Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square defy curfew
Demonstrations now in 7th day; army reportedly says it won't harm protesters; State Dept. apparently responsible for journalists' release.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS, JPOST.COM STAFF
January 31, 2011 20:18
2 minute read.
Tahrir Square crowds protesters 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square Monday afternoon as
anti-government protests continued for the seventh day, the pan-Arab 24-hour news network Al-Jazeera reported.The message from the Egyptian army came as one of the largest protests yet was taking place in Cairo's central Tahrir Square.
Protesters ignored the
state-imposed curfew which began at 3 p.m. as a coalition of opposition
groups called for a million people to take to the streets Tuesday to
demand the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the clearest
sign yet that a unified leadership was emerging for Egypt's powerful but
disparate protest movement.
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its bottom-screen ticker, Egyptian state television quoted a message
from the Egyptian army saying that they will not use force against the
Egyptian people, CNN reported Monday evening through its Twitter feed.
The New York Times, however, said via its Twitter feed that one of its photographers reported rubber bullets being fired in Egypt Monday evening.
It was not clear exactly where the the incident was taking place.
Monday, Al-Jazeera reported that six of its journalists were in
Egyptian custody after authorities ordered the closure of the network's
Cairo office. By mid-afternoon, the network reported via Twitter that
the six were released but that authorities had seized their equipment.
A Washington Post report Monday evening claimed that the journalists'
release was secured by pressure from the US State Department. The
Qatar-based network said the journalists were
working for its English-language channel — a sister operation to the
flagship Arabic service.
The detentions came a day after Egyptian
authorities shut Al-Jazeera's office, complaining its round-the-clock
coverage was slanted toward protesters and could encourage more unrest
which has reached its seventh day.
Al-Jazeera denounced the
closure as an attempt to muzzle open reporting as anti-government
demonstrations and protests continued. The network had managed to
continue coverage in Egypt with fixed-position cameras and reports by
Also on Monday, EU Foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said that the European
Union "stands ready to assist Egypt now and, of course, into the
She called on Egyptian police forces to show restraint
in order to avoid further violence and loss of life. Ashton called for
open dialogue between the Egyptian leadership and the opposition
legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people should be responded to –
their aspirations for a just, for a better future should be met with
urgent, concrete and decisive answers and with real steps," Ashton
On Monday morning, Egyptian helicopters were sighted flying above Tahrir Square, CNN reported.