Egypt’s Military Leaders Dissolve Parliament, Suspend Constitution, New Strikes Begin

BY News Desk  February 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM EST

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET

Egypt’s army has called on protesters to clear Tahrir Square in the face of growing labor strikes. The military was considering a ban on such activities as Cairo struggles to return to normalcy following 18 days of mass protests.

Former President Hosni Mubarak’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Updated 8:30 a.m. ET, Feb. 14

Fresh strikes have cropped up in Cairo, this time from workers demanding better pay from the country’s new military leadership. Some returned to Tahrir Square after leaving Sunday in the wake of celebrations over Hosni Mubarak’s resignation as president. The strikes affected transportation, tourism, banking and other industries where a pay gap has been a source of contention.

Mohammed Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, issued a statement reiterating that military rule would be in place only until elections could be held. The military’s move to dissolve the country’s parliament was generally welcomed amid a wave of anti-government sentiment. There is not yet a clear timeline for when elections could take place, with estimates varying from six months or longer.

Updated 12:55 p.m. Feb. 13

Egypt’s military rulers dissolved Parliament and suspended the constitution Sunday, meeting two key demands of some protesters who are pushing for immediate steps toward a transition to democratic, civilian rule after forcing Hosni Mubarak to step down, according to The Associated Press.

In their latest communique, which was read on television, the military leaders said they will run the country for six months, or until presidential and parliamentary elections can be held. The military leaders said they were forming a committee to amend the constitution and set the rules for popular referendum to endorse the amendments, AP reported. The military also said Egypt would abide by all international treaties and commitments the country was a party to, according to Reuters.

Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Egyptian-American scholar and Nobel laureate Ahmed Zewail said the people in Egypt want to have the elections as soon as possible. Asked if he hoped there could be elections before August, Zewail said “That’s what’s my hope is — that we don’t have to wait that long.”

One of Egypt’s leading opposition figures, Ayman Nour, said these steps outlined by the military were a victory for the revolution, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 18-day uprising in Egypt, military troops took control. At times, some troops with sticks pushed protesters aside in order to reopen the square to traffic, according to Reuters.

Among the remaining protesters there was debate on whether to stay in the streets to ensure democratic reforms took place. Mohamed Salah, 27, an agriculture graduate told Reuters “I will not leave the square. Over my dead body. I trust the army, but I don’t trust those controlling the army behind the scenes. Down with corruption and repression. This is a new day of freedom. I have tasted freedom and I will not turn back.”

However, others such as a person identified just as Islam, whose brother was killed in protests told Reuters “I want these people to leave (Tahrir) so that life goes back to normal. The country is losing millions each day. We want to move on. We do not want the army to get upset with us … We don’t want them to resort to violence.”

CBS News correspondent Harry Smith reported on “Face the Nation” that some of the protesters in Tahrir Square want Mubarak’s cabinet dissolved too, in addition to Parliament.

Meanwhile, thousands of Algerians defied government orders to rally in Algiers, demanding democratic reforms despite being outnumbered by riot police:

A third day of protests was also reported in Yemen.

The AP also posted video of a celebration Saturday in the U.S. and a recap of the 18 days that led to Mubarak’s downfall.

Updated 12:30 p.m.

The Egyptian military confirmed Saturday in a televised statement that it would hand over power to an elected civilian government and abide by all international treaties, indicating Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel would stay in place.

Updated 8:30 a.m., Feb. 12

As the sun rose in Cairo Saturday, Egyptians still riding high a day after President Hosni Mubarak agreed to leave office began cleaning up Tahrir Square – the focal point of two weeks of protests.

Many removed burned-out cars and took down tents, while others swore they would stay in the central square until the military, now in charge of the country, carries out the process to full-fledged democracy.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has said it would end the state of emergency, implement constitutional changes and hold a fair presidential election.

Also Saturday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen headed to Jordan and Israel to reassure the two U.S. allies after Egypt’s leadership transformation.

Mullen first was scheduled to visit top Jordanian officials, including King Abdullah II. Amman experienced its own protests earlier this month, prompting the king to dismiss his Cabinet and call for a new one.

Next, Mullen planned to visit Israel to attend talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Israel is concerned that a government that replaces Mubarak’s could be less friendly to the Jewish state.

