As it happened: Egypt unrest on Friday

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Jeremy Bowen reports on Friday's battle for Cairo

  • Tens of thousands of Egyptians flood the streets in the biggest anti-government demonstrations since protests began on Tuesday.
  • Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds in Cairo, Suez and Alexandria. At least 13 people reportedly killed in Suez; five dead in Cairo, as protests continue long into the night.
  • Protesters set fire to government buildings, a police station, the ruling party HQ and converge on state TV offices.
  • President Hosni Mubarak orders night-time curfew in main cities, addresses nation saying he has dismissed government and will appoint a new cabinet on Saturday.
  • US President Obama calls Mr Mubarak after his speech, telling him he must give meaning to his pledges to provide better economic and democratic opportunities to the Egyptian people.
  • Reports say opposition figurehead Mohamed ElBaradei, who joined Cairo protests, has been placed under house arrest.
  • Live page reporters: Michael Hirst, Aidan Lewis, Joe Boyle, David Gritten

0000 That's the end of today's live coverage of the situation in Egypt. Judging by the latest scenes from the country's streets, the political crisis shows little sign of abating, and we'll be bringing you regular news updates throughout the night. Thanks for following the latest events with BBC news online.

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2355 Amr El Beleidy in Cairo tweets: "The many times government was changed most ministers stayed on, are we changing the whole government this time?"

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2353 Marwan Ismael from Mansoura, Egypt, writes: "We want a resignation speech from Mubarak, nothing else will satisfy us."

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2352 Responding to Mr Obama's speech, Mishaal al-Gergawi As it happened: Egypt unrest on Friday tweets: "Obama's speech is effectively a thumbs up for Egypt to crack down on what it views as un-peaceful protests. #Jan25"

2349 Meanwhile, the UK foreign office has extended its travel advisory warning for Egypt, advising against all travel to Giza - home to Egypt's most famous pyramids.

2342 There's no immediate suggestion that the US administration is cutting its ties with Mr Mubarak, says the BBC's Paul Adams in Washington. Mr Obama wants to see whether Mr Mubarak can address the legitimate concerns of the Egyptian people to determine their own destiny - a phrase which will be utterly bewildering to people in Egypt who, for the past 30 years, have had no say in that. There's an element of threat in the air, adds our correspondent, but Mr Mubarak's regime is being given more time to show it can legitimately, and without violence, address the protesters' concerns

2337 Barack Obama: I spoke to Mr Mubarak after his speech tonight, and made the US position about the rights of the Egyptian people clear. I asked for mobile and internet services to be restored. I told Mr Mubarak that he had a responsibility to give concrete meaning to the promises to bring reform to Egypt.

2335 Barack Obama: My administration is closely monitoring the situation. Our first concern is preventing injury and loss of life. "I want to be clear in calling on Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters."

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2333 Qassim Hamad from Iraq writes: "Seems Mubarak does not understand that the protest is against him, not the government."

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2329 Danny-Ahmed Ramadan, a Syrian journalist in Cairo, tweets: "More protesters are back in the streets shouting: Down with Mubarak. They are on the Corniche."

2325 Stand by. We're expecting US President Barack Obama to make a live statement about the situation in Egypt in the next few minutes.

2323 If you missed Mr Mubarak's speech this evening, here's a clip of the highlights.

2312 Al-Jazeera quotes unnamed officials from Egypt's main opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, reacting to Mr Mubarak's speech tonight: "Mubarak must step down. It is time for the military to intervene and save the country."

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2308 Outspoken as ever, right-wing US radio talk-show host Glenn Beck tweets: "Egypt may be a tipping point. Yemen and Jordan also have smaller uprisings. Iran is smiling, the Saudis and Israelis are not. Pray4peace."

2304 Thanks for following the latest developments in Egypt with the BBC. We'll continue to bring you up-to-date on the ongoing protests, as well as reaction from the Egyptian streets to President Mubarak's speech. We would welcome your comments and views on the situation, which we'll publish here if possible.

2257 To be bluntly honest, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo, Mr Mubarak's words will likely provoke more demonstrations. Firstly, says our correspondent, demonstrators will be angry their president has accused them of inciting violence. Secondly, they will see that their actions so far have brought some concessions from the leader, and will reckon that if they keep pushing they may be able to get rid of him altogether.

2253 Medical sources say six people were killed in Friday's protests in the northern coastal city of Alexandria, Reuters reports.

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2251 Ali Abunimah tweets: "Bravo! Brilliant speech shows once again why Mubarak won 89% in last election & NDP took 90% of seats!"

