypt with hundreds of thousands protesting in Alexandria, and an estimated 250,000 protesting in Sinai and Suez marking the largest mobilization in the then eight day old protest. Meanwhile, a virtual “March of Millions” was launched on Facebook with the goal of reaching one million voices in support of the march.
The United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay announced that there were reports that more than 300 people had died in the violence with up to 3,000 injured, although stressed that these reports remain unconfirmed. Banks remains closed.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Prime Minister urged Mubarak to meet his people’s “desire for change”.
In the late evening (11:00 pm local Egyptian time) President Mubarak proclaimed that he did not intend to run for another term in the next election. Mubarak said he would stay in office to ensure a peaceful transition to the next election, set for September 2011, and promised to make political reforms. He also said that he would demand that Egyptian authorities pursue ‘outlaws’ and ‘investigate those who caused the security disarray’. Mubarak said that peaceful protests were transformed into ‘unfortunate clashes mobilized and controlled by political forces that wanted to escalate and worsen the situation’. Mubarak called upon the Egyptian parliament to change the limit terms of the presidency and change the requirements to run for president. He also accepted the legal charges of corruption and fraud against parliamentary members.
In the past, Mubarak has said he will continue to serve Egypt until his last breath. In his speech on 1 February 2011 he said: “This dear nation… is where I lived, I fought for it and defended its soil, sovereignty and interests. On its soil I will die. History will judge me like it did others.” Crowds continued protesting in Tahrir Square, demanding that the president step down. There were reports that Mubarak’s proclamation came after President Barack Obama’s special envoy, Frank G Wisner told Mubarak the U.S. saw his presidency at an end and urged him to prepare for an orderly transition to ‘real democracy’.
During the night of 1–2 February, Mubarak supporters and anti-Mubarak protesters clashed in Alexandria where shots were reportedly fired in the air. In Cairo, many protesters from the previous day had remained in Tahrir Square overnight.
In the morning, internet access had been partially restored and the night-time curfew was reduced but still ignored. By midday, the army was asking protesters to go home in order to stabilize the situation. State-television then announced: “You have to evacuate Tahrir Square immediately. We’ve got confirmed information that violent groups are heading toward Tahrir Square carrying firebombs and seeking to burn the Square.”
The NDP sent armed agents provocateurs, some even riding on horses and camels to attack anti-government protesters all over central Cairo, including Tahrir Square in what became known as the (Battle of Jamal or Battle of the Camel). Security officials were witnessed bribing ordinary citizens into attacking protesters. Some of the Pro-Mubarak supporters were reportedly off-duty and undercover police. Al Jazeera’s live reporting showed that Mubarak supporters were carrying police IDs amidst clashes and that gunfire was heard in Tahrir Square.
Molotov cocktails were also used on anti-Mubarak protesters, some landing on the grounds of the Egyptian Museum. Pro-Mubarak supporters were filmed dropping stones and firebombs from buildings to demonstrators on the ground. Five people were reported killed and 836 people taken to hospitals according the Health ministry. There were also clashes in Alexandria and unrest in Port Said. The Economist ran an article linking this thuggery with use in the middle-ages of harafeesh by the Mamluk Sultans against their enemies. Journalists were also attacked.
Mubarak rejected international calls to step aside, and government figures ask protesters to disperse, including Ali Goma‘a, the Grand Mufti of Egypt.
Mohammed ElBaradei called on the army to intervene. A coalition of the opposition parties agreed to hold talks with the newly formed government. However, Mohamed ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood stressed they would not talk to any government representative, including Vice President Omar Suleiman, until Mubarak’s resignation.
On 2-3 February, 13 people were killed and 1,200 injured, according to the Egyptian health ministry. Some media stats differed significantly, citing deaths in the hundreds. In Cairo, a standoff took place in front of the Egyptian Museum in the early morning hours with rocks and petrol bombs reportedly flying. Protests continued in Alexandria and Mansoura, where Al Jazeera suggested up to a million people marched. In Cairo, Egyptian army tanks cleared a highway overpass from which pro-Mubarak protesters had been hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails onto the anti-Mubarak protesters. With banks closed and not due to open for three more days, cash-starved Egyptians were being offered food and money to side against the anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square.
Shahira Amin resigned from her position as deputy head of Nile TV, citing its coverage of the protests as the main reason to her resignation; she spoke live to Al Jazeera and to CNN. Many international journalists in Egypt who covered the protests were detained, beaten, shouted at or threatened by pro-Mubarak protesters, as were numerous Egyptian bloggers and activists including Wael Abbas. Two Al Jazeera reporters were attacked as they arrived from the airport while three others were arrested and later released.
