Timeline of Egyptian protests

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 1, 2011 

Eleven days of massive street protests throughout Egypt have shaken that country and the entire Arab world, and brought a pledge by President Hosni Mubarak to step down after three decades of rule. Here's how the protests evolved day-to-day as recorded by McClatchy's Middle East bureau chief, Hannah Allam:

Tuesday, Jan. 25 — Dubbed the "Day of Rage," this was the first large-scale protest organized by young Egyptians who were inspired by a popular uprising in Tunisia. It began peacefully, but turned violent when police used tear gas and water hoses to disperse crowds in downtown Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Wednesday, Jan. 26 — Despite a government order against further protests, small-scale gatherings continued, along with sporadic clashes between police and demonstrators. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, and opposition groups began to coalesce. Egypt's stock market plunged as investors panicked over the unrest.

Thursday, Jan. 27 — Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, the former U.N. nuclear watchdog, returned to his native Egypt to take a leadership role in the protest movement. Mubarak's ruling party announced it would open talks with opposition groups, but offered no concessions. Rallies in Cairo and other cities turned deadly. That night, the government shut down Internet service. Access to Twitter and opposition news sites was shut down throughout the country.

Friday, Jan. 28 — Cell-phone service was cut throughout Egypt to stop protesters from organizing rallies after midday prayers. Peaceful protests turned into violent riots across Egypt as huge crowds overwhelmed the police, torched police stations and freed prisoners. The Cairo headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party was looted and burned. The government imposed a 6 p.m. curfew in major cities. Mubarak made a late-night speech saying he'd appoint a new cabinet.

Saturday, Jan. 29 — The police vanished overnight, and looters ransacked shopping districts throughout Cairo and the suburbs. Residents formed neighborhood watch groups to protect their property. Rallies continued at Tahrir Square and other sites. Mubarak named his intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his first ever vice president.

Sunday, Jan. 30 — Bread and other staples disappeared from store shelves as Egyptians stockpiled goods. Banks were closed, and fuel stations ran low on gas. ElBaradei joined protesters at Tahrir Square. President Barack Obama called for an "orderly transition" of power in Egypt.

Monday, Jan. 31 — Throngs of protesters gathered again downtown. Mubarak announced his new cabinet, mostly the same old faces. The most significant appointment was of a new interior minister, a retired police general. Opposition groups rejected the reshuffling and planned a "million-strong" march.

Tuesday, Feb. 1 — Hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded into Tahrir Square for the biggest rally of the week. The mood was festive and peaceful, with no sign of riot police and only a muted military presence. At about 11 p.m., Mubarak announced he'd step down from the presidency in September. Obama called Mubarak and said an orderly transition "must be meaningful and peaceful, must begin now and must include opposition parties."

Wednesday, Feb. 2 — Immediately after Mubarak said he'd serve the remainder of his term, his supporters took to the streets en masse for the first time since the crisis began. Carrying sticks and even riding horses and camels, they attacked unarmed protesters in Tahrir Square in clashes that lasted through the night. The organized attack, aided by minibuses and apparent police involvement, was widely denounced as Mubarak unleashing his thugs on the opposition. By midnight, it was still unclear who had control of the square or how many casualties were reported in the violence.

Thursday, Feb. 3: Mubarak told ABC's Christiane Amanpour that he'd like to step down immediately but couldn't risk Egypt falling into chaos. Anti-government protesters retook Tahrir Square and fought only sporadic clashes with the remaining pro-Mubarak mobs. Rocks and bloodstains were left over from a nightlong battle. Pro-Mubarak thugs, military police and other groups attacked Egyptian and foreign journalists, beating them and seizing their equipment. Authorities also reportedly rounded up dozens of journalists.

Friday, Feb. 4: Hundreds of thousands of protesters held what they dubbed the "Day of Departure," but Mubarak refused to step down despite growing international pressure. The rally went peacefully, with only small clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators. Outside Tahrir Square, many Egyptians were growing weary of the revolt, which has paralyzed downtown Cairo and devastated the tourism industry.

McClatchy Newspapers 2010

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