2248 Reuters is reporting that the army has taken control of Cairo's Tahrir Square, a focal point of the protests, with demonstrators scattering into the side-streets.

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2243 Will Pierce tweets: "Worth mentioning, Mubarak has been acting on "emergency powers" that were granted 30 years ago".

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2241 Will recent events in Tunisia and Egypt have a domino effect across the region? Christopher Phillips poses that question on WordPress.com weblog, saying: "The incredible scenes in Egypt today have led several commentators to speak of a possible 'domino effect' in other Arab authoritarian regimes. Whilst it is still far from certain that 'regime change' will occur in Egypt, many are already suggesting Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Algeria are the next candidates for similar transformations."

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2238 Gap Adventures tweets: "We are monitoring the situation in Egypt - please check our Safety Updates page for more.

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2235 Meanwhile, the markets have clearly been shaken by the instability in one of the power-houses of the Middle East. Jamie Coleman on ForexLive blog says: "Oil jumps as one-third of world oil supply passes through Suez Canal. Fear revolution could look more like Iran than Eastern Europe… Crude rises 4.3% to $89.35."

2233 Other nuggets from Mr Mubarak's speech: Egypt will take new steps towards democracy and providing more freedoms, and measures to address poverty. It "will rise above the arson and looting that may indicate further plots to shake the foundation and stability" of the country.

2231 Botttom line from the presidential address: Mr Mubarak's not going anywhere, hoping his sacking the government will placate the people. He's trying to distance hims from the crack-down across the country. But within minutes of his appearance on television, protesters were taking to the streets of Cairo chanting "down with Mubarak!"

2228 Hosni Mubarak: "I have requested the government to step down today, and I will designate a new government tomorrow."

2225 Hosni Mubarak: "We will continue our political, economic and social reforms for a free and democratic Egyptian society." This doesn't sound like a resignation speech.

2222 The recent protests wouldn't have been possible without the introduction in Egypt of civil and media liberties, says Mr Mubarak. While he takes the side of citizens' freedom to express their views, he also wants to defend Egypt's stability. "There is a fine line between freedom and chaos," he says.

2219 Here's Hosni Mubarak. He's been monitoring the demonstrations and protesters' demands, he says, and regrets the innocent casualties on both sides.

2216 Nile News also reports that Mr Mubarak himself will address the nation soon.

2213 About that urgent message from the parliamentary speaker... Egypt is in the "safe hands" of President Hosni Mubarak, Fathi Sorour tells Egypt's state-owned Nile News channel. He says the parliament - overwhelmingly dominated by Mr Mubarak's ruling party - will meet on Sunday. Will that satisfy the protesters?

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2210 While some are praising the role of social media in what has been termed "the Lotus Revolution", others are not so convinced. Matt Kelly tweets: "Loving all this " internet revolutoin" BS about egypt. Internet users in egypt? 8 percent of pop. Twitter, wikileaks... It ain't about u."

2204 Middle East expert Dr Hoda El Sadda tells the BBC's Newshour programme: "I think what happened today means that things have changed in Egypt, there's no going back and we're all hoping that there will be some wisdom here exercised and that everyone now is obviously hoping that the army takes over and brings back some quiet on the streets of Cairo. But I cannot imagine that things will go back to the way they were, and people will remain on the streets until there is regime change.

2159 It's clear the US has some difficult decisions to make about its relationship with Egypt. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the US Congress in 2006, has released a statement calling on Egyptian authorities to show restraint. "US Congress will carefully observe the situation in Egypt in the upcoming days, particularly in order to ensure that no US assistance or equipment is used in the violent suppression of peaceful protests," he writes.

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2151 Over at the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Levitz blogs: "More than 100 Arab Americans and others gathered outside the White House, waving red-white-and-black Egyptian flags and hand-written signs and shouting for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak."

Wyre Davies
2148 The BBC's Wyre Davies in Cairo sums up the sentiments on the streets of the Egyptian capital, which he says seem to have been taken over by curfew-defying protesters. Watch his latest video report here.

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2143 Over at Computer World, Juan Carlos Perez assesses the impact of Egypt's crack-down on internet communication, blogging: "Through its broad attempt to shut down Internet communications, Egypt's government has not only successfully blocked Twitter but also significantly limited access to Facebook, Yahoo and Google, as it scrambles to squelch political unrest. While it's not the first time a government has resorted to censoring online content and blocking Internet access, Egypt's actions have caught the attention of the world because they're out of character and because they've been so aggressive."

2135 The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says the military are reported to have moved in to protect the Egyptian museum, where some of the world's great treasures are stored, in the midst of the demonstrations.

