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Egypt unrest: Day 12 as it happened

  • Crowds of demonstrators continued to occupy Tahrir Square in central Cairo, following the huge anti-government rally on Friday.
  • In an apparent concession to the protesters, the top leaders of the governing National Democratic Party resigned and Dr Hossam Badrawi, seen by some as a liberal, was appointed as the new general secretary. President Hosni Mubarak approved the changes, including the removal of his son Gamal from his senior party post.
  • Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman invited all protest groups and opposition parties into immediate negotiations on constitutional reform. The biggest opposition group in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, said it would be willing to take part in discussions with the government only if Mr Mubarak resigned immediately.
  • Confusion arose over the Obama administration's stance on Mr Mubarak after the US president's special envoy said he should stay in office to bring about the changes needed for a democratic transition. The state department distanced itself from his remarks, saying he had spoken in a private capacity.
  • Live page reporters: Simon Fraser, Alexandra Fouché, Patrick Jackson, David Walker
  • All times in GMT.

2200 That brings to an end our live updates from the 12th day of Egypt's political stand-off. You can continue to follow events with regular updates on the BBC news website throughout the night. Thank you for following developments on the BBC.

2159 The BBC's Kim Ghattas tweets: "US official told me - Mubarak should have dignified exit, hinted should be able to stay in Egypt, not exile. On agenda of transition talks?"

2151 The White House reports that President Obama discussed Egypt in phone calls today to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the UK's David Cameron, of course. "The President emphasised the importance of an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now, to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people, including credible, inclusive negotiations between the government and the opposition," the White House statement adds.


2139 Protesters say they know they will have to be patient, the Associated Press reports from Tahrir Square. "The French Revolution took a very long time so the people could eventually get their rights," said student Ahmed Abdel Moneim, 22. "If we have to spend our life to get rid of Mubarak, we will." Electrical engineer Sharif Mohammed summed up the exhausting vigil he and the others have been keeping in the square: "Every day we sit out here, we gain against Mubarak. Maybe we'll be tired for a month but we will be able to live in freedom for the rest of our life."



2137 Amr Hamzawy is a member of the Committee of Wise Men, a self-appointed group of prominent figures from Egypt's elite that is unconnected to the protesters but has met Vice-President Suleiman to explore solutions to the crisis. Reflecting on the government's tactics, he told the Associated Press: "What happened so far does not qualify as reform. There seems to be a deliberate attempt by the regime to distract the proponents of change and allow the demands to disintegrate in the hope of [the government's] survival."


2120 British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to President Obama this evening about developments in Egypt. A spokesman said: "They agreed that it was vital that the Egyptian government respond to the aspirations of the Egyptian people through reform not repression. Violence was unacceptable. The Prime Minister welcomed the restraint shown by the army in policing the most recent protests. The leaders agreed that it was for the Egyptian people to determine the leadership of their country. But they were clear that an orderly transition to a broad-based government, with real, visible and meaningful change, needed to start now. The Prime Minister said that a clear and credible roadmap to change was needed as soon as possible, including a path to free and fair elections."


2059 Another reader in Cairo, Farida, is also anxious about the signals being sent out by the US: "Like all of us here, I stay up to date with the news, and I'm trying my best to believe that the US has good intentions for Egypt, but these mixed messages are just not worthy of any trust. We are all conflicted because it is an unstable situation, but changing policies and requests from the world's superpower is just causing more unrest. "
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2109 On the subject of Gen Suleiman, the government is denying that he was targeted in an assassination attempt, the Associated Press reports. A government statement says a stray bullet from an exchange of fire between "criminal elements" struck the lead car in his motorcade as it moved through an area of disturbances on 28 January. The vice-president was unhurt.

2059 It is worth remembering that Hillary Clinton said earlier today that Washington backed "the transition process announced by the Egyptian government actually headed by now-Vice President Omar Suleiman". Gen Suleiman has built up a reputation as a mediator, as our profile explains.



2053 Mohamed El Dahshan in Cairo writes to say that the Obama administration is "missing its opportunity to re-establish its lost credentials in the Arab world" by choosing "the short-term interests of an aging and unpopular client dictator over the higher morals America holds dear". He adds: "We're not going anywhere. The grass on Tahrir square is quite comfy!"
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2050 Katherine Jones in Cairo writes: "Wisner would also do well to be cautious in his statements that contradict Egyptian popular opinion as they may soon spark a hatred for America and the West. So far this is non-existent in these demonstrations but everyone here knows that Mubarak is a puppet and if America begins to show their support for him during this period it could greatly jeopardise their relationship with Egypt. So far it seems that the only option that will satisfy these protesters is the compete removal of Mubarak from power even if his government continue through the interim period as long as he is gone there will be peace."
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2043 US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley: "We have great respect for Frank Wisner and we were deeply appreciative of his willingness to travel to Egypt last week. He has not continued in any official capacity following the trip. The views he expressed today are his own. He did not coordinate his comments with the US government."