The Prosecutor General decided to prevent former ministers and government officials Ahmed Abdel Aziz Ahmed Ezz, Mohamed Zuhair, Mohamed Waheed Garana, Ahmed Alaa El Din Maghraby, Habib Ibrahim El Adly and a number of others from travelling outside the country. He also froze their bank accounts, pending the return of security and stability, and the establishment of the investigative and supervisory authorities to identify criminal and administrative responsibilities in all of these cases.
Christiane Amanpour interviews Mubarak, who says he’s tired of ruling and is ready to leave power, but that he has to remain for the people’s sake and to control the chaos.
Bloomberg reported that Vodafone had been forced by the Egyptian government to send SMS text messages to its customers. The pro-Mubarak messages characterized protesters as disloyal to the state and had called upon recipients to “confront” them. Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao reported that the general public was still being blocked from sending SMS text messages.
4 February – Friday of Departure
Tahrir Square during the “Friday of Departure” gumʿat ar-raḥīl
The same organizers of the “Day of Anger” and “Friday of Anger” called for a protest which was dubbed the “Friday of Departure”. They demanded Mubarak step down immediately, giving February 4th as their deadline for him to surrender his powers.
During the night of 3–4 February, there were tanks on the street in Cairo as many of the protesters again spent the night in Tahrir Square. Pro-government protesters were also active and small-scale clashes happened in the early hours.
Two million Egyptians flooded Tahrir Square to participate in Friday day prayer in Tahrir Square. Egyptian Christians and others not performing Friday prayers formed a “human chain” around those praying to protect them from any potential disruptions. The day’s planned events began after Friday prayers. Al Jazeera estimated the crowd size to be over a million in Tahrir Square. Mohammed ElBaradei was also in attendance. However, protesters did not get to the presidential palace. In Alexandria, over a million protesters turned out, making it the biggest ever protest in Alexandria. They warned that if the government used violence against protesters in Cairo, they would march to Cairo to join the protesters there.
Protest marches were also held in Giza, El-Mahalla el-Kubra, Suez, Port Said, Rafah, Isma’iliyya, Zagazig, Aswan and Asyut.
The Prosecutor General followed up travel bans and frozen bank accounts on former ministers and government officials including former Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid.
Ahmad Mohamed Mahmoud of Al-Ta’awun became the first journalist to die covering the protests, from gunshot wounds sustained on 28 January.
During the night of 4–5 February, a few protesters continued to camp out in Tahrir Square, though it was largely quiet.
The so-called Etha’et al-thawra (broadcast of the revolution) was set upon an elevated stage and used by the demonstrators in Tahrir Square to address the crowds. In the background is the American University of Cairo.
Early in the morning shots were fired as protesters said pro-Mubarak activists tried to assault the square. Troops then fired into the air to disperse them. Demonstrators later formed a human chain to prevent tanks from passing through the barricades into the anti-Mubarak enclave in Tahrir Square; a witness said scuffles broke out when an army general asked demonstrators to take down their make-shift barricades of corrugated steel and debris. As the army tightened access to Tahrir Square, the head of the army met protesters and asked them to return home so that life could return to normal. Protesters responded that “he (Mubarak) will go” and they would not. A heavy military presence continued in central Cairo. An Interior Ministry spokesman said that “the army remains neutral and is not taking sides because if we protect one side we will be perceived as biased….our role is to prevent clashes and chaos as we separate the opposing groups.”
An explosion also occurred on the Arab Gas Pipeline in the Sinai linking Egypt with Israel and Jordan after saboteurs were believed to have responded to a call by Islamist groups to exploit the unrest.
State television announced the appointment of Hossam Badrawi (seen as a member of the liberal wing of the NDP) as Head of the Shura Council after Safwat el-Sharif’s resignation from his position within the party. Mubarak’s son Gamal also resigned as Assistant Secretary and Secretary of the Policy Committee of the NDP. Minister of State for Legal Affairs Mufid Shehab and Presidential Chief-of-Staff Zakaria Azmy were also dismissed from the party. Initial reports also indicated that Mubarak had resigned as head of the ruling NDP party, however this was later denied by state television and the Information Minister. Former Interior Minister Habib el-Adli and three of his colleagues were put under house arrest.