2132 British Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Suez.

2130 The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says Mr Mubarak must be seriously considering if, and how, he can continue his 30-year grip on power.

2128 Medical sources tell Reuters that 13 people have been killed and 75 wounded in Suez.

2127 US Senator John McCain releases a statement saying Mr Mubarak has been an important and valued friend of the US, but describes the response of the Egyptian government to the latest protests as "deeply troubling".

2125 Tanks have surrounded the US and British embassies in Cairo, Al-Jazeera reports.

2122 Egyptian TV cites parliamentary speaker as saying "an important matter will be announced in a short time".

2120 Reuters has upped its estimated toll of injured in the capital to 1,030, citing medical sources.

2117 Private jets are said to be in demand... Al-Jazeera reports that top Egyptian businessmen have fled the country. But no news yet on the whereabouts of the president or his family.

2111 Al-Jazeera reports that protesters have torched numerous police stations across the country.

2107 TV footage from Cairo shows demonstrators clambering on top of armoured vehicles.

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2104 Shepper from Derby, in the UK writes: "Why doesn't the British Foreign Office advise against all but essential travel to Egypt? Was going to visit the pyramids but can't cancel and get my money back until the Foreign Office advise against travel. Ridiculous. Would any normal person want to go there at the moment? Come on, FO, get the right advice posted."
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2102 The French government has advised tour operators to suspend departures for Egypt scheduled for Saturday.

2100 So, to recap: A curfew has been imposed after a day of unprecedented anti-government demonstrations involving tens of thousands of people across Egypt. In Cairo, the headquarters of President Mubarak's National Democratic Party have been set ablaze. Troops were sent onto the streets after police fought running battles with demonstrators. At least five people were reported to have been killed in Cairo and one in Suez. Hundreds more have been injured, and protests appear to be continuing into the night. Thanks for following events with the BBC. We'll be bringing the latest news as we get it, and welcome your thoughts on developments, which we'll try to publish here.

2049More reports coming through from medical sources that at least five people have been killed and hundreds injured during today's unrest in Cairo.

2042Jim, from the US writes: "I have a friend in Dearborn, home to one of the largest Muslim communities in North America. I've been told police are on alert for possible rioting this evening and this weekend. Local TV stations in Detroit, US have summoned-in off-duty news staff for possible coverage of rioting there."
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2038Ayse, from Istanbul writes: "Egypt deserves better than Mubarek, who is backed by westerners and overcrowded security forces, instead of his people. I wish real democracy for my extraordinary Egyptian friends."
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2033 Mohamed from Cairo writes: "Gunshots are heard at Nasr City, eastern Cairo, people just don't know whether they are gun shots from the armed forces personnel or from looters."
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2029 The fate of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, his entire state apparatus, and that of the popular uprising confronting them now depends largely on the actions of his army and security forces, says BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner. This is the most serious popular challenge to his 30-year rule that anyone can remember, and if these protests continue and intensify there are bound to be senior voices within the military tempted to urge him to stand down. Read Frank's analysis of Egypt's security apparatus.

2019 White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says President Obama has not spoken to President Mubarak, adding that the crisis in Egypt should be resolved by the Egyptian people, and calling for the internet and social media to be brought back online.

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2015 An Italian worker in a Cairo hotel tells the BBC: "The protesters just broke into the hotel! They managed to open a big iron gate. We are all on the fourth floor. Really scary scenes outside and no sign of police. Just hotel security and staff trying to send away."

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2013 Khaled Hishma tweets: "I think the White House delayed briefing and the delayed speech of Mubarak is an indicator that the military is taking over. #Jan25 #Egypt"

2009 Reports suggest Egypt's army chief, Lt General Sami Hafez Enan, has cut short a visit to Washington - where he has been discussing defence issues with Pentagon officials - to return to Cairo.

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2004 Elizabeth from Nicosia, Cyprus writes: "Is there any word coming from the Port Said area, from the Suez Canal Authority? Nasser's nationalizing the canal was so important to the formation of modern Egypt and its standing in the region. How is that looking now?"

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2002 The Toronto Globe and Mail's Mark Mackinnon tweets: "The scenes from Cairo must be terrifying to those who rule in Damascus, Riyadh, Amman, Algiers and Tripoli."

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1958 Mark Rees from Swansea writes: "One thing seems to be missing from the coverage: Where is Mubarak? Is he at the Presidential Palace? Is the palace under threat from the protests?"