2039 Egypt's cultural glitterati have joined the protesters on the square calling for an immediate end to President Mubarak's rule, Reuters reports. Khalid Abdalla, a British-Egyptian actor known for his lead role in the 2007 adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, said: "I'm here because I'm asking for Mubarak to step down. I've been here since Friday before last."




2025 Dramatic events are unfolding on Tahrir Square, the BBC's Jim Muir reports from close to the Egyptian national museum. On the north corner of the square, troops have sealed off the front of the protesters' barricade with a second barricade of barbed wire, and between the two lines protesters are lying down in their hundreds, in case the army should move tanks forward into the square. New tanks have also arrived in front of the museum itself.

2015 Egyptian cartoonist Tarek Shahin has uploaded a picture today commenting on the situation on his Al Khan comics site.

2008 Yehia Hassaan tweets: "Ice cream parlours and other local food shops are open to this hour in neighbourhoods close to #sidigaber life back 2 normal? #jan25."
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2006 President Mubarak appears to have adopted a two-pronged approach to save his government and ward off his departure, BBC Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi reports from Cairo. On the one hand, he has got rid of figures who have become, in the eyes of many Egyptians, hated symbols of his long rule, including his younger son Gamal. On the other, he has tightened his grip on the country, with the much-disliked plain-clothes police reappearing on the streets to round up pro-democracy activists, and state media stirring up nationalist sentiment and portraying the protest movement as a foreign plot.


1951 The BBC's Helena Merriman reports seeing two government-employed imams near Tahrir Square, encouraging protesters to keep going. They said that for years they have had to censor what they say in their mosques but now they are preaching openly about freedom of expression. One said: "I now feel closer to God knowing that I can say what is really in my heart."

1931 More on Frank Wisner's remarks. A US official quoted by AFP news agency says the envoy spoke as a private citizen about President Mubarak's future role.


1923The US State Department has refused to comment on Frank Wisner's remarks.


1919 Yehia Hassaan tweets: "Jokes still being said and chants being made with a smile. Perhaps not electrifying like yesterday but it's festive #jan25 #sidigaber #egypt."
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1915 The BBC's Tom Burridge in Washington says the crucial element of Mr Wisner's comments was how long he foresaw President Mubarak remaining in office. If it is only a few weeks, then it is not too far from what the US administration has been saying, but if he means stay until the elections, then that is a big change, he says.


1906 Arab American Institute president James Zogby blogs on the Huffington Post: The reality, of course, is that events unfolding in Egypt are not about the US or anyone else. They are about Egypt. No-one in Tahrir Square is waiting for Newt Gingrich's, or even Barack Obama's blessing."
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1850 The BBC's Lyse Doucet tweets: Maged Boutros of the NDP Policy Committee tells BBC World News: "We are in crisis. We made mistakes... but we won't leave a sinking ship."
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1843 More on those flights taking foreign nationals out of Egypt. A flight chartered by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is due to arrive from Cairo at Gatwick airport tonight, arriving around 2030 GMT, the BBC understands.


1836 Egyptocracy tweets: "Why are our ministers using English words when addressing Egyptian masses? #Egypt #Jan25."
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1825 Katrina Thomas in Mohandessin, Cairo, writes: "I haven't left my apartment for 12 days except for an hour or so with my husband. My young children are prisoners. My husband spends all night in the street protecting our area from looters and undesirables. In bed at night I listen to warning shots being fired and shouts. Everyone is exhausted and slowly losing cohesion, yet are prepared to stick it out until Mubarak leaves. But what of Egypt after this? The country has been ruined and we will pay the price for years to come...."
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1821 Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has cancelled a planned visit to Egypt on Sunday, the Associated Press reports. He had been due to deliver a message from the EU to President Mubarak.


1814 The BBC's Jim Muir points out that President Obama never actually called for President Mubarak's immediate resignation. However, Mr Wisner's statement is "a little bit startling", our correspondent reports from the square.

1809 In US envoy Wisner's words: "I believe that President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical - it's his chance to write his own legacy."

1802 So the Obama administration believes President Mubarak should stay in office to bring about the changes needed for a democratic transition.

1759 Some details about that reported attack on a church in Rafah. Attackers detonated a device inside but the building was empty and nobody was hurt and little damage was caused, anonymous officials told the Associated Press. They said attackers escaped and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

1756 Ossama El-Maghraby in Alexandria writes: "A point has to be made clear to the west, majority of Egyptians do not like the Muslim Brotherhood, and would not accept living under Islamic law. I believe one of the unannounced goals of these is to create a truly secular society, operating under a free market with anti-monopoly laws."
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1753 We now have actual quotes from what US envoy Wisner has been saying: "We need to get a national consensus around the pre-conditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes."