6 February – Sunday of Martyrs
The same organizers of the “Day of Anger”, “Friday of Anger”, “March of the Millions” and “Friday of Departure” called for a protest in what was dubbed the “Sunday of Martyrs”.
During the night of 5–6 February, some protesters continued to camp out in Tahrir Square, and Alexandria had peaceful late-night protests. However, gunfire was heard in the early hours of the day in Cairo.
Copts lead the crowd in prayer in Tahrir Square. Egyptian Christians held mass in the morning in Tahrir Square to counter claims by state television that most of the anti-Mubarak protesters are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Copts wanted to show that they were a part of Egypt’s popular uprising and that they shared the same grievances as the rest of the country. Christians started their Sunday Mass in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as Muslim protesters formed a ring around them to protect them during the service. Crowds in Tahrir Square chanted “We are one, we are one” ahead of prayers held at noon for those killed during the protests. Muslims later participated in Salat al-Janazah. Protesters in Cairo numbered some 1 million. Demonstrations continuing in Alexandria were centered around the train station of El Ramel. Several thousand anti-government protesters also continued calling for Mubarak’s resignation in Mansoura.
Journalists continued to be targets of the ruling regime. Ayman Mohyeldin an Al Jazeera English journalist, was arrested by soldiers in Tahrir Square, and held for 9 hours.
Banks temporarily reopened throughout the country amidst long queues.
There were also negotiations between Vice President Omar Suleiman and members from the opposition, including Mohamed Morsi, El-Sayyid El-Badawi, and Naguib Sawiris. The Muslim Brotherhood said it was taking part in a dialogue with the government. Suleiman agreed to a plan to set up a committee of judiciary and political figures to study constitutional reforms.
Wael Ghonim was released. At 20:00, he posted on Twitter that “Freedom is a blessing that deserves being fought for.” Since his release from custody and an interview on DreamTV, thousands of supporters joined a Facebook page created in his honor.
At least 70 people were wounded when hundreds of residents attacked the police station in Khargah to demand the ouster of a police official who had a reputation for heavy-handedness. Police then opened fire on the protesters. Authorities said that 11 people were said to have been killed across the country. The United Nations says it is more than 300.
Finance Minister Samir Radwan said 6.5 billion LE (US$960 million) would be allocated to cover a 15 percent raise in pensions and salaries for government employees. This decision was made at the first Cabinet meeting since the protests began. While banks reopened, schools and the stock exchange remain closed. The Egyptian Stock Exchange said it would resume work on 13 February.
Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass announced that artifacts damaged by looters would be restored over the next five days. Among the objects damaged was a statue of King Tutankhamun standing on a panther and a wooden sarcophagus from the New Kingdom period, dating back roughly 3,500 years.
Former minister of the interior Habib el-Adly faced prosecution in a military court over giving orders to fire at protesters and obstructing peace in Egypt, as well as his role in the 31 December 2010 bombing of al-Qiddissin Church in Alexandria.
State-owned Al-Ahram declared its support for the protesters and stopped supporting the ruling regime.
8 February – Day of Egypt’s Love
The same organizers of the “Day of Anger,” “Friday of Anger,” “March of the Millions” and “Friday of Departure” called for a protest in what was dubbed the “Day of Egypt’s Love”.
Protesters continued to gather at Tahrir Square in one of the largest protests yet with over a million people gathered in the square. Some people were reported to be joining the protests for the first time including Egyptians who had returned from abroad and other newcomers mobilized by the release of activist Wael Ghonim. Thousands of protesters went to the parliament to demand Mubarak’s resignation while others went to the Shura Council and the Council of Ministers. They later slept in front of those buildings beside their usual camp in Tahrir Square.
There was also a substantial protest in Alexandria as workers at the Suez Canal went on strike. BBC correspondents reported that by the afternoon the protests had the highest turnout to date. Hundreds of journalists gathered in the lobby of the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram’s headquarters to protest against corruption and to call for greater freedom of the press.
In a statement made on Egyptian state television, Omar Suleiman announced the formation of two independent committees for political and constitutional reforms. Suleiman reiterated his view that Egypt is not ready for democracy, while also warning of a possible coup d’état unless demonstrators agree to enter negotiations.
Ibrahim Yosri, a lawyer and former deputy foreign minister, drafted a petition, along with 20 other lawyers, asking the Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud to try Mubarak and his family for stealing state wealth.