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1956 There seems little doubt the US administration is playing catch-up regarding the unfolding events in Egypt, and is in a very awkward position, blogs BBC North America Editor Mark Mardell. It is not ready to abandon its octogenarian ally of 30 years, but it is urging him to change and change quickly, he adds. This is all moving very quickly but at the moment both the White House and the US state department are being ignored by their allies, while not going far enough to make new friends. Read more of Mark's blog.

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1949 Marsia Bealby from Lichfield writes: "I am deeply concerned about the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and its immense archaeological treasure, since apparently there is a fire nearby." We are trying to stand up reports some protesters have formed a human chain outside the museum to protect its artefacts.

1946 Al Arabiya is reporting that the Egyptian army is moving to secure vital buildings in Cairo and Alexandria. Meanwhile, troops are on the streets in Suez, where protests are ongoing, looting has been reported, and up to five people are feared killed in the unrest.

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1942 Ragnhild Holmas tweets: "The question is: Will the Egypt protests become a revolution, or will they be curbed and die, like the Green movement protests in Iran?"

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1940 Tony, from Manchester, writes: "We could be seeing a popular uprising across the region against these one party regimes. Very much as we saw in eastern Europe 20 years ago. The difference being that the young people may not necessarily be looking west."

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1938 Abu Aardvark tweets: "Anybody else hear that Mubarak address canceled due to 'sudden illness'? Trying to confirm."

1935 The US is reviewing its $1.5bn in aid to Egypt based on events unfolding in the country, an Obama administration official tells Reuters.

1933 Over at Reuters, there's an analysis of the financial damage of the current Egyptian crisis. It makes for grim reading, with Egypt's currency falling to a six-year-low, and the main stock exchange index dropping by nearly a third.

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1928 Referring to the BBC journalist assaulted by police in Cairo today, the BBC's Peter Horrocks tweets: "I just spoke to Assad. In good spirits. Having X ray check up. He says it's vital journalists can report and news organisations protect them."

1920 The EU's foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, has called on Egyptian authorities to release demonstrators detained during the anti-government protests immediately, AFP reports.

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1917 Jeremy Littau tweets: "The more I learn about how #Egypt protest has no leader, more I realize this is an uprising for the Internet age. Decentralized and social."

1911 The BBC has condemned the assault of one of its journalists by Egyptian security officials during today's disturbances in Cairo. BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks said the attack on Assad Sawey was a deliberate assault by police. "The BBC condemns this assault on one of our correspondents by the authorities," said Mr Horrocks. "We shall be forcefully protesting this brutal action directly to the Egyptian authorities. It is vital that all journalists, whether from the BBC or elsewhere, are allowed to do their job of bringing accurate, impartial eye witness reports to audiences around the world without fear."

1908 The US advisory to its citizens in Egypt urges people to stay in their homes or hotels during their demonstrations, and to exercise caution, Reuters reports. It warns them not to try and travel to the US embassy in Cairo, noting security forces may block off the area.

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1902 Suzanne Sallam from UK writes: "Still can't get hold of our families and friends in Egypt with all Internet and mobile networks down. Call on Mubarak to stop denying the people their rights. Violence is erupting badly. Gun shots heard in all live streaming videos."

1858 Medical sources are now telling Reuters at least five people have been killed in Cairo's protests.

1857 Washington advises American citizens to postpone any scheduled trips to Egypt, AFP reports.

1855 France appeals for calm, with Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie calling for dialogue. Italy, too, has urged parties to reach a peaceful solution to the crisis.

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1851 Sultan al-Qassemi tweets: "Egyptian student shows Al Arabiya year gas canister that says 'Made in USA'. 'How can we allow this in Egypt?'"

1845 The Associated Press reports that Egypt's national carrier, Egypt Airlines, says it has suspended its flights from Cairo for 12 hours. Inbound flights will be allowed to land, it adds.

1841 Reuters reports that 870 have been injured in Cairo during the day, citing medical sources.

1840 Al Jazeera saying that a convoy of presidential guard vehicles is driving through Cairo, reportedly heading for the state TV building.

1834 AP journalist Ashraf Sweilim in Sinai reports that Bedouins in the area have besieged a police station, and are asking for security forces inside to surrender. Also in Sinai, armed men have taken control of the road leading into the town of Rafah, reportedly taking a number of policemen as hostages.

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1831 Sultan al-Qassemi tweets: "Protestors have stormed Egyptian TV building & have destroyed some equipment. Helicopter is arriving. #Jan25."

1826 Some support for the Mubarak regime from north of the border. "We believe that Egypt is going to overcome the current wave of demonstrations, but we have to look to the future," Time magazine quotes an Israeli government minister as saying.

1817 From BBC Arabic Correspondent Khaled Ezzelarab in the Egyptian capital: Military helicopters are roaming the skies of Cairo.

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1815 Daniel Hussey tweets: "Egypt is the pivotal country for the region... Egypt goes, and the rest will follow." We'll be keeping an eye out for your messages and #jan25 tweets, so do get in touch if you have views to share.

1812 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined those urging the Egyptian government to allow peaceful protests. The stability of Egypt is extremely important, she says, "but not at the price of freedom of expression".

1810 An Egyptian film producer calls on the army to deploy troops around the world-famous Cairo Museum, close to where one of the main protests has been taking place. He tells al-Arabiya TV that not "one single soldier" is currently protecting the institution.

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1808 Amoona tweets: "The entire staff of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo has been evacuated by helicopters."

1806 After fleeing a police charge in Cairo, elderly protester Mohammed Taha tells Reuters news agency: "This protest is not going to stop. They won't and can't trick the people again and give us some lame concessions. Hosni has to go. I am 70 years old, I am going to die, but these people have to fight to live."

1804 There are unconfirmed reports of army personnel clashing with police in Cairo, according to al-Jazeera TV.

1803 US President Barack Obama has convened his national security team for a briefing on the unrest in Egypt, the Associated Press reports.

1801 Kuwait Airways has suspended all flights to Egypt, and is waiting for the situation to stabilise, al-Arabiya TV reports.

1759 The BBC's Yolande Knell has been out on the streets of Cairo, where she describes people running, their eyes streaming as a result of the teargas hanging over the city. "We will never stop until this government goes," yelled one elderly man. Ordinary Egyptians appear to be losing their fear of direct confrontation with the security forces, says our correspondent. Read Yolande's eyewitness report here.

1749 AP reporter Ashraf Sweilim reports that some Bedouins in Sinai are besieging the Sheikh Zoueid police station, demanding members of the security forces inside to surrender.

1746 The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner says: "Every minute that goes by without the president making that address to the nation makes him look weaker, and will convince people he is losing his grip."

1743 Middle East analyst Roger Hardy writes on the BBC News website: "If the Egyptian unrest turns into an Egyptian revolution, the implications for the Arab world - and for Western policy in the Middle East - will be immense. Egypt matters, in a way that tiny Tunisia - key catalyst that it has been in the current wave of protest - does not. It matters because its destiny affects, in a range of ways, not only Arab interests but Israeli, Iranian and Western interests, too."

1741 Medical sources tell Reuters 410 people injured in Cairo protests during the day, some with bullet wounds.

1738 Curfew extended to all cities, Reuters quotes state TV as saying.

1733 Egyptian state television is denying that protesters are attempting to attack its headquarters, according to al-Arabiya TV.

1724BBC Arabic correspondent Khaled Ezzelarab in Cairo reports: "Despite the curfew, demonstrators are surrounding the building of Egyptian radio and TV and trying to break into it. The building is guarded by armed security personnel. The people are calling for the army to intervene."

1722 More from Hillary Clinton: "We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters. We call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain security forces. At the same time, protesters should also refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully."

1720 UN rights chief Navi Pillay urges Egypt's government to lift the 30-year-old state of emergency and "guarantee the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression".

1715Shipping officials say Suez Canal is running smoothly despite violent protests there, Reuters reports.

1712An Italian worker in a Cairo hotel tells the BBC: "The protesters have been trying to break in to the hotel. They are raiding now a Vodafone shop at the hotel entrance. Lots of hotel staff are trying to make protesters go away. Lots of black smoke and I can smell tear gas."
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1710Hillary Clinton: "We urge Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests."

1709The BBC's Yolande Knell in Cairo reports: "It's very clear that large numbers are defying the curfew. There are still crowd noises coming into our offices. The message that a curfew was even in place would have been hard to get across to the protesters."

1700More on the praying protesters: at the end of their prayers, tear gas was fired at them by the security forces, prompting an angry response from the crowd and many shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (God is great).

1657Live TV footage shows dozens of protesters pausing to pray on the street outside the burning HQ of the ruling NDP in Cairo.

1656British Foreign Secretary William Hague calls on Egypt's leaders to "understand the grievances and deal with them in an evolutionary way and by bringing necessary reforms".

1655 White House spokesman Robert Gibbs tweets: "Very concerned about violence in Egypt - government must respect the rights of the Egyptian people & turn on social networking and internet."
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1650Tanks and military personnel on the streets in Cairo and Suez hours after President Mubarak orders army to help enforce curfew.