1726 Mohamed Ghoneim has written on Facebook: "Finally today I do not want to hear this nonsense about our image abroad and how much better it would be for our image abroad if he should end his term in office and then leave, because I can tell you first-hand that we have never ever before been so admired and so respected throughout the whole world as we are now because of this peaceful civil and extremely honourable revolution. I have never been more proud to be Egyptian and I have never been encountered with so many words of encouragement and admiration as in these last 10 days, and I've been an Egyptian for a while now, so please take my word for it."
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1737 The BBC's Jim Muir analyses today's changes in the ruling party: "The removal of Gamal Mubarak as the party's bureau chief and of Safwat Al Sharif as its secretary general is a highly significant development. Protesters regarded it as the latest in a series of concessions which make them believe their cause it slowly making headway. Safwat Sharif was for long a major figure in Hosni Mubarak's power circle. Both his and Gamal Mubarak's jobs are now taken by Hossam Badrawi, who has a reputation as a moderate. Despite the dramatic development, protesters in the square continue to insist that they'll only pack up and go home when Mr Mubarak himself steps down from the presidency."


1734 Frank Wisner, America's special envoy to Egypt, says there is still a risk of violence but events in Egypt are moving in a promising direction - Reuters.

1730 Ali El-Bahnasawy tweets: "Instead of dripping drop by drop, and one step after another, why don't they give us a whole road map of what change they're offering?#Jan25."
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1728 A White House official tells Reuters it welcomes news that Gamal Mubarak - the president's son of course - resigned from the ruling party.

1726 Al-Arabiya television retracts its report that President Mubarak resigned as head of the ruling party - Reuters.

1721 One elderly Egyptian's commitment to the protest movement impressed the BBC's Helena Merriman: "He was queuing to get into Tahrir Square. He says he'll be sleeping in the square tonight although he's just had a hip operation and has nothing to sleep on. 'Freedom comes at a price,' he said."

1710 Amira Salah-Ahmed tweets: "The fact that we're ecstatic at the return of sms services is so sad, it's like they're turning the water back on drip by drip #oppression."
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1709 Hossam Bahgat and Soha Abdelaty from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights write on the Washington Post's website : "Once a new president is elected, we can move toward drafting a constitution that ensures Egypt's transformation from a dictatorship to a democracy and enshrines full equality and human rights. Free and fair parliamentary elections would follow. "
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1701The BBC's Lyse Doucet has just tweeted us a powerful quote from one student protester on Tahrir Square, who was asked about the changes in the ruling party: "We want to get rid of a cancer but they are giving us aspirins."



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1658 US state department spokesman PJ Crowley tweets: "Government and opposition leaders met in Egypt today. We encourage broader dialogue and more steps to build confidence in the transition."

1656 The Governor of North Sinai, Abd-al-Wahab Mabruk, has denied there was any blast at the church in Rafah.

1652 Events in the capital seem not to have touched the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, according to Stefanie Glasser, who writes: "I live and work in hospitality in Hurghada and can re-assure people that Hurghada has in no way been affected by the events unfolding in Cairo. The local markets are brimming with fresh produce and there is petrol."
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1650 The BBC's Jim Muir, who was in Tahrir Square when the changes at the top of the party were announced, says the crowd of anti-government protesters will now feel more encouraged to press for President Mubarak himself to go.

1646 US expatriate Sharon Crane writes from Luxor: "I know that things are bad in Cairo but here in Luxor, with just a few exceptions, it's life as usual. There is now a tank parked in front my bank, HSBC on the Corniche, and there are soldiers stationed a few feet apart all along the Winter Palace Hotel. The National Democratic Party headquarters was targeted in Luxor and the windows were broken at the local McDonald's. There are a few things missing from the store selves (things usually shipped directly down from Cairo)."
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1644 It follows from the state TV report that President Mubarak is still in charge - he accepted the resignations and made the new appointments himself, it says. One of the most significant resignations, of course, is that of his son Gamal.

1640 Egyptian state TV lists the new ruling party leadership as Hossam Badrawi, party secretary general; Mohamed Ragab, assistant secretary general; Mohammed Abdallah, assistant secretary general; Magid Sharbini, secretary for membership; Muhammad Ahmad Abd-al-Salam Hibah, secretary for youth; and Muhammad Mustafa Kamal, secretary for training and political education.

1636 A Coptic church in the Egyptian town of Rafah bordering the Gaza Strip was in flames on Saturday, with witnesses reporting a blast, although a local official denied an explosion was the cause, AFP news agency reports.


1632 Egyptian state TV reports monitored by the BBC suggest that President Mubarak did not quit as party leader after all.

1628 The new leadership of the ruling party includes Hossam Badrawi, Mohamed Ragab, Mohammed Abdallah and Magid Sharbini, Al Arabiya channel reports.

1619 Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the detention of some 35 human rights activists and journalists, including two Amnesty International staff members, who were freed after spending almost two days in military custody.


1617President Mubarak has resigned as head of the ruling party, Reuters reports, quoting Egyptian state TV

1610 Sandmonkey tweets: "Ezz & Adly under arrest, Mubarak, Gamal, Safwat ElSherif all resigned from the leadership of the NDP. And the beat goes on.. #jan25."
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1558:Dr Ibrahim Kamel, a senior member of President Mubarak's National Democratic Party, has told BBC World Service Newshour that his party was open to negotiations with members of the opposition - but there was an immediate legal problem with the Muslim Brotherhood.

1553 For a taste of what life is like in Tahrir Square, watch this video.

1546 Claire Nassar in Dahab blogs: "Dahab remains as quiet as ever - and getting quieter. This is always a quiet time of year, but I'm imagining that the continuing lack of cash in the cash machines and petrol in the petrol stations makes life incredibly difficult for tourists."
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1544 A few minutes ago, an Egyptian army commander addressed thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square to persuade them to end their protest: "You all have the right to express yourselves, but please save what is left of Egypt. Look around you," Hassan al-Roweny said using a loudspeaker. But he was shouted down by the crowd and ended his address.

1540 More from Patrick Werr's analysis on Egyptian banks reopening on Sunday (1534 entry): "With the political crisis still unresolved, banks may see panicky withdrawals of cash by Egyptians worried that access to their deposits could be restricted again. Banks may be too nervous to trade with each other in the domestic money markets, a source of funding for them."

1538 The BBC's Richard Colebourn in Tahrir Square says: "I've just been speaking to a very articulate brother and sister who are Coptic Christians. Peter told me that they were worried about the possibility of Egypt's Islamists gaining more power. But what they want the most is a government that will improve the quality of life for Egypt's people. 'It's about the standard of living people have here,' he told me. 'The ideology of the Islamists should be fought with another ideology from the liberals. This will keep the balance.'"

1536 More on the resignation of Egypt's top leadership: Those who resigned include Gamal Mubarak, the son of President Mubarak, state television says, according to Reuters. The new secretary general of the party is Hossam Badrawi, seen as a liberal in the party.

1534 In an analysis piece on how Egypt's banks will cope with reopening on Sunday, Patrick Werr of Reuters says there may be chaos in bank dealing rooms as foreign investors and local businessmen flee the Egyptian pound.

1526 Egyptian state TV reports that members of the politburo - the top leadership - of the ruling NDP have handed in their resignations.

1505Nora Shalaby, a protester in Tahrir Square, tells the BBC she plans to spend the night at the square: "There is a festive atmosphere here today - people are chanting and singing. We've heard the stories that the stock exchange is going to re-open and everyone is going back to work - but that is not going to affect us - we will still be here in Tahrir Square. We are staying to defend the square."
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1500 Lara Setrakian from ABC News tweets: "#Tahrir is fairly full, lighter atmosphere. Some banks, businesses hope to reopen tomorrow...finding a new normal as protests continue."

1445 Emad Mekay writing in the Lobelog, on his attempt to discover whether the Egyptian uprising has paid off: "Today I went to a town only 23 km south of Tahrir Square. The plan was to see if the 11-day uprising in Egypt has produced any benefits so far... Kirdasa, ...known for its flower nurseries and handmade crafts sold to tourist, was where I went." Click on the link above to read what he found out.
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1435 Back in Munich, the Middle East quartet peace negotiators says they will give high priority to the impact of the unrest in Egypt on the stalled Mid-East peace talks. They said in a draft statement further delays in resuming talks would be "detrimental to prospects for regional peace and security", AFP reports.

1428 Elsewhere in the Middle East, there have been demonstrations in the Palestinian territories in support of the Egyptian protesters. Hundreds of Palestinians protested in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and dozens showed up at sit-ins in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem.

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1415We've received a few of the following: TravellerW tweets: "Word of a Christian mass on Tahrir tomorrow sunday. I'll be there, too, praying. Will you?"

1410 Ursula Lindsey, writing in the Arabist blog, draws attention to activists held by the secret police: "Many Egyptian human rights activists arrested in the last few days remain in detention... There are probably hundreds if not thousands of others that are also being detained, interrogated and tortured right now. Frightening as the attacks on foreign journalists have been, most of our colleagues have emerged relatively unscathed. It's the Egyptians being rounded up by police and intelligence that I truly fear for."
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1402 Egyptian state TV's coverage appears to be highlighting a "return to stability" across Egypt. They reported Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdi toured police stations in Cairo and praised their role in "keeping order and security".

1350 You might also find this little primer to Egypt's opposition groups comes in handy.


1346 Earlier in the day you might remember Hillary Clinton said there were risks with the transition to democracy. Here's a video of the US Secretary of State speaking on the crisis in Egypt.


1342 By the way Omar Kamel in Cairo disagrees with one of our correspondents, Kevin Connolly. Omar sent this message to us a short while ago: "It is completely misleading to say that "the paralysis induced by the protests is having a huge impact on the creaking economy". The paralysis has been caused by the complete disappearance of the police force and the curfews imposed by the government. As for the tourists they have been frightened away by the xenophobia created in the country by the government that maintains until now that the protests have been influenced by foreign agents from (depending on the government's mood and level of desperation) the US, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, etc. The government created a mood of xenophobia and this was exacerbated by their attack on foreign journalists."
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1340 CNN's Ivan Watson tweets: "Standoff. Egyptian Army tanks trying to push thru barricade into Tahrir Square. Opposition form human chain to stop them #Tahrir."

1334Here's a view sent earlier by Emad in Cairo: "I do not think the Islamic extremist are a majority in Egypt, however poverty affects the majority. If a fair election happens, the majority of Muslims and all Copts will not elect Islamic extremists. The most important thing that Egypt needs at the time of transition is to build a strong political party that is moderate in its approach and to detach religion from government in a way similar to Turkey. If this happens I am sure Egypt will develop, poverty will disappear and the country will be stable internally between different religions and externally with all our neighbours including Israel."
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1332 Back to the talks - no word on any meeting yet. But a quick word on the two parties we expect to meet the vice-president. They are thought to have done a backroom deal at the time of the last presidential elections, colluding with the government to allow them to take over from the Muslim Brotherhood as the main opposition (although in the end, the government failed to deliver its side of the bargain). "So if it is just involving them, this is not a credible dialogue with the opposition," says the BBC's John Leyne.

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1325 Nadia E tweets: "Long line in front of Tahrir. Waiting to get in. Things are calm at qasr el-nil #egypt."


1321 Mosa'ab Elshamy, one of the protesters we heard from a short while ago, says the army has moved some of its tanks in front the barricades at Tahrir Square. "They are trying to scare us to go home," he told the BBC. He said the protesters wouldn't go before Mr Mubarak left office - concessions and so-called regime changes were all just promises so far. "I don't think it's going to be easy to convince people here to leave before Mubarak is stepping down."

1312 We've just heard the army is trying to enter Tahrir Square. BBC Arabic correspondent in Cairo Mustafa Menshawy says dozens of soldiers have attempted to remove barriers set up by the protestors at one of the entrances to the square. He says a senior army official tried to negotiate the army's entrance to parts of the square which led to arguments with the protesters, who accused the army of attempting to retake control of the square.

1308 Here's a profile of the Muslim Brotherhood while we're on the subject.

1302 Here's that BBC Newshour interview with Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Bishr we mentioned earlier. He says people want change - and President Mubarak must go now.


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1251 Reuters reporter Simon Hanna tweets: "I fear the regime is winning propaganda war. Away from #tahrir, most Egyptians I speak to want #mubarak to finish his term. #Egypt #jan25"


1249Protester Mosa'ab Elshamy in Tahrir Square told the BBC: "Things are getting a little tense. The army is trying to remove the barbed wire around the square and if they succeed there will be nothing to stop people attacking us. We are trying to block the army by lying down next to the tanks. Everyone is remaining totally peaceful. There are no clashes yet. We are not getting fed up - in fact we are getting more accustomed to conditions living here in the square. Many people have said they are prepared to die here."
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1247 The BBC's Helena Merriman in Cairo says: "Just spoke to a soldier manning the checkpoint to Tahrir Square. He says they've been ordered to keep things under control and allow journalists through. But he says he and all his friends support Mubarak as "he is a wise man and like a father to all of us in the army".


1241 By the way, look at this link for other views from Egyptians as part of the BBC's coverage of the crisis


1237 Cherif Albert in Cairo disagrees. He says: "I cannot imagine how some people could hope for Hosni Mubarak to lead the so called "transition". How could an 83-year-old man who never knew anything else but dictatorship and police state acquire the intellectual and cultural capacity to understand what democracy is all about, let alone implement it?"
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1234 Hotel businessman Adly el-Misikawi just told the BBC his trade was down 30% and although he believed the demands of the protesters should be met he said Mr Mubarak should stay in office to oversee a smooth transition.

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1230 Hossam tweets: "The army has allowed a group of 100 Mubarak's thugs into Qasr el-Nil bridge now. #Jan25"


1226 Hello and welcome if you are just joining us. A quick reminder if needed - it's the 12th straight day of protests demanding President Mubarak step down. There are still thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square, but aspects of the life in the capital are returning to some kind of normality. Neither President Mubarak nor his opponents show any sign of budging. So - a stalemate of sorts. Where things go from here is still very much up in the air.


1218 "The first step of the change and the first condition is: Mubarak, step down." That's what one of the Muslim Brotherhood's leaders has just told the BBC's Newshour programme. We'll bring audio of the interview in a moment.


1213 More now on the crisis talks on the economy President Mubarak was chairing. The government says it will provide extra food supplies to avoid shortages. Prices have shot up during the unrest and many people can't afford the high prices. The government also says exports fell by 6% in January because of the unrest.


1205 Away from the central square much of Cairo is starting to come back to life. The BBC's Paul Danahar says: "Shops are open, coffee shops are packed with people talking about the week's events. And they are all speaking much more freely and openly than they would have felt able to 10 days ago. Life is getting back to normal - but after the protests 'normal' now means something new in Cairo."


1156 Looks like things may not be getting back to normal as quickly as the authorities would like. We've just heard the stock exchange will not be reopening on Monday, as previously announced. "A decision has yet to be taken on when it will resume business," AFP quoted the state news agency as saying.


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1153 Sarahcarr tweets: "Friend and other passengers in microbus being detained by military police, randomly. Systematic policy of making people's lives hell #jan25. "


1150 In the New York Times report we linked to earlier the journalists also described their detention by the dreaded Mukhabarat, the secret police. But far worse, they said, was listening to Egyptians being mistreated. If you want to read a chilling account of what goes on in the cells, here's the article again.

1139 The BBC's Jon Donnison in Jerusalem says witnesses in the northern Egyptian Sinai say the gas pipeline fire could be seen for miles. Israeli officials are calling it a "terrorist" attack - although there is no confirmation it is. For many in Israel, the incident highlights the strong trade ties their country has with Egypt, our correspondent says.

1132 Still some tension in the streets around Tahrir Square. The BBC's Ian Pannell says small crowds have gathered asking the protesters to leave with suspected state-security infiltrators being carried away by the anti-Mubarak crowd.


1127 Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, the governor of North Sinai, told BBC Arabic TV that the Sinai explosion took place at a station where two gas pipelines branch out, one to Jordan and the other to Israel. "Thank God we have achieved control by stopping any gas leaks to the station. The fire is more or less completely under control." He said there had been no casualties.


1122 Senior Egyptian security source denies any assassination attempt on the vice-president, Reuters reports.

1115In Munich, Mrs Clinton has just said reports of an assassination attempt on Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman shows the challenges of the transition. There has been no confirmation so far of any attempts made on Mr Suleiman's life.

1110Adrian Day sends in an email from Luxor, where he says everything is calm today so far: "I have been here since the start of the protests. It is all quiet in Luxor now, but it is such a shame that now all of the tourism has gone, there is no work for the local people! Hopefully people will start coming here again soon so money can be brought back into the local economy."
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1102Imran in Lahore, Pakistan, says: "We the people of Pakistan fully support the struggle of our Arab brothers on class basis. We don't support Muslim Brotherhood or any other fundamentalist party. What we stand for is the end of puppet regimes and establishment of democracy throughout the Middle East."
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1058 Earlier in Munich, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the international community should support democratic movements in Egypt and other Middle East countries, although he pointed out the situation varied greatly from one country to another.

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1052 Journalist Theodore May describes in several tweets his detention experience: "Have been released after an hour+ detention by the military for filming with a Flip cam in Tahrir. No explanation was given for the detention, and I wasn't mistreated. Was forced to delete the videos. At one point an officer wanted to send me off to the police or the intel services, but that didn't end up happening. Very tough environment for journos, but my incident was less bad than 99% of others. I'm grateful for all those who helped, RT'd etc."

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1050 Blogger Wael Abbas tweets: "All human rights activists of hisham mubarak center have been releaseed just now."

1048 It now looks like the Muslim Brotherhood aren't shifting their position on what pre-conditions have to be met to enter into talks with the government, and still insist President Mubarak resign first, the BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi reports in Cairo.


1043More from Hillary Clinton in Munich, who speaks of a "perfect storm" of unrest: "The region is being battered by a perfect storm of powerful trends. This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable."


1040Raafat in Cairo, says: "To all of foreign countries - do not interfere in our internal matter, do tell us what he have to do. You call Mohamed ElBaradei an opposition leader, we, the Egyptian people do not consider him the opposition leader. We will let you know who is our opposition leader in the right time. It's a bad choice, US and EU. Best wishes and sorry but you will not divide Egypt according to your secret plan."
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1039 Many Egyptians say they want to solve their country's problems themselves and don't want outsiders getting involved. Here's a recent tweet.

1038 Mrs Clinton adds that "some leaders" in the Middle East are wrong to believe they are immune to spreading political threat.


1037 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been speaking in Munich, saying moves to "deliberate, inclusive, transparent" democracy is the best antidote to Middle East unrest


1036 So far only minor parties have been in discussion with the government about reform. The BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi in Cairo says: "The Muslim Brotherhood's participation MAY help defuse the current political impasse. However, it's not known yet whether the young protesters who lead the uprising would support such talks while Mr Mubarak remains in power."


1033 More details now on that apparent shift from the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition group in Egypt. According to their statement, they are willing to negotiate with the government - provided there's a written agreement on political reform within an agreed time frame.


1032 The BBC's Ian Pannell in Cairo says: The atmosphere in Tahrir Square is peaceful but tense. Much smaller crowds today but still a spirit of defiance. Elsewhere Cairo trying to get back to normal with some businesses tentatively opening and people daring to leave their homes.

1029 According to the New York Times , US administration officials say they have discussed suggesting to Mr Mubarak that he move to his home at Sharm el Sheik, the seaside resort, or head off for an extended medical check-up in Germany. Such steps would provide him with a graceful exit, the paper suggests.


1016 Lots of calls for change from world leaders - but remember many have seen President Mubarak as a bulwark for peace in the region, despite his record on human rights and freedom of speech. Western leaders fear a hasty departure by Mr Mubarak could lead to a power vacuum and more violence. Or a possible takeover by Islamists, if you believe the Egyptian authorities.


1014 Back to Munich. UN leader Ban Ki-moon said earlier that the turmoil in Egypt and other Arab countries demonstrates the risk of insecurity caused by a "deficit of democracy".

1011 The BBC's Tim Wilcox in Cairo says it's very hard to predict which way things are going in Cairo. But he says he detects signs of change - and the mood among some protesters may be changing. Some might settle for gains already made and not go for all-out victory now. If that were to happen, it's possible the core of the protesters could end up being "kettled" by security forces in Tahrir Square while the authorities try to get things back to normal elsewhere.


0957 Mr Cameron is in Munich with other world leaders - including Germany's Angela Merkel, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Egypt and Middle East peace are high on the agenda.


0953 Britain's PM David Cameron says: "There is no stability in Egypt. We need change, reform and transition to get stability."


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0948 bb aisha tweets: "Just called a hostel downtown on behalf of a journo.said they aren't accommodating journos #fb #tahrir."

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0947 Writer and journalist Jon Jensen tweets: "American journalist @Theodore_May has been detained by army in Tahrir. He was filming prayers with a Flip cam at the time. #Egypt #Jan25."


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0946 Hamish Macdonald from Ten Network Australia tweets: "Situation is calmer in Cairo today but tv crews are still facing attacks this morning #Egypt #6pm."


0945 Things have calmed down in Cairo after widespread violence between Mubarak supporters and opponents last week. But there are still reports of trouble. Here are a couple of recent tweets.


0938 More on the new curfew hours we were hearing about from Adam Makary a moment ago. Nile TV reporting that President Mubarak has eased the curfew - it'll now run from 1900 to 0600.


0933 The Jordan branch of the Sinai gas pipeline was attacked, not the one to Israel, Israel radio says. http://aje.me/ajelive #egypt #jan25


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0931 Adam Makary tweets: "Curfew pushed till 7pm and many ppl going back to work."


0928 For those of you just joining us - welcome, and thanks for following the latest news from Egypt with the BBC. Let's just recap - it's day 12 of mass protests seeking the end of President Mubarak's long rule. World leaders have renewed calls for an orderly transition. In Cairo, thousands spent another night in central Tahrir Square after peaceful protests on Friday. We expect talks - perhaps today - between the vice-president and opposition parties, and possibly with the participation of the banned Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. There are also reports that a gas pipeline in northern Sinai has blown up - officials suspect sabotage but we're still awaiting confirmation.


0922 Despite its gas reserves, Egypt is not a rich country - the protests have paralysed the economy. Tourists, a major source of income, have been frightened away, the financial system is shut and prices of basics like cigarettes and bread have been soaring. The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Cairo says many Egyptians are beginning to wonder aloud how quickly daily life will return to normal regardless of the outcome of the struggle for power.


0914 The blast in Sinai was "nowhere near" the pipeline running to Israel, Israel radio says. About 40% of Israel's natural gas is supplied by Egypt under a 1979 peace accord.


0905 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined other world leaders in calling for "peaceful and orderly" change in Egypt. Reuters quotes her as saying it would be remiss not to side with the demonstrators.


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0903 Ali El-Bahnasawy tweets: "Egyptian opposition doesn't represent the Egyptian people. They represent their own agenda, which doesn't give people what they want #jan25."

0859 Lots of accusations like that swirling around. The security forces and other elements are certainly guilty of abuses - many journalists, including from the BBC, are among people detained and beaten - but it's still hard to know sometimes what is true and what is just rumour.


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0858 Raafat tweets: "Current Egyptian government is playing the media very well. They are spreading lies and accusations. They are kidnapping all human rights people."

0854 Amid all the chaos, President Mubarak is meeting key economy ministers, Egypt's state news agency reports. The intended impression is presumably one of a man still very much in charge of the country. That image has taken a real battering in recent days - and so has the economy. It's estimated to be losing more than $300m a day at the moment.

0851 More news from Cairo - two opposition parties have apparently responded to the dialogue invitation. "Al-Wafd and Al-Tajammu participate in dialogue about political and constitutional reform," Egyptian Nile News TV reported in an "urgent" screen caption.


0847 For those of you who need reminding - the Muslim Brotherhood have been hesitant about entering talks. Until now they have demanded President Mubarak step down immediately. The government accuses the Brotherhood, founded in 1928, of masterminding the protests in Tahrir Square - but there's little evidence of this.


0839 We've just heard from Cairo that the banned Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has said it IS ready to take part in talks with the government. But it says its participation is conditional on the regime responding to the demands of the people. This shift in stance may help break the impasse, the BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi in Cairo says.


0836 Like Tarek, many of the president's opponents are highly mistrustful of the government. Years of repression have made people very wary - and in recent days their pent-up anger has boiled over in a way no one was predicting when Tunisians overthrew President Ben Ali in January.


0825Tarek in London, says: "The regime even at this late stage is deceiving the population. Earlier today state television announced that a number of former ministers have been prevented from travelling abroad and have had their bank accounts frozen. The reason for this announcement is that the population would want any new government to do just that. So Mubarak is trying to decrease the resentment among segments of the population."
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0816 Israel's gas pipeline may not have been hit by the blast - that's coming from Israel radio, quoted by Reuters. The news agency is reporting that the Jordanian branch of the pipe has been damaged. In any event it looks like Egypt's gas supply to Israel has been stopped as a precaution.


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0815 Mosa'ab Elshamy writes in a couple of tweets: "We're sitting in front of their tanks after the army tried to remove the barricades we set up near the museum. Thousands of protesters surrounding them now, making it clear the tanks will have to run them over before moving any further. #Tahrir"


0808 Egypt's government may be hoping things go back to normal and the mass protest fizzles out - but the BBC's John Leyne says they may be underestimating how much they have lost control. The demonstrators in Tahrir Square aren't going anywhere for now.


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0800 Al-Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin tweets: "No casualties in gas pipeline explosion fire now contained investigation underway #egypt #tahrir #jan25"


0758 Latest reports say the Egyptian army has closed off the main source of gas to the pipeline on fire in Sinai. The authorities are saying it was blown up but that's not been confirmed yet.


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0751 Nora Shalaby tweets: "People need to start heading towards #tahrir as it seems the army has an agenda today #Jan25."


0744 Will they, won't they talk today? There's still no word on this from the anti-Mubarak camp who have so far refused to enter discussions before the president steps down.

0739 Egyptian state TV says the gas pipeline is on fire in the northern Sinai Peninsula. "The blast and the fire erupted Saturday morning near the Egyptian town of El Arish. Residents say they heard the sound of an explosion, and that massive flames shot into the air," the Associated Press reports.


0728 AFP news agency is now also saying there has been an attack on gas supplies to Israel. Reporting from Cairo, it quotes an official and says: "Unknown attackers blew up an Egyptian terminal supplying gas to Israel near the Gaza Strip on Saturday." If it's confirmed as an attack it would be the first of its kind since the crisis began nearly a fortnight ago.


0724 Latest word is that newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman WILL meet opposition leaders in Cairo today. Egypt's Finance Minister Samir Radwan also told the BBC in a telephone interview that he is expecting banks to reopen on Sunday, and the stock market to resume work on Monday.

0720 Reports say there has been a blast near Egypt's gas pipeline with Israel in north Sinai. So far only on Reuters news agency.

0717 On the subject of talks, US officials are saying a meeting between Egypt's leaders and the opposition could be held in the coming days, perhaps even this weekend. The Muslim Brotherhood is not expected to attend.

0708 Hossam Abdallah, a member of Egypt's National Association for Change tells the BBC that dialogue is required with the authorities - but it has to be orderly and meaningful and arrests of activists have to stop. On the role of other countries, he says: "This is an Egyptian matter and it has to be solved internally."


0653 The BBC's John Leyne says there are still substantial numbers in Tahrir Square - it was a relatively peaceful night although there was some gunfire for a short period. "The strategy now seems to be to kill the protest with kindness. The authorities have used rubber bullets and baton charges and - some strongly suspect - paid thugs and nothing has worked, so they are saying 'it's ok, you can protest as long as you like'."


0642 Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of events in Egypt - it's day 12 of unrest since mass demonstrations began. Thousands of people have spent the night in Tahrir Square in central Cairo, after another huge rally demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Stay with us for the latest updates, incorporating reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction from around the world, which you can send via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.



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