Calls for change also were brewing in Algeria where thousands of protesters defied a government ban to march for democracy in the capital Algiers.

The activists chanted “No to the police state” and “Bouteflika out” referring to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been in office since 1999.

The Algerian news organization La Liberte reported that 30,000 riot police were deployed to set up security barricades along the march route, outnumbering the protesters who were estimated at 10,000.

Updated 4 p.m. ET, Feb. 11

Margaret Warner reports: ‘A Wild Scene’ in Cairo’s Streets

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET

President Obama said Friday — following the announcement that President Mubarak was standing down — that his departure marked the beginning of the transition to democracy and that the United States would help Egypt in any way it could.

“The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same,” Mr. Obama said.

The military has acted responsibly as a caretaker to the state, he said, and must ensure a credible transition by protecting the rights of citizens, lifting emergency law, amending the constitution and ushering in fair elections.

“The U.S. will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt,” and will provide any assistance when asked during the process, the president said.

Updated 1:45 p.m. ET

The NewsHour team in Cairo reports that “it’s pandemonium outside our hotel. Cars are rhythmically honking to the tune of a ritual celebratory Egyptian chant.”

Watch for more on-the-ground coverage on Friday’s broadcast.

Egypt’s military has vowed to meet demonstrator’s demands with their newly gained power.

The military applauds “those who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom and security of the nation,” a military spokesman said on state television, before saluting the dead.

Word from the White House is President Obama is now expected to speak at 3 p.m. ET.

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon weighed in on the news from Egypt, saying he respected “what must have been a difficult decision taken in the wider interest of the Egyptian people.”

“I urge the interim authorities to chart a clear path forward. … It is vital that human rights and civil liberties are fully respected,” he said.

He added the United Nations was willing to provide assistance in the transition.

Updated 12:52 p.m. ET

Al Jazeera and The New York Times both offer profiles of Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who has been handed power.

Updated 12:51 p.m. ET

Nobel Peace Prize recipient and opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei reacted to the news, telling The Associated Press, “This is the greatest day of my life.”

In an interview with CNN, he added that “It’s like 180 degrees — something we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes.”

Updated 12:48 p.m. ET

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

Vice President Joe Biden, in remarks at the University of Louisville, said Egypt is a “country in the midst of most dramatic changes we’ve seen in Mideast in literally generations. Obviously, today is a historic day for people of Egypt.”

“Transition … must be [an] irreversible change and negotiated path toward democracy,” he said. The vice president also called for unity on the part of the United States’ political attitude toward Egypt in the “delicate and fateful days ahead.”

Updated 11:50 a.m. ET

President Obama is expected to speak about the situation at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Fireworks were seen in Beirut’s Shiite neighborhoods in reaction to the news.

Updated 11:15 a.m. ET

Vice President Suleiman said President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and handed power to the military. The announcement was met wild cheers from the crowd in Tahrir Square on the 18th day of protests.

Updated 10:15 a.m. ET

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has left Cairo for his winter home in the resort town of Shamr el-Sheikh, one day after his address on national television angered protesters, who then marched on the state television headquarters and presidential palace. He is expected to make another statement soon.

Updated 8:15 a.m. ET, Feb. 11

Watch: Raw Video: Protesters Swarm Cairo Again

Egypt’s army appeared to back President Hosni Mubarak’s plan for transition, which would keep him in office until a scheduled September election. The army also said it would put an end to emergency rule when the situation calms.

Mubarak’s address to the nation late Thursday night in Cairo angered the demonstrators, many of whom had expected the longtime president to meet their demands and stand down.

Protesters marched to the state television headquarters and Mubarak’s presidential palace in response. The transfer of some authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman did little to placate the crowds, many of whom began to shout angrily as Mubarak was speaking.

The protests are now in their 18th day, with massive crowds in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of the country.

Updated 4:50 p.m. ET, Feb. 10

Watch: Raw Video: Crowds in Egypt React to President Mubarak’s Speech

Updated 4:45 p.m. ET

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, appearing on state television soon after President Hosni Mubarak said he would give him some authorities, said Thursday night that he and the president were committed to a peaceful transition and open to dialog on the upcoming constitutional changes.

“This heroic people and nation will not be driven to chaos,” he said, according to a translator. Mubarak had previously said if he left office, chaos would reign.

Suleiman also told the protesters to go back home and back to their jobs to help the nation. He told them not to listen to forces seeking to deface the image of Egypt.

Updated 4:15 p.m. ET

President Hosni Mubarak delivered a long-awaited address to Egyptians at around 11 p.m. Cairo time. Despite 17 days of protests, he did not heed calls to leave office but instead said he would transfer some authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Of the dead and injured, he told the crowd “their blood will not go in vain,” according to a translator, and he said he will punish those responsible.

“Your demands are legitimate,” he told the demonstrators, according to a translation.

Mubarak said “fair and free elections” will be held to determine his successor, adding that he will fulfill his pledge until “together we take Egypt to the shore of safety.”

“A peaceful transfer of power we start from now until September,” he said.

He touted his constitutional commission, and amendments being made to the constitution, and attempted to paint the events as part of a wider trend, saying “the current time is not about me, the situation is not about Hosni Mubarak [but] about Egypt.”

“The majority of the Egyptian people know who Hosni Mubarak is, it pains me what has been expressed by some people from my own country,” he added.

His remarks were met with angry chants of “get out, get out” from the crowd in Tahrir Square.

Updated 3:20 p.m. ET

Watch our live feed from Tahrir Square, where crowds are anxiously anticipating a possible announcement from President Hosni Mubarak.

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

Watch: Obama on Egypt: ‘We Are Witnessing History Unfold’

Updated 1:45 p.m. ET

President Obama, speaking to business leaders in Marquette, Mich., said he wanted all Egyptians to know that “America will support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt.”

Mr. Obama said he is watching events in Egypt as they develop, but “what is absolutely clear is we are witnessing history unfold.”

These events are occurring because of protesters young and old calling for change, he said.

Updated 12:35 p.m. ET

State television is reporting that Mubarak is meeting with his vice president at his palace in Cairo, as speculation about a possible announcement has drawn larger crowds to the square.

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET

Watch: Egypt Army Steps In, Sign Mubarak Has Lost Power

Updated 11:30 a.m ET

Margaret Warner in Cairo reports that sources are telling her the “high council” of Egypt’s military force is currently in session without President Hosni Mubarak or Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Egypt’s military said on national television it has moved in to “safeguard the country,” as confusion grew over Mubarak’s future and how strong his hold on power is.

Updated 11:15 a.m. ET

CIA Director Leon Panetta told the House intelligence committee, “There is a strong likelihood that Mubarak will step down this evening.”

Updated 10:45 a.m. ET, Feb. 10

Labor strikes in Egypt added to the pressure on the government, as thousands of workers in vital sectors added their weight to protesters camped out in Tahrir Square for the 17th day.

Army and political sources are saying President Hosni Mubarak is expected to speak, and that he will meet their demands, according to the Associated Press. It has not been confirmed if that means he will step down, a rallying cry of demonstrators since the protests began.

Updated 6:19 p.m. ET

Watch the State Department response to the interview:

Watch: State Department on Egypt Policy: ‘We Are Not Trying to Dictate Anything’

Updated 5 p.m. ET

Watch excerpts of the interview:

Watch: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Tells U.S. Not to Impose Its Will

Watch: Egyptian Foreign Minister: Violence Possible If Standoff Continues

Updated 4 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs commented on the interview, saying “an orderly transition must begin now” in Egypt and that “what the government has thus far put forward has yet to meet a minimum threshold for the people of Egypt,” spurring continued protests.

Watch: Gibbs Comments on Egypt Foreign Minister’s NewsHour Interview

Updated 3 p.m. ET

Read more about Margaret Warner’s interview with Gheit, including a transcript, here.

Updated 2:15 p.m. ET

Egypt’s foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, told Margaret Warner that sudden change in Egypt would bring risks, and that advice from U.S. politicians is “not at all” helpful. He said that the government needs to be able to stabilize the country before emergency law can be lifted, a request that had been conveyed by Vice President Joe Biden.

Watch more of the interview on tonight’s NewsHour.