1643 Eyewitness Marwa who was caught in clashes in Ismailia, tells the BBC: "I was shaken by the sound of the weapons and two hours after I escaped from the area my eyes were still very sore from the effect of tear gas. Ismailia has had no access to the internet since last night but the mobile network is still up and running."
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1640Opposition leader Amin Iskandar tells al-Jazeera that the ruling party "has manipulated elections to parliament, prevented people from having fair and just representation, and has gobbled up the wealth of this country".

1638German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg expresses concern about the risk of "infectious momentum" of unrest in the Middle East, during a meeting at the World Economic Forum .

1637Offices of the ruling NDP party set on fire or attacked in several cities across the country, witnesses tell Reuters.

1635More on the blaze at the ruling party's Cairo HQ: state TV confirms the building was set on fire.

1630Another tweet from the US state department's PJ Crowley: "Events unfolding in Egypt are of deep concern. Fundamental rights must be respected, violence avoided and open communications allowed."
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1628Egyptian state TV channel al-Misriyah plays down protests, saying they are peaceful, and quotes a local official condemning al-Jazeera TV for "misinforming" the public.

1623 A building that forms part of the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party in Cairo has been set on fire, according to reports. Senior leaders, including the president's son Gamal Mubarak met there on Thursday.

1616The BBC's Andrew North, in Washington, reports: "The US is really having to make policy on the hop. They have been caught off guard by these events. They have been treading a very fine line, but there is a sense that they are trying to show that they are on the side of those pushing for reform."

1615US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton due to make a televised statement on Egypt shortly.

1612The BBC website now has a dedicated page of eyewitness accounts including Malek in Cairo, who describes a siege situation in the capital.

1608Al-Jazeera TV reports that military trucks arrive in a Cairo square to the cheers of protesters.

1603The BBC's Ranyah Sabry, in Cairo, reports: "There has been some sympathy towards the demonstrators from the security services. Right near to where I am stationed near the police hospital - which is only for officers - they are said to have been throwing masks out of the windows so that the protesters can cover themselves and avoid the effect of the tear gas."

1559 US state department's PJ Crowley tweets: "Reform is vital to Egypt's long-term well-being. The Egyptian government should view its people as a partner and not as a threat."
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1553Eyewitness "Muna" tells the BBC of dramatic scenes outside her home in Cairo.

1547Unconfirmed reports say President Hosni Mubarak is preparing to make a statement.

1541The International Crisis Group condemns Mohamed ElBaradei's reported detention in a statement saying: "In a situation as tense as this, repression and abuse can only further inflame the situation."

1537Egyptian authorities announce a curfew from 1800 (1600 GMT) in Greater Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, Al-Misriyah TV reports.

1530 Online activist Ramy Raoof in Cairo tweets: "Land-lines are shut down in several areas in Cairo and the gov interrupted satellite internet connection."
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1521France's Foreign Ministry confirms media reports that four French journalists were kidnapped. Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero tells AP all four have now been freed.

1519More from Chatham House's Maha Azzam, interviewed on BBC World Service: "Of course economics matter, people are living in poverty, many live on $2 a day, the economic situation is extremely bad, very high unemployment. But at the very heart of this protest is the political issue, the call of many for greater accountability, for freedom to demonstrate, the freedom to have meetings, for free and fair elections down the line."

1517 Dima Khatib in Suez tweets: "Police shooting rubber coated steel bullets into the crowd according to eye witnesses #Egypt #Jan25."
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1513'Muna' (not her real name, she wants to remain anonymous) writes: I am close to the 6th October bridge, where hundreds of protesters have been clashing with police for the past couple of hours. I have closed my windows completely and my family and I are stuck inside. I am worried for people on both sides as I look out - both the police and the protesters. I am also worried for my friends who are out protesting on the streets. I can't communicate with them because all mobiles are down. Thank God our land-line still works but we are not sure for how long.
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1511Protesters in central Cairo are calling on the army to support them, according to the Reuters news agency. They are chanting: "Where is the army? Come and see what the police is doing to us. We want the army. We want the army."

1509Protesters set fire to a local government building in Alexandria, AFP news agency reports.

1503 Rik Ferguson, writing on the Counter Measures blog, says: "This sudden severing of internet connectivity appears to have all occurred at a similar time and the assumption must be that it is a part of officially sanctioned tactics to attempt to contain the growing political unrest in the country. If indeed this action is officially directed then it would seem that the regime in Egypt has learned lessons from the Iranian attempts to censor communications there last year and taken even more drastic measures."

