afrol News, 3 February - Protesters were able to hold and fortify their positions in central Cairo during Thursday. President Mubarak's plan to crush the revolution seems to fail and the opposition today has strength behind its demands.
15:59 - "We are hundreds of thousands in the square [Tahrir], I hear gun shots. They'd be mad if they repeated what they did yesterday," an activist just tweeted from central Cairo. Others report that people are in good spirits on the square.
15:55 - There is still some fighting along main roads and bridges leading to Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Occasional gunshots are heard, with protesters reporting from the battle zone saying they "assume" it is the army shooting in the air. Tahrir Square however does not seem seriously threatened.
15:41 - Today, with less pro-regime agents in the streets, it seems that the major battles in Rgypt are fought within the regime's ranks. There are clear and obvious splits, with an increasing number of high officials distansing themselves from the regime (see below).
15:38 - Egypt's state TV in a new announcement says that neither President Mubarak's son Gamal, nor the new Vice President Omar Suleiman would stand candidates in the upcoming September presidential elections.
15:34 - Egypt's state TV has announced an order from the Attorney General, saying that igh officials of the Mubarak regime are not allowed to leave the country and that their assets have been frozen. It was unclear who was to be affected by the order, but outlined that the former Minister of the Interior was among them.
15:29 - A large protest march is moving along the coastal avenue in Alexandria, shouting anti-Mubarak slogans and support for the protesters in central Cairo. The protest in Alexandria today seems peaceful, not being attacked by pro-regime agents.
15:14 - The pro-regime mob, on the defensive in Cairo's central area, is observed on several parts of the city, vandalising and intimidating. Especially places known to house foreigners seem to be favourite targets of the mob.
15:02 - Protesters at Cairo's Tahrir Square report they now feel safe and that attacks are not reaching them, thanking the brave ones securing the barricades and fighting pro-regime agents in the outskirts of Tahrir.
14:48 - Vodafone today contacted international media, saying it was forced "to send out pro-Mubarak text messages" to its many Egyptian customers, adding that this was "unacceptable".
14:44 - There are new battles fought between protesters and pro-regime agents, with much stone-throwing, in the areas outside the barricades. It looks like the protesters are able to chase the regime supporters further away from Tahrir Square and the main roads leading to it. The army does not intervene.
14:41 - Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has just made a speech broadcasted on state TV, saying there would be a "full investigation" into yesterday's violence, calling it "a tragedy".
14:22 - Egyptian police, when not organising the pro-regime mob in the streets, seems to focus on arresting opposition voices. Yet another prominent anti-government blogger, "Sandmonkey", reportedly was arrested today. Equally, journalists are constantly attacked (see below).
14:08 - The Mubarak regime today seems more split than ever, with Prime Minister Shafiq (see below) increasingly distancing himself from President Mubarak. Also the Minister of Antiquities yesterday evening condemned the regime's violent attacks, blaming Mubarak. The army today clearly is on the side of the protesters. Does Mubarak have any more cards to play?
14:04 - Repeated gunshots are heard in central Cairo. Most reports agree that it is the army shooting into the air, at several occasions, warning pro-regime agents that try to make advances towards Tahrir Square.
13:59 - Egypt's official 'MENA' news agency quotes Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq as saying that he is ready to go to Tahrir Square to talk to protesters.
13:46 - The pro-regime agents increasingly are throwing stones over the no-man's land controlled by the army, into the protesters' camp. Some minutes ago, the army for the fist time fired gunshots - but only into the air - to disperse the pro-regime mob that was trying to advance towards the barricades. The army is serious, it insists in protecting the protesters.
13:43 - In central Cairo, people are finding it difficult to reach Tahrir as the pro-Mubarak mob is outside the barricades, harassing everybody trying to enter the central area held by the protesters (and protected by the army).
13:41 - In most of Egypt's smaller cities, the situation is similar to Hurghada (see below). Police still control the situation, suppressing any attempts to demonstrate against the regime and intimidating the population. There have however been reports of protests in Luxor and Aswan, among others.