According to the state-owned Middle-East News Agency, Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy issued an order releasing 34 political detainees, mostly members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Some protesters moved from Tahrir Square to set up camp in the area outside the parliament buildings, demanding the assembly’s immediate dissolution. The demonstrators put up a sign that said: “Closed until the fall of the regime”. The cabinet offices in Cairo were evacuated and officials were relocated after anti-government protesters gathered outside the building. Meanwhile, labor unions across the country, and particularly in Alexandria, Cairo and Suez, staged general strikes, demanding higher wages and better treatment from their employers. The strikers were said to number around 20,000 workers at various factories in different cities over the past 24 hours. Violent clashes were reported in Wadi el-Jadid where police stations and NDP party buildings were destroyed, and several people died and were wounded. Protesters in Port Said burnt down the governor’s building in response to his reluctance to provide enough housing for the city’s residents, during which 3 people died.
The government followed up on a prisoner amnesty from the previous day, releasing 1,000 more prisoners who had served three-quarters of their sentence; 840 more were released from the Sinani province. The Muslim Brotherhood continued to demand Mubarak’s resignation. The offices of the state-owned Channel 5 in Alexandria were shut down and evacuated under the order of its chief amid mounting pressure by protesters.
The government warned of a military crackdown amid ongoing protests. Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit rejected US calls to repeal the emergency law and also accused the US of trying to impose its will.
Culture Minister Gaber Asfour resigned after one week in office.
The protests continued at Tahrir Square and the parliament building. 3,000 lawyers marched from the lawyers’ syndicate in downtown Cairo to Abdin palace. A thousand physicians, dressed in white coats, also arrived at Tahrir Square. Strikes at national industries, including tourism and transportation, continued to form and spread to Alexandria, Mahalla and Port Said. Protesters around Egypt expected Mubarak to announce his resignation.
Al-Hurra TV reported that Mubarak was planning to hand his authority over to the Egyptian army. General Hassan al-Roueini, the military commander for the Cairo area, told protesters in Tahrir Square, “All your demands will be met today.” State TV added that Mubarak will speak tonight from his Cairo palace. This came after Egypt’s military proclaimed on television that they have stepped in to “safeguard the country”. The Associated Press suggested a military coup may be occurring. State TV showed Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantaw meeting with two dozen top army officers without either Mubarak or his vice president, Omar Suleiman. State TV said information minister, Anas el-Fiqqi, denied that Mubarak would resign. Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq was reported to have said, “Everything is in the hands of President Hosni Mubarak and no decisions have been taken yet.” Al Arabiya television, citing “trusted sources” just minutes before Mubarak was to speak, said he would transfer his powers to his vice president. However, when Mubarak actually spoke, he didn’t resign and instead said he would transfer some unspecified powers to his vice president, Omar Suleiman. He also said he would request six constitutional amendments and that he would lift emergency laws when security in the country permitted. Protesters watched in stunned silence or in anger to his speech waving their shoes at him in the air. As far as the transfer of power was concerned, Mubarak said, “I have seen that it is required to delegate the powers and authorities of the president to the vice president as dictated in the constitution“. The constitutional article referred to is used to transfer powers if the president is “temporarily” unable to carry out his duties and does not mean his resignation. Mubarak also said he would stay in the country and that he was “adamant to continue to shoulder my responsibility to protect the constitution and safeguard the interests of the people … until power is handed over to those elected in September by the people in free and fair elections in which all the guarantees of transparencies will be secured.” In his television statement, Mubarak said that he would penalize those responsible for the violence and that he has a clear vision on how to end the crisis, but is satisfied with what he has offered during his service to the country.
More than three million people in and around Tahrir Square chanted “Leave! Leave! Leave!” after Mubarak’s speech. Vice President Omar Suleiman called on the anti-Mubarak protesters to go home. Eyewitnesses said that the Egyptian army had pulled out troops from many locations near the presidential palace in Cairo. Soon after the television announcement, a large number of protesters began to march towards the presidential palace. Mohamed El-Baradei was reported to have said, “Egypt will explode” because Mubarak refused to step down. He also called on the military to intervene.
Unprecedentedly massive protests continued in Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities. The presidential palace and parliament remained under protester control and thousands surrounded the state TV building, keeping anyone from entering or leaving. The army issued a communiqué in support of Mubarak’s half move to become de jure president, leaving the responsibilities to the vice president but officially not resigning from office.
But after 18:00 Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that the presidency had been vacated and that the army council would run the country. Al Arabiya reported that the military council said it would sack the cabinet and then dissolve parliament.