1458BBC technology correspondent Mark Gregory says: "Something unprecedented has happened: virtually the entire internet infrastructure of an electronically sophisticated nation has been switched off. Pulling the plug in say the US or a European country would be virtually impossible as there are so many different channels that carry electronic traffic. Parallels are being drawn with Iran during the democracy protests 18 months ago where, as in Egypt over recent days, the authorities' restricted access to services like Facebook and Twitter and cut parts of networks for periods of time. But Egypt has gone a step further. This is believed to be the first time a government has engineered an almost complete shut down of electronic communications to deal with political dissent."

1455Yasmine Amin, from Cairo, writes: "I'm barricaded in my home, afraid to venture out. The tear gas used by the police has reached our home. My family and I are choking because of the fumes. My friends who live near Tahrir Square say that the police have been completely overwhelmed by the mass demonstration and in some parts of the city have let people through. The police crackdown here has been very brutal. I took part in the demonstrations on the first day but I had to retreat once the police started firing tear gas into the crowds. There has been a media blackout. I'm relying on friends and family scattered around the city to supply me with the latest information. Everyone here is anxious about the future. I have mixed emotions. People are afraid, apprehensive, fed up with the current regime. But overall I'm extremely proud of my fellow Egyptians.
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1453Some of the most serious violence has been in Suez, where protesters seized weapons stored in a police station and asked the policemen inside to leave the building before burning it down, according to the Associated Press. They also set about 20 police vehicles parked nearby on fire.

1447BBC Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says: "The confrontations between protesters and security forces in Egypt appear to have taken a sinister turn. As the authorities show increased determination to quell the country's first nationwide protests in many decades, they have escalated their response to the demonstrations on several levels. The interior ministry has deployed considerable force to chase the demonstrators off the streets. A BBC journalist was beaten bloody by police. The authorities have also moved into to stifle the flow of information to prevent protesters from co-ordinating their movements. But Egyptians appear to have learnt from the Tunisian uprising. Once they have broken the barrier of fear, there is no going back. The clock is ticking. Should the security forces resort to more violence and the protesters' resolve remain unbroken, many will be asking whether President Mubarak can survive this unprecedented confrontation with his people."

1442Heba, from Cairo, writes: "I live in a building that overlooks the city, there is a big crowd, and perhaps more than a thousand people are marching. I haven't seen any scenes of violence. It's been quite civilised so far, although this is my first revolution! The police have used quite a bit of tear gas and I can see black smoke from behind the television building where I live. I can also hear quite a lot of action. I haven't been able to leave my home because of my elderly mother. When the police started using the tear gas, fumes wafted into our flat, making my eyes water and burning my nose, making it difficult to breath. Everyone is chanting, there's a mass chorus of people demanding change. The most interesting aspect of the demonstration is the fact that all kinds of people are taking to the streets. People from different social classes and different backgrounds - this is very rare in Egypt. In the past, only the disaffected would consider protesting; now everyone, even those with a vested interest in the regime, are out. I've never seen it."
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1440Egyptian security officials tell the Associated Press that Mohamed ElBaradei is now under house arrest in Cairo. He earlier took part in two demonstrations in Giza.

1437A protester has been killed during clashes with police in Suez, witnesses say. One tells the Reuters news agency that the body is being carried through the centre of city by an angry crowd.

1432Dr Maha Azzam, an associate fellow at Chatham House in London, tells the BBC World Service: "I think this is going to lead to the fall of the Mubarak regime. He has never been challenged in this way before. It may take time - the military, army are still backing him. We don't know how long that's going to last. We also don't know if divisions have already been created within the army."

1426Television footage shows protesters throwing rocks down on police from a road bridge near Tahrir Square in central Cairo, and a police vehicle driving through the crowd spraying them with tear gas.

1421Clashes were also reported earlier in Alexandria, but Peter Bouckaert, an observer from Human Rights Watch, tells the Guardian newspaper that the situation has changed: "The police have now given up fighting the protesters. The police and protesters are now talking, with protesters bringing water and vinegar [for teargas] to the police. Afternoon prayer has just been called and hundreds are praying in front of the mosque in east Alexandria," he says.

1416Pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei now seems to have been allowed to leave the mosque in Giza and join a peaceful march through the area. Some of those taking part are reportedly shaking hands with the police.

1412The BBC website now has a picture gallery of dramatic images showing clashes between police and protesters.

1411Le Figaro confirms that four French journalists, including one member of their staff, were arrested earlier in the day, and that they have since been released. "They were arrested in the street by plainclothes police officers who released them after about an hour of discussions," senior editor Philippe Gelie tells the AFP news agency.

1408Security officials tell the Associated Press that protesters have ransacked the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party in the cities of Mansoura, north of Cairo, and the port city of Suez.