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET

In an interview with CNN, Google executive Wael Ghonim described himself as “ready to die” to bring change to Egypt, days after being released by authorities. Ghonim was detained for his role in organizing a Facebook page that spurred protests early on. He has rejected talks of negotiations with the government.

Ghonim has been widely hailed by the anti-government demonstrators since his release, treated as a symbol of their demands. Sixteen days into the protests, many are still camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET, Feb. 9

Watch: Raw Video: Protest Enters Third Week in Egypt

Anti-government protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square remained in place for a 16th day, blocking the entrance to Parliament and calling on President Hosni Mubarak to step down. He has thus far repeatedly refused to do so but promised reforms and a transition of power.

Signs of unrest could be seen elsewhere in Egypt as workers went on strike at the Suez Canal, an important avenue for trade, and one person was reportedly killed in protests in New Valley province, 300 miles away from Cairo.

Vice President Omar Suleiman hinted that if disruptions continued, the state may use martial law to clear demonstrations.

Updated 4:30 p.m. ET

The appearance of freed Google executive Wael Ghonim, 30, who was behind a Facebook site calling for the initial protests that sparked mass demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak, helped bring some of the largest protests in the last two weeks to Tahrir Square. The Associated Press estimates that 250,000 people converged on the square Tuesday, rivaling large protests late last week.

Ghonim’s appearance helped rally protesters, who have continued to call for Mubarak to leave office despite some government concessions aimed to slow the demonstrations.

The lack of a unified or organized opposition has raised questions about whether or not the movement is vulnerable to fracture or disintegration.

Updated 1 p.m. ET

Watch: Google Exec Freed in Egypt Rejoins Protests

Updated 11 a.m. ET, Feb. 8

The Egyptian government says it is moving toward a transition of power, with President Hosni Mubarak welcoming “dialogue,” according to Vice President Omar Suleiman. Two committees will be formed to amend the constitution and be responsible for carrying out new agreements, according to Suleiman. He said repression against protesters would be investigated and stopped.

Many of the protesters who could be seen in Cairo’s Tahrir Square had their doubts about a government-led transition, continuing their calls for Mubarak to leave office immediately. They have questioned the government’s promises of gradual change.

Despite the protests stretching into a third week, there have been some signs of normalcy in Cairo with traffic routing around the protesters and schools and businesses reopening.

Updated 4:15 p.m. ET

Egypt’s government offered a 15 percent pay raise for public employees, the latest step in a series of attempts to quiet the protests that have consumed much of Cairo for the past two weeks.

On Monday traffic could be seen on the streets and banks reopened as signs of normalcy returning. But the stock market is not scheduled to reopen until Feb. 13.

Updated 2:20 p.m. ET

Watch: Egypt: More Protests, Gov’t Gives Out Pay Raise

Updated 8:30 a.m. ET, Feb. 7

Watch: Raw Video: Protests Enter 14th Day in Cairo

Two weeks after protesters amassed in downtown Cairo, schools and banks reopened Monday as thousands of people continued to occupy the city’s Tahrir Square, calling on President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately instead of at the end of his term in September. The army, whose tanks could be seen in downtown Cairo for much of the past week, maintained its agreement not to use violence against the protesters.

The stalemate continued with some opposition groups agreeing to negotiations Saturday with the government, but the talks failed to reach an agreement. The country’s most recognizable opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said it would be present at future meetings only if there were steps taken to release political prisoners and for Mubarak to leave office.

The U.S. government has repeated calls for non-violence and for a political transition, but shied away from echoing protesters’ demands for Mubarak to step down immediately. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters Saturday that “those of us who are trying to make helpful offers of assistance and suggestions for how to proceed are still, at the end, on the outside looking in.” President Obama echoed a similar sentiment, saying on Fox News Sunday that the United States “can’t forcefully dictate, but what we can do is say the time is now for you to start making a change in your country.”

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET, Feb. 6

President Obama said Sunday afternoon in a Fox News interview that “the time is now” for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to bring about change in his country.

Watch: NFL on FOX: O’Reilly interviews Obama

“The U.S. can’t forcefully dictate, but what we can do is say the time is now for you to start making a change in your country,” said Mr. Obama.

He would not speculate on Mubarak’s next steps, saying, “Only he knows what he’s going to do.”

