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The 2011 Egyptian protests

The 2011 Egyptian Protests

Throughout the day, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons into crowds during violent clashes between authorities and anti-government protesters in Cairo, Alexandria, and throughout Egypt. Thousands in Suez stormed and took control of the police station, and then freed all protesters held under arrest there. In Port Said tens of thousands of protesters gathered and multiple government buildings were set ablaze. In Suez, police shot and killed at least one man taking part in the protests. The government issued a 6pm to 7am curfew, but protesters ignored it and were met by police tasked with enforcing it. In the evening, protesters set fire to one of the National Democratic Party (NDP) headquarters buildings in Cairo. While protesters paused for evening prayers, police continued firing tear gas.
The Egyptian government deployed military in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez to assist the police. Protesters joined soldiers in protecting the Egyptian Museum, situated beside the burning ruling party headquarters. Al Jazeera also reported that in Suez the military wanted to avoid an openly armed confrontation with protesters. The same was reported in Alexandria.
A delegation led by the chief of staff of Egypt’s armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, was in Washington, D.C. when the visit was truncated due to the protests. The sessions, an annual country-to-country military coordination, were being led for the U.S. by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow. A meeting with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other talks had been planned to extend to 2 February. However, in light of events in Egypt, the delegation left Washington to return home on 28 January. Before their departure Friday night, Vershbow urged the two dozen representatives of the largely American-funded Egyptian military "to exercise 'restraint,' the Pentagon said."
Amid reports of looting of government buildings, concerns were raised about the safety of the antiquities of the famous Egyptian Museum, which is near to the epicentre of the protests in Cairo, and Egyptian state TV in the evening announced that army commandoes had secured the museum. Prior to their arrival, young civilians had attempted to protect the museum by forming a human chain at its front gate. Despite this, at least two looters managed to gain entry during the night, apparently from the roof, and ripped the heads of two mummies and damaged a number of other smaller artifacts before being apprehended.

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