1403The chairman of the Egyptian National Security and Foreign Relations committee, Mustafa al-Fiqi, insists the government will not fall, but admits it has to take action against poverty and corruption. "Police and the demonstrators both are Egyptians and we feel sad for the victims of both sides," he tells al-Jazeera TV.

1357The BBC's Yolande Knell in Cairo says: "With mobile phone networks down and the internet and social-networking websites blocked, people are tuned in to satellite television channels. They show dramatic scenes across Egypt; from clashes in Alexandria in the north down the length of the country, and across to cities along the Suez Canal and the sensitive Sinai region in the east."

1353Asked by journalists inside the mosque where he is taking refuge what message he wants to send to the outside world, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei says: "The Egyptian people will take care of themselves. The Egyptian people will be the ones who will make the change. We are not waiting for help and assistance. But what I expect from the outside world is to practice [what they] preach - to defend the rights of Egyptians for their universal values - freedom, dignity, social justice."

1348Amal Ahmed, a 22-year-old protester, says it is "time for this government to change". "I want a better future for me and my family when I get married," she tells the Reuters news agency. Abeer Ahmed, 31, adds: "Nothing good is left in the country. Oppression is growing."

1345A crowd of about 20,000 people have reportedly been prevented by police from crossing a bridge over the Nile and heading towards the centre of Cairo. The protesters were cheered on by people waving Egyptian flags as they set off from the Mohandiseen district.

1339The pro-democracy leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, is reportedly trapped inside a mosque in the Cairo suburb of Giza, outside which hundreds of riot police are deployed, according to the Reuters news agency. Tear gas is being fired onto nearby streets to prevent anyone from leaving, and several cars have been set on fire.

1334Al-Jazeera TV reports that the leader of the opposition Ghad party, Ayman Nour, is among the hurt. He came a distant second in the 2005 presidential election.

1331Witnesses tell the Reuters news agency that they have seen dozens of people with head wounds, and others collapsing to the ground amid the chaos.

1324The deputy general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ezzat, tells al-Jazeera TV: "The youth want the demonstrations to be peaceful but the regime uses excessive violence against the youth, such as rubber bullets and rubber bombs." He adds: "The people are demanding the basics, mainly the necessities of life, and they have the right to do so. The people also demand their freedom and the dissolution of the fake parliament."

1318Al-Jazeera TV says at least one person has been killed and 10 people have been injured at a protest in Riyadh Square in Cairo.

1311Essam Marghani, an Egyptian blogger living in London, tells the BBC World Service: "We urge Mubarak to have enough fuel for his flight out because he will struggle to find a country to take him in."

1303The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Suez says: "Immediately after Friday prayers were over, large crowds started to gather, people coming out of the mosques immediately going onto the streets and starting to protest. At least 3,000 people gathered on the street here in front of me. Initially the protests here were completely peaceful, people calling for the government of Hosni Mubarak to step down, and for new elections. But about an hour later, riot police started to respond with tear gas and then the crowd started to throw stones. They attacked a police riot van, took it over, and set it ablaze. In the last few minutes there have been a series of large explosions, as ammunition and tear-gas grenades inside the vehicle have been going off."

1256BBC journalist Assad Sawey says he was beaten by police while covering a demonstration by about 15,000 people in central Cairo. He says plainclothes police deliberately targeted him, even after he identified himself. "When they arrested me they started beating me up with steel bars," he says. "A number of foreign journalists were there and they were all loaded onto trucks... The police were very, very violent today."

1245The BBC's Wyre Davies in Cairo says: "In Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, where the opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei went to pray, riot police used tear gas and water cannon as demonstrators shouted "Go, go, go", laying down a direct challenge to the president."

1237The former UN Secretary-General and Egyptian foreign minister, Boutros Boutros Ghali, tells the BBC World Service that there has been "a lot of exaggeration" about the unrest and "it is not unprecedented". He says that unlike in Tunisia, where an uprising toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, "the problem is more an economic and social one". "The problem is more a problem of infrastructure. We need more work, we need more factories."

1231Vodafone says that "all mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas". "Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it. The Egyptian authorities will be clarifying the situation in due course," a statement says.

1224The protesters are shouting "Down, down, Hosni Mubarak" and "The people want the regime to fall", reports say. They are also demanding that Mr Mubarak, 82, does not try to hand over power to his 47-year-old son, Gamal.

1220Egyptian riot police have clashed with thousands of anti-government protesters demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. In the capital, Cairo, and the port city of Alexandria, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds after Friday prayers. The unrest follows three days of unprecedented protests in which at least eight people have been killed. Mobile networks and internet services have been shut down.



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