2011-01-28 Mubarak refuses to step down

Everything changed forever in Egypt today.

In Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez hundreds of thousands of Egyptians defied a government-imposed curfew to continue their protests, which have grown to involve every section of the country. Many of the police have come over to the side of the people, and the military had to be sent in. The army was welcomed by the protesters.

The headquarters of the ruling NDP party was burnt down in Cairo. The government headquarters was burnt down. Around Egypt more than twenty police stations were set afire. In some places police stations were seized by the people and armories were looted.

Five people have been killed in Cairo; eleven were killed in Suez; 170 have been wounded in Suez and 1,030 in Cairo.

Just after midnight Al Jazeera blogged:

12:07 am - We're seeing a lot of rumors right now. Some reports have indicated that Egyptian government officials and top business have been taking private planes out of the country, but the Cairo airport has denied this. We've even seen rumors about President Mubarak's whereabouts, that he is in the Sinai Peninsula resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, or possibly that he has left the country. In the absence of a statement from Mubarak himself, nobody knows.

Minutes later Mubarak appeared on TV. Al Jazeera described his speech this way:

Mubarak promised to press ahead with social, economic and political reforms.

He appealed directly to the people and said he understood they wanted him to address poverty, employment and democratic reform and pledged progress.

Mubarak urged calm, adding that only because of his own reforms over the years, were people able to protest.

He announced that he was sacking his cabinet but not that he is leaving himself.

The people have a vote in that. Initial reaction on the street to Mubarak's speech is to step up the protests.