Prayers during protest, Sunday
Photo: AP

Egypt protests resume; Al-Jazeera shut down

Some 1,000 protestors take to streets of Cairo, chant 'Mubarak and Suleiman are American agents.' In bid to restore order, authorities suspend operations of Qatari network which encouraged uprising

Egypt said on Sunday it had shut down the operations of Arab satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera, which according to the authorities had encouraged the uprising in the country, in an attempt to restore order.


"The Information Minister ordered ... suspension of operations of Al-Jazeera, cancelling of its licenses and withdrawing accreditation to all its staff as of today," a statement on the official Mena news agency said. The Qatari network said the move was aimed at "silencing the Egyptian people".


The protests resumed on Sunday morning as more than 1,000 people took the streets of Cairo and called on President Hosni Mubarak to resign. The Al-Arabiya network reported that military forces deployed in the capital were working to guard the interior ministry building in the city center.

Protestor holding shoe and picture of Mubarak (Photo: AP)


The protestors appeared to be unsatisfied with the moves promised by the president. They also protested against the appointment of Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman as Mubarak's deputy. This was the first time the Egyptian leader made such an appointment since taking office 30 years ago, burying the possibility that he would be succeeded by his son Gamal.


The demonstrators, however, called on the two leaders to resign. "Hosni Mubarak and Omar Suleiman, you are both American agents," they chanted. "Mubarak, Mubarak, your plane awaits you."


Meanwhile, the US said on Sunday it was offering evacuation flights to Europe for US citizens who wish to leave Egypt. "The U.S. Embassy in Cairo informs US citizens in Egypt who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safehaven locations in Europe," the statement said.


Turkey was also sending two Turkish Airlines planes to Egypt on Sunday to evacuate is citizens, state-run Anatolian news agency quoted embassy officials in Cairo as saying.


European tour operators and airlines have cancelled trips to Cairo since protesters took to the streets, dealing a blow to a tourism industry that provides about one in eight jobs in the country.


Military forces deployed in Cairo

The Egyptian army boosted its deployment across the country on Sunday morning in a bid to maintain a state of calm following a bloody weekend and government changes announced by President Hosni Mubarak. The banks, stock exchange and schools remained closed.


Military helicopters were hovering over Cairo. Tanks and armored vehicles were stationed on the capital's streets, mainly outside government buildings and large tourist sites.

Protestors in Cairo (Photo: AP)


Soldiers stationed outside the government building and the Egyptian Antiquities Museum, part of which was looted over the weekend, avoided clashing with the protestors and did not use any force against those who defied Saturday's curfew.


The writing "Mubarak, take your son and get out of here" was spray-painted on one of the tanks.


More than 100 people were killed in anti-government protests in Egypt in the past five days. Would-be looters broke into Cairo's famed Egyptian Museum, ripping the heads off two mummies and damaging about 10 small artifacts before being caught and detained by army soldiers, Egypt's antiquities chief said Saturday.


Zahi Hawass said the vandals did not manage to steal any of the museum's antiquities, and that the prized collection was now safe and under military guard.


State TV reported that soldiers seized government posts in Alexandria as well. As number of injured rises, hospitals are working around the clock to handle the burden. According to Al-Jazeera, doctors in Cairo hospitals have called on citizens to donate blood due to the growing need for blood units to treat the injured.


The army has closed the pyramid site and the Egyptian security forces have evacuated tourists from the Taba area. The casinos were closed by the army, and Israelis vacationing in the Sinai Peninsula were asked to leave their hotels on Saturday night and return to Israel immediately.


Security sources told Al-Arabiya that thousands of prisoners had escaped from the Wadi el-Natrun Prison, north of Cairo, where radical Islamic activists are held. Some of the inmates managed to escape to Gaza. Palestinian sources said several prisoners had already reached their homes in the Strip. 


Reuters contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 01.30.11, 11:31
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