“Mubarak has already decided he’s not going to run again,” the president said.

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET

Opposition groups that met Sunday with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said the talks were positive, yet fell short of meeting their demands for wholesale political change, according to Reuters.

Suleiman agreed to a number of the protesters’ demands, including freedom of the press, the release of those detained since the anti-government uprising began almost two weeks ago, and the lifting of the emergency law when security permits, the Associated Press reported.

Watch: Egypt Makes New Concessions to Opposition

The Egyptian government also agreed to the opposition’s proposal to set up a committee to study proposed changes to the nation’s constitution that would impose term limits on the presidency and allow more candidates to run for that office. The committee is charged with completing its work by the first week of March, according to the AP.

Sunday’s gathering included the broadest representation of opposition leaders to meet with Egyptian government officials since the beginning of the protests and reportedly included members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the meeting with Suleiman “is frankly quite extraordinary” and that the rolling back of the emergency law is “a major, major opening of the door to the democratic process.”

But Abdel Monem Aboul Fotouh, who represented the Muslim Brotherhood at Sunday’s meeting, said the talks signified “good intentions, but does not include any solid changes,” quoted Reuters. “We need President Mubarak to issue presidential decrees to change Articles 76 [and] 77, dissolve the parliament, release all political detainees the government knows very well, end emergency status,” he said.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who has emerged as one of the spokesmen for the opposition, said on “Meet the Press” that despite the talks, opponents are still wary of the government.

“There is huge lack of confidence between the government and the demonstrators,” he said. “There is a good deal of fear that the government will retrench and then come back again with vengeance.”

He did say President Mubarak had a right to stay in Egypt and be “treated with the respect he deserves as a former president of Egypt,” but that he should cede power, in the views of the demonstrators.

ElBaradei called for a three-person transitional caretaker government that would oversee the coming year and prepare for elections. The right to establish parties has to be put in place, and the government did not guarantee that, he said. He also called for suspending the current Parliament and constitution, which he called “dictatorial.”

Meanwhile, on the streets in Egypt there were signs that the “paralysis that has gripped the country since the crisis” began was beginning to ease, the AP reported. Some banks and schools that had been closed reopened.

But activists at Tahrir Square, where most of the protests over the past two weeks have occurred, vowed to continue their demonstrations.

“We are determined to press on until our number one demand is met,” said Khaled Abdul-Hameed, a representative of the protesters, AP reported. He said the activists have formed a 10-member “Coalition of the Youths of Egypt’s Revolution” to relay their positions to politicians and public figures negotiating with the regime.

“The regime is retreating. It is making more concessions every day,” Abdul-Hameed said.

Updated 7:30 p.m. ET, Feb. 5

U.S. special envoy Frank Wisner said President Hosni Mubarak “must stay in office” during the period of transition, a comment the State Department said did not reflect an official view of the U.S. government. Wisner, a former ambassador, traveled to Egypt last week but is not there in an official capacity.

In a news conference Friday, President Obama had reiterated the stance that the transition must be run by Egyptians.

Some opposition groups agreed to talks with Vice President Omar Suleiman, causing division with those that had refused to enter any negotiations.

Updated 12 p.m. ET

Watch: Raw Video: Protest Continue in Cairo

Protests continued in Cairo Saturday evening as members of the army tried to secure parts of Tahrir Square and President Hosni Mubarak met with ministers to discuss the country’s financial situation. The unrest that has shaken Egypt has cost its economy an estimated $310 million per day, shuttering banks and the stock market amid growing uncertainty over political stability.

Vice President Omar Suleiman met with opposition groups for negotiations, a departure for some groups that had insisted Mubarak leave office first. It was not known if the Muslim Brotherhood, the most prominent of the opposition factions, had agreed to be part of those talks. Mubarak repeatedly insisted that he will not leave office before the end of his term. Many of the demonstrators have repeated their claim that they will not give up until their demands are heeded.

According to state television, Mubarak’s son Gamal and other members of the country’s ruling National Democratic Party had stepped down. There had been speculation that Mubarak wanted his son to succeed him, a prospect that helped fuel the protests early on. In an interview with ABC News, Mubarak said that after he left office his son would not stand for election.