13:38 - In Egypt's famous Red Sea reports Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheikh, tourists are continuously being evacuated. So far, there have been no popular protests in these resorts, totally dependent on tourism. Yesterday, however, pro-Mubarak agents took to the streets in Hurghada, intimidating local residents. Today, there are few reports, but many locals keep at home and keep their shops closed.
13:32 - Reports from Suez are scarce, but several refer to a demonstration being organised in the city centre right now, "in support of the protesters at Tahrir."
13:30 - In Alexandria, there is right now "a huge demo passing by Saba Basha," close to the university, Ehab El-Badry reports from Egypt's second city. In Alexandria yesterday, the worst violence was avoided as protesters tried to stay in open avenues and avoid the pro-Mubarak agents wanting to attack them.
13:23 - "There must be 100,000 protesters at least today, stretching out across Tahrir and side streets," Hossam el-Hamalawy tweets from Cairo.
13:19 - Foreigners are hunted down in Cairo. Even at Tahrir, plain-clothed officers are asking foreign-looking persons for ID, deporting any foreign national. It remains unclear where foreigners are brought. Especially journalists remain the target of attack of regime agents (see below).
13:14 - "More and more people are coming in" to Tahrir Square, tweets Hossam el-Hamalawy from Cairo.
13:11 - Logistics at Cairo's Tahrir Square remain a problem, as everything has to pass through the barricades where the pro-Mubarak mob is trying to hinder goods from reaching the protesters. Tweets today from Tahrir urge people to "conceal well" any medical supplies, carrying it to the square, where it is much needed.
13:06 - It seems to be a stand-off situation today, where it is important for the regime to be able to broadcast pictures on state TV that "the masses are protesting in favour of Mubarak" - which is of course a total manipulation - and where the protesters need to maintain their positions in advance of tomorrow's expected showdown. Tomorrow, after the Friday prayers that will bring masses out to the streets, a march towards the presidential palace is planned.
13:01 - The army on several occasions successfully is driving back attacks from pro-regime agents against the protesters on Tahrir Square.
12:50 - Reports from Cairo's Tahrir Square agree that the Egyptian army is doing its best to hinder the pro-Mubarak mob to attack the protesters' positions. The army's "line of control" is becoming more effective in preventing the violence that rocked the city yesterday.
12:46 - The pro-Mubarak mob continues its attacks on international journalists. 'Al Jazeera' journalist Greg Carlstrom reports the mob close to Tahrir Square seized and destroyed journalists' cameras; Australian reporter Hamish Macdonald says "an aggressive mob" just carried away a foreign journalist; and Norwegian journalist Fredrik Græsvik reports that "soldiers and security guards are seizing equipment from journalists, both in the hotel and out in the streets."
12:39 - Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman today has held talks with six minor opposition parties, said to be friendly to the regime. This could be an offer for them to participate in a "national unity government". The parties however do not represent the main opposition in Egypt, which currently flocks around Mr ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood.
12:29 - The political opposition, including Mohammad ElBarabei and the Muslim Brotherhood, seems to have strengthened its position through the shocking violence orchestrated yesterday by the Mubarak regime. They have today made it clear there is nothing to negotiate about before President Mubarak steps down. The international support for their demand is also increasing.
12:22 - Ten minutes ago, pro-Mubarak agents stormed through military barricades towards the protesters' camps. They were allowed to attack, throw stones, but soon retreated.
12:00 - Egypt's Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq on privately-owned 'al-Hayat' television today apologised for yesterday's violence on Tahrir Square and pledged to investigate it. "There is no excuse whatsoever to attack peaceful protesters, and that is why I am apologising," he said. But he nevertheless urged the protesters "to go home to help end this crisis."
11:50 - The army in Cairo seems to have been given orders to better protect the protesters. The have fortified the protesters' barricades, creating an out ring of protection that would make it difficult for pro-regime agents to enter the area under protesters' control. However, stones are thrown over the "no-man's land" - the area held by the army - especially towards the protesters.
11:45 - Pro-democracy protesters have managed to hold their positions throughout the night, at least in Cairo, were Tahrir Square and several quarters beyond are firmly in their hands.
11:40 - afrol News studio hosts reopen the Egypt protests' live studio after a much needed break. If you are in Egypt, or can contribute with photos, please tweet us at @afroleditor. We thank our readers for your massive interest!
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