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9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Manchester, United...
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9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Before the usual roomers and panic begin to spread around, here is what happened yesterday (source various Egyptian media reports and Al-Jazeera)

Yesterday, there was a big rally in Tahrir Square as usual on Fridays. This week, the focus was on demanding a quick trial to the deposed president. At the end of the day, a number of protestors (a few hundreds) decided to defy the curfew and spend the night at the square. At 3 AM, one hour into the curfew, the military police forces moved into the square, evacuated it by force and chased protestors away. Gunshots were fired in the air and tear gas was reportedly used. A little while later, after the square was cleared, protestors tried to regroup themselves into the square again and the military police responded in the same way.

About two hours later, after curfew hours ended, the military and police forces withdrew from the square and protestors began to enter again. During that, an empty civilian bus and a parked military vehicle were set alight in the middle of the square. Smoke was seen rising especially from the bus after sunrise on Saturday. Returning protestors managed to block the entrances to the square and are currently occupying it. There are no army or police soldiers in sight.

During the overnight events, 50 people were detained by the army. There are reports of casualties, but nothing confirmed yet. There is a report of two deaths and another of numerous minor injuries only.

The military will hold a press conference in the next few hours to clarify what happened. However, the military issued a statement earlier this morning accusing one of the allegedly corrupt businessmen (a friend of Mubarak's son) of sponsoring those who tried to defy the curfew in order to ruin the relations between the army and the people. An arrest warrant has been issued for that businessman and three of his associates. On the other hand, all political groups insisted they had asked their supporters to leave the square before the curfew and they had no plans of keeping anybody there after 2 AM. All groups disassociated themselves from those who defied the curfew.

Conclusion: I am monitoring the situation closely, but so far, there is no evidence to suggest that what happened last night was the beginning of any continuing unrest. Therefore, Cairo and Tahrir Square remain a safe place to visit and you are still encouraged and welcomed to join any of the Friday rallies there, but as I said before, you must respect the curfew. During the three curfew hours, you can only move for urgent reasons (catching a flight, arriving from abroad or going to hospital) and you must have a photo ID on you. As for protests, no matter how attractive the idea may seem to be, never venture into a protest during curfew hours (even for curiosity) coz the two times protestors tried to defy the curfew after the revolution, it didn't go down well with the army at all and the result was a violent clash!

Kyiv
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1. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Hi Darsh :)

Many thanks for the update and for your considered advice, helpful as usually.

Not sure about the other countries, but local media has been more anxious about the recent blast in Giza by the pyramids rather than events on Tahrir Sq.

Any news on that one? Any impact on visitors reported?

Thanks a lot!

Edited: 09 April 2011, 12:57
Manchester, United...
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2. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Really?? Is there anybody still following that?

That was an explosion of an unexploded war bomb (usually from the German bombardment of Egyptian cities between 1940-1942) that some local children were playing with not knowing what it was. Similar incidents happen every now and then, on average once or twice a year. So, it is nothing new for us, but that never make it to the world media.

Maybe it is just because it happened in the pyramids this time.

New Jersey
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3. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Hello everyone,

I am leaving for my Trip on Monday! Going to be in Cairo for one week. Should I be nervous ??

I am traveling alone, but visiting and staying with my brother who studies at the AUC.

Thank you!

Kyiv
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4. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

>> Similar incidents happen every now and then

Absolutely. Same here, in fact. WWII "artifacts" are still not dead..

>> So, it is nothing new for us, but that never make it to the world media.

Globalisation in progress :)

Some friends of mine are leaving for the Red Sea resort shortly, and I convinced them to make a side trip to Cairo. But just when I was "seducing" them with my pics, hysteric media blew out the bad news. So I was just wondering if the pyramids are still accessible.

Thanks a lot, Darsh! :)

Manchester, United...
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5. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

As I said before, the situation remains under control and it should not affect any travel plans so far.

All tourist sights in Cairo are up and running including the pyramids except the Egyptian Museum which did not open this morning because the protestors blocked all the streets leading to it.

Protests happen everywhere and two weeks ago there were similar incidents in the heart of London. Many shops and businesses were attacked and many people were injured and the police attacked Trafalgar Square to evacuate it by midnight! Yet, we didn't hear of people changing their plans to come to London!

The reason why I posted the detailed report was not to make you panic, but was was simply to put things in their real size. My job is to tell you the full truth regarding what is happening and to give you sincere advice on what you need to do in response. After that, it is up to you. In the past three months, each and every forum member who visited Egypt has confirmed that my advice was accurate and credible. So, don't worry. If there is any serious security concern, I would be the first to tell you.

By the way, I am flying to Cairo myself on Tuesday to attend a friend's wedding next weekend. If anything happens that will make me cancel my trip, I will tell you. Otherwise, anybody who wants to meet me in Tahrir Square for next Friday's rally will be more than welcome. :)

Again, you should not change any travel plans and there is nothing that suggests thta there will be a need for any changes in the future. .

London, United...
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6. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

We're due to fly to Cairo tomorrow and are due to visit the museum Monday afternoon (on a booked tour), do you think it will re-open or is it too early to say and dependent on what protestors decide to do?

New Jersey
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7. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Thank you so much Darsh. Really appreciate all the insight and honesty on this site. :)

Enjoy your friend's wedding, I'll be in Dahab on friday:)

Wishing all a safe and fun trip!

london
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8. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

hi darsh, i have booked a holiday to sharm in august and am worried as people keep telling me its not safe to go to egypt . even though im going sharm i still want to go on excursions to cairo/luxor ect. the situation seems very unpredictable...i am taking my mum and my 10 year old niece and just not sure its safe enough but we all really want to go. i only have till may to change my holiday with thomson but im worried things might all change in july and something could kick off then i will be stuck with the holiday booking, what do you think the situation will be like by augst ?

Manchester, United...
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9. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Em4owen

Actually, we later knew that the protestors did not block the entrance to the museum, but it was Mr. Hawas, minister of antiquities, who decided to close the museum today as a precautionary measure. Nothing was said about what will happen tomorrow and I think we won’t know until the morning. I will update you with any news on this thread, but overall the situation has been calm since the late afternoon and tomorrow is a working day (today was weekend), so I think many protestors will just leave as the curfew hours approach tonight. We will see what happens.

The situation this time is different than the revolution coz while many people (me for example) are totally in support of the protestors' demands, almost everybody I talked to is against defying the curfew. So, there is no political cover whatsoever for those who would like to continue with this unnecessary occupation of the square. I don't think it will last for long.

Lila,

Don't change your plans.

First, Sharm has been quite far from all the political action.

Second, since the revolution ended there has been no major security problems apart from isolated incidents like yesterday's which didn't affect tourism by any means. There is nothing that happened yesterday in Cairo that was much worse than what happened in London on the 26th of March or during the student university fees riots last November.

Third, August still too far and overall things tend to calm down with time.

Forth, August will be during the month of Ramadan and I am sure that there will be no major demonstrations during this month, first because people fasting will find it very difficult to demonstrate under 40 degrees sun and second, it is highly unlikely that people would find it appropriate to demonstrate in the festive season. There will be more important thing for them to do such as eating sweets and watching TV! :)

So, by all means go.

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10. Re: 9/4/11 Last night events in Cairo

Thanks for the reports Darsh. It is good to get a reasonable report on the situation as well as keeping it in perspective with respect to similar issues in other parts of the world. It is information like yours which is helping me get some folks who are on the fence convinced to join me on my next Egyptian trip.