The demonstrations are now in their 12th day. On Saturday there was a calmer atmosphere in Tahrir Square, absent the violence and chaos from earlier in the week, causing deaths and injuries and an international furor over the detention of journalists and human rights activists.

Updated 5 p.m. ET, Feb. 4

Watch: President Obama Answers Questions From Press on Egypt

President Obama avoided directly calling on Mubarak to step down, saying instead that he should take into consideration the best interests of the process.

“I believe that President Mubarak cares about his country,” the president said during a question and answer session with reporters. Since Mubarak has made the decision not to run again, Mr. Obama said the question for Egyptians is how to “make that transition effective.”

“If you have the pretense of reform but not real reform that’s not going to be effective, ” he added.

Updated 4 p.m. ET

Watch: Harper: ‘Transition is Occurring and Will Occur in Egypt’

Updated 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: President Obama on Egypt: ‘We Oppose Violence As a Response to This Crisis’

President Obama addressed the crisis in Egypt during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was visiting the White House for meetings on trade, border issues and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

He largely echoed the message put forth by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying “we continue to be crystal clear that we oppose violence as a response to this crisis,” and condemning attacks on journalists and human rights groups, plus demonstrators, whom he called on to protest peacefully.

“We are encouraged by the restraint that was shown today. We hope it continues,” he added.

The president said, “there needs to be a transition process that begins now … [that] must respect universal rights of Egyptian people,” and that the “details of this transition will be worked out by Egyptians.”

“We want to see this moment of turmoil turn into a moment of opportunity,” he said.

Updated 2 p.m. ET

Following President Mubarak’s remarks to ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour, whom he told he was “fed up” with the burdens of being in office, opposition leader and former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said: “We as a people are fed up as well, it is not only him.”

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET

Watch: More Mass Protests in Egypt Push Mubarak to Go

Updated 11:45 a.m. ET

Watch: Egyptian Protesters Chanting in Tahrir Square

Updated 11 a.m. ET

Watch: Egypt Protesters Say Evening Prayers in Tahrir Square

Updated 9:30 a.m. ET

Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered once again in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in what some are calling the “day of departure” protests for President Hosni Mubarak.

There was an increased army presence in light of the chaos and violence that led to casualties Thursday. Mubarak supporters who were seen on horse and camelback did not appear to be in the square Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour talked to Mubarak, who ruled out stepping down immediately because he said it would cause chaos.

Watch: ABC’s Amanpour Interviews Mubarak, Suleiman

Updated 5:10 p.m. ET, Feb. 3

Watch: Cairo Square Chaos Intensifies, Violence Spreads

Updated 3:45 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in on the crisis in Egypt, calling the latest events “unacceptable under any circumstances” and condemning the attacks on demonstrators, journalists, and human rights activists.

Clinton called on the Egyptian government “to protect those threatened and to hold accountable those responsible for these attacks” and to begin negotiations on “peaceful and orderly transition.”

“The Egyptian people expect a meaningful process that yields concrete changes,” she said.

Updated 3 p.m. ET

President Hosni Mubarak told ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview that if he resigned today, it would cause chaos. He indicated that he would like to but is staying for the sake of stability.

“I don’t care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt,” he told Amanpour.

Mubarak remains in the presidential palace under heavy guard.

He said hints from the U.S. about him stepping down showed a lack of understanding of the situation on the ground in Egypt.

He added that he had no intention of his son, Gamal, succeeding him.

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET

In a televised interview, Egypt’s vice president Omar Suleiman cast some of the blame for the protests on foreign interference. “When there are demonstrations of this size, there will be foreigners who come and take advantage and they have an agenda to raise the energy of the protesters,” he said.

Reports have described attacks on foreign journalists by pro-government mobs and some reportedly were detained by the army. The offices of human rights groups also were stormed by Egyptian army troops, according to the Associated Press.

Rocks were thrown and fires set as lawlessness grew. Amateur video showed demonstrators being hit by a speeding van.

The death and injury toll continues to rise amid the chaos.

Updated 11:45 a.m. ET

Egypt’s vice president Omar Suleiman, in remarks on state television, called for dialogue and said a timeline needs to be in place in anticipation of the transition away from Mubarak. He also reiterated the prime minister’s remarks that those responsible for the perpetuating violence would be held accountable, pending the results of a government investigation.

He also said the president’s son will not succeed him, one of the original demands of the anti-Mubarak protesters.

He said the opposition group known as the Muslim Brotherhood were invited for talks with the government, although they had not yet agreed to dialogue.

Read more of his remarks from the BBC here.

The Associated Press reports that at least eight people have died in and around Tahrir Square.

(See a map showing where the clashes are taking place here).

Updated 11:30 a.m. ET

Watch: Raw Video: Lawlessness on the Streets of Cairo

Updated 11 a.m. ET

The Associated Press is reporting that foreign journalists have been detained by the army, and the Washington Post Tweeted that its Cairo bureau chief and a photographer were being held. At least eight foreign journalists were seen in army custody near Tahrir Square.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported that he and his crew were punched by people on the street who tried to take their camera gear.

Vodafone said Thursday that Egyptian authorities had ordered them to send text messages to users, part of the disruption on Internet access and phone service during the protests.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said via Twitter, “There is a concerted campaign to intimidate international journalists in #Cairo and interfere with their reporting. We condemn such actions.”

Updated 10:30 a.m. ET

Following on the heels of the prime minister’s apology, the country’s prosecutor general announced a ban on travel and froze the bank accounts of the former interior ministerwho participated in the crackdown of protesters last week. The government’s steps to appease protesters came after violence broke out in Tahrir Square Wednesday afternoon and night.

Updated 9:30 a.m. ET

Watch: Egyptian Protesters Hang on Through Clashes

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq apologized for the uncontrolled violence in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that left five dead and injured hundreds, promising an inquiry into the “fatal error” as clashes escalated between anti-government demonstrators and pro-Mubarak elements. While Shafiq echoed government calls for the protesters to return home, he said “there is no excuse whatsoever to attack peaceful protesters” and promised those who did would be punished.

The casualties increased as stones, concrete and firebombs were thrown. The army initially refrained from intervening as the chaos grew. According to a BBC correspondent, some of the pro-government attackers appeared to be policemen in plain-clothes, though the exact composition of the groups was difficult to determine. Many rode in on camel or horseback to confront the anti-government demonstrators.

The protesters are calling on President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately. Mubarak has announced he will not seek re-election when his term expires, but the promise was insufficient for those calling for him to leave office immediately.

Updated 5:15 p.m. ET, Feb. 2

At least three people have died and an estimated 600 have been injured in the outbreak of violence, the Associated Press reports.

Updated 4:15 p.m. ET

Watch: Raw Video: Dramatic New Images of Cairo Violence

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

Watch: Gibbs: Obama Condemns Violence, Calls for Change

Updated 1:45 p.m. ET

Egypt’s Health Minister Ahmed Sameh Farid said one person died falling from a bridge and 596 have been injured in growing violence in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

State television has ordered all protesters out of the area, warning of unnamed “provocative elements throwing firebombs.”

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said “horrible violence” in Egypt is being monitored closely by the U.S. government. He said he “doesn’t want to get into a series of hypotheticals,” but the American Embassy and counterparts in Washington are planning for possible outcomes.

Gibbs said the administration believes Mubarak “has a chance to show the world exactly who he is by beginning this transition,” referring to his plan not to seek reelection.

“What we’re watching is history being made,” he said.

Updated 1 p.m. ET

Watch: Raw Video: Shots Heard, Firebombs Seen in Cairo

Updated 11:50 a.m. ET

Firebombs and bottles were thrown in growing violence between the two sides, and part of a museum was set ablaze. Tahrir Square was the center of the fighting. No police were reported to be on the scene, and the army has not yet intervened.

An anti-government demonstrator could be heard on loudspeaker saying the pro-Mubarak crowds that rode in on camel and horseback were sanctioned by Mubarak himself to attack them.

Updated 10:50 a.m. ET

Watch: Raw Video: Clashes Erupt in Cairo

Violence between Mubarak supporters and anti-government demonstrators escalated in the center of Cairo as some waved machetes and threw rocks or chunks of concrete. The injured were taken to makeshift clinics, according to the Associated Press.

Soldiers in Tahrir Square fired warning shots, but did not intervene in the clashes.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley expressed concern on Twitter about “detentions and attacks on news media in Egypt.”

Updated 10 a.m. ET

Some Mubarak supporters were riding horses and camels and bearing whips as clashes with demonstrators grew more chaotic in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Wednesday. Demonstrators were seen dragging people off the animals and beating them, marking the most violent clashes yet between the two sides. An estimated 10,000 people were in the square.

Updated 9 a.m. ET

One day after President Hosni Mubarak announced he will not seek re-election this fall, demonstrators are still on the streets of Cairo and throughout Egypt calling for him to step down immediately.

There were reports of violence and injuries as pro-Mubarak protesters clashed with the crowds, adding a new element of chaos to the scene in Cairo and Alexandria. Many of Mubarak’s supporters appeared to be bused in. The demonstrators reportedly threw rocks at each other. The army, which had announced it would not use force against the protesters, has told the crowd to “go home” and return to normal life in anticipation of the transition of power. But many have ignored the statement. “Your message has arrived, your demands became known,” an army spokesman said in a televised address.

Internet service was restored.

Updated 7 p.m. ET, Feb. 1

After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he will not run for re-election, President Obama spoke briefly Tuesday evening at the White House, saying Mubarak acknowledged in a phone call that “he recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and a change must take place.”

The president said he told the embattled Egyptian leader that an orderly transition must be meaningful, peaceful, begin immediately and must include opposition parties.

Even though many questions about Egypt’s future remain unanswered, the U.S. remains committed to maintaining a strong partnership, he said.

Watch: Obama to Young Egyptians: ‘We Hear Your Voices’

Updated 4 p.m. ET

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced Tuesday night that he will not run again in the country’s elections in September and would work during the remainder of his term on a “peaceful transfer of power.”

“I have spent enough time serving Egypt, and I am now careful to conclude my work for Egypt by presenting Egypt to the next government in a constitutional way which will protect Egypt,” Mubarak said in a televised address.

This video is being translated and subtitled thanks to a partnership with Universal Subtitles, a project of the Participatory Culture Foundation.

His words were met with yells in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, where an estimated 250,000 people had amassed demanding he step down.

Updated 3 p.m. ET

Watch: Raw Video: Huge Protest Remains Into Cairo Night

Updated 1 p.m. ET

Evacuations continued at an accelerated pace in Cairo, with reports of disorder and physical altercations at Cairo Airport as food supplies ran out, planes were delayed and long lines frustrated passengers. A reported 18,000 people crammed into the airport, trying to beat a curfew and heightening the already tense rush to depart. There were reports of police demanding bribes to board planes.

The U.S. government has ordered all non-emergency personnel stationed in Egypt to leave the country.

Updated 11:30 a.m. ET

Watch: Egypt Protest: Masses Rally to Oust Mubarak

Estimates put the number of demonstrators Tuesday in downtown Cairo at more than a quarter million, representing a cross section of ages and economic backgrounds. The protests are believed to be the largest since unrest began in Egypt more than a week ago.

The demonstrations continued to be largely peaceful, and the army appeared to uphold its announcement that it would not use force against the protesters.

Many sang songs, chanted and danced in the crowd.

Raw Video: Protest Preparations in Cairo

Thousands of protesters have responded to a call to demonstrate on the streets of Cairo Tuesday. There are also demonstrations in Alexandria in the northern part of the country.

Organizers are hoping to reach a turnout of one million people. Though there are not official tallies available, observers say the crowd is much larger than in previous days. (Read more on the development of the protests here).

Updated 8 a.m. ET

Thousands of Egyptians gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Feb. 1, 2011. (Khaled DesoukiI/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite a curfew and military barricades, the demonstrations have been largely peaceful. The army announced Monday that it would not use force to contain protesters.

Sentiment against President Hosni Mubarak has grown stronger, as signs and banners were seen in Tahrir Square and an effigy was placed on one of the traffic lights. Mubarak reshuffled his cabinet in an attempt to placate protesters, but the changes have not lessened calls for his resignation.

Internet access is still shut down in the capital, and the unrest has disrupted transit in and out of the capital. Grocery stores have been running out of supplies and some have formed makeshift guardposts to protect their property.

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