Timeline: Egypt’s revolution

A chronicle of the revolution that ended the three-decade-long presidency of Hosni Mubarak.

lone egyptian protester
Protesters gather at Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo [EPA] 

January 2011: Activists in Egypt call for an uprising in their own country, to protest against poverty, unemployment, government corruption and the rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for three decades.

January 25: 

On a national holiday to commemorate the police forces, Egyptians take to the streets in large numbers, calling it a “day of rage”.

Thousands march in downtown Cairo, heading towards the offices of the ruling National Democratic Party, as well as the foreign ministry and the state television. Similar protests are reported in other towns across the country.

After a few hours of relative calm, police and demonstrators clash; police fire tear gas and use water cannons against demonstrators crying out “Down with Mubarak” in Cairo’s main Tahrir Square.

Protests break out in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura and Tanta and in the southern cities of Aswan and Assiut, witnesses say.

Hours after the countrywide protests begin, the interior ministry issues a statement blaming the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s technically banned but largest opposition party, for fomenting the unrest – a claim that the Muslim Brotherhood denies.

Protest organisers heavily relied on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

The interior minister says three protesters and a police officer have been killed during the anti-government demonstrations.

January 26: A protester and a police officer are killed in central Cairo as anti-government demonstrators pelt security forces with rocks and firebombs for a second day, according to witnesses.

Tahrir Square in central Cairo became
the focal point of the protests [AFP]

Police use tear gas, water cannons and batons to disperse protesters in Cairo. Witnesses say that live ammunition is also fired into the air.

In Suez, the scene of bloody clashes the previous day, police and protesters clash again.

Medical personnel in Suez say 55 protesters and 15 police officers have been injured.

Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for Barack Obama, the US president, tells reporters that the government should “demonstrate its responsiveness to the people of Egypt” by recognising their “universal rights”.

Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, says he believes “the Arab citizen is angry, is frustrated”.

January 27: Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog turned democracy advocate, arrives in Egypt to join the protests.

ElBaradei says he is ready to “lead the transition” in Egypt if asked.

Meanwhile, protests continue across several cities. Hundreds have been arrested, but the protesters say they will not give up until their demand is met.

Protesters clash with police in Cairo neighbourhoods. Violence also erupts in the city of Suez again, while in the northern Sinai area of Sheikh Zuweid, several hundred bedouins and police exchange live gunfire, killing a 17-year-old man.

In Ismailia, hundreds of protesters clash with police.

Lawyers stage protests in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta town of Toukh, north of Cairo.

Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger services are disrupted.

January 28: Internet and mobile phone text message users in Egypt report major disruption to services as the country prepares for a new wave of protests after Friday prayers.

The Associated Press news agency says an elite special counterterrorism force has been deployed at strategic points around Cairo in the hours before the planned protests.

Egypt’s interior ministry also warns of “decisive measures”.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for the opposition Muslim Brotherhood says that 20 members of the officially banned group have been detained overnight.

Egypt remains on edge, as police and protesters clash throughout the country.

Eleven civilians are killed in Suez and 170 injured. No deaths are reported in Cairo. At least 1,030 people get injured countrywide.

Troops are ordered onto the streets in Cairo, Suez and Alexandria, but does not interfere in the confrontations between police and protesters.

The riots continue throughout the night, even as Mubarak announces that he dismisses his government.

January 29: In a speech delivered shortly after midnight, Mubarak announces that he has sacked the cabinet, but he himself refuses to step down. His whereabouts are unknown.

Egyptian soldiers secure Cairo’s famed antiquities museum, protecting thousands of priceless artifacts, including the gold mask of King Tutankhamun, from looters, but some lo.

People cheered and welcomed troops when the army was deployed on January 28

The greatest threat to the Egyptian Museum, which draws millions of tourists a year, appears to come from the fire engulfing the ruling party headquarters next door the night before, set ablaze by anti-government protesters.

Thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square stand their ground, despite troops firing into the air in a bid to disperse them.

Mubarak appoints a vice-president for the first time during his three decades in power. The man now second-in-command is Omar Suleiman, the country’s former spy chief, who has been working closely with Mubarak during most of his reign.

Al Jazeera’s sources indicate that the military has now also been deployed to the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the city of Suez says the city jad witnessed a “completely chaotic night”, but that the streets were quiet as day broke.

In a statement released in Berlin, the leaders of Britain, France and Germany say they are “deeply worried about the events in Egypt”.

The Gulf Co-operation Council, a loose economic and political bloc of states in the Gulf, says it wants a “stable Egypt”.

The US embassy in Cairo has advised all Americans currently in Egypt to consider leaving as soon as possible, given the unrest. The UK authorities have advised against all but essential travel to the country for its citizens.

January 30: Thousands of protesters remain in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The crowds are cheering when ElBaradei addresses protesters in the square, saying “What we started can never be pushed back”.  

Turkey has announces that it is sending aircraft to evacