Americans looking for news on the incredible events rocking the Egyptian government have tuned into Al Jazeera-English on the web, where contributors are live blogging and live streaming events on the streets as they happen. Although the government shut down the internet in Egypt as protests turned into clashes, Al Jazeera is blinking off and back on to the web, delivering compelling word and image snapshots. Examples from the last few minutes: Embattled President Hosni Mubarak, who has been publicly silent for days, deployed Egyptian armed forces to enforce a curfew tonight. His plans to address the nation have not materialized. The Egyptian National Democratic Party headquarters is in flames. And More: More than 800 wounded in Cairo, some with bullet wounds. Egypt’s national airline has suspended flights from Cairo. Thousands of protesters try to storm foreign ministry and state TV building in Cairo. Convoy of army tanks roll through Cairo streets.
Listen and/or watch Al Jazeera’s sputtering live stream here. If it doesn’t play, refresh and try again. Al Jazeera staff is tweeting on the protests from Egypt and Doha and the channel is broadcasting live from Cairo, Suez and Alexandria.
Evan Hill’s live blog is coming in bursts now too. The last hour’s worth of posts:
6:51 pm – Professor Fawaz Gerges, speaking to Al Jazeera, mentions the uprising in Tunisia, which of course is on everyone’s mind. Protesters explicitly linked their “day of anger” on Tuesday with the unrest there, which unseated longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Gerges says that the military played a key role in Tunisia, essentially helping to convince Ben Ali he should leave. We need to watch what the military establishment does in Egypt, and remember that Mubarak is a military man himself.
6:48 pm – Fire still raging at the compound in Cairo that houses the ruling National Democratic Party. No indication that any fire engines are responding yet. And Ayman Mohyeldin reminds us that Egypt’s famous national museum – the home of priceless artifacts dating back to the Pharaonic era country – sits nearby.
6:42 pm – Jamal Elshayyal, in Suez, reminds us that five tanks and several armored vehicles carrying military personnel rolled into the city earlier today after violent protests erupted yet again. One protester has died there today; three died over the previous three days of protests. Serious unrest in Suez might be particularly unsettling to the Egyptian government, since the city rests at the critical juncture where the Suez Canal connects to the Red Sea.
6:40 pm – Police cars have been set on fire in Alexandria, where Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh says she has witnessed “heartbreaking” scenes of ordinary citizens struggling mightily to return home and avoid running afoul of the security forces while curfew is in effect. They are trying to pile into microbuses and pick-up trucks.
6:38 pm – It’s getting harder and harder to get good pictures out of Cairo – darkness has set in, and smoke from tear gas and fires is clouding the already sooty air of Egypt’s vast metropolis.
6:32 pm – Amin Iskander, a founder of the Kifaya protest and opposition movement, speaks to Al Jazeera through translation. The ruling National Democratic Party “wreaked havoc and corruption” on the Egyptian people and had an “iron and firm grip” imposing the state’s emergency national security laws for thirty years.
President Hosni Mubarak, in power since the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat in 1981, must promise not to run for another term in presidential elections this year, Iskander says.
6:27 pm – While we watch the stunning images from Cairo – protesters setting fire to the ruling party headquarters, overturning armored police trucks – remember that events in Suez have been as violent, if not worse. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal has been there all along:
6:21 pm – Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, in Cairo, says he can smell smoke from a fire wafting into the bureau. The fire is reportedly occurring at the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party. The senior leadership of the party, including president Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal, was just at the building yesterday for a party gathering. We’ve been talking a lot about how these protests are “unprecedented,” but this is something that has never happened before.
6:18 pm – Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Suez, says he has witnessed five “army tanks” enter the area.
6:10 pm – Egyptian state television reports that president Mubarak has ordered the military to reinforce state security during the curfew tonight. But we still have not heard from Mubarak himself.
6:03 pm – Protesters have begun heading to 6th of October bridge in Cairo, defying a government curfew that went into effect three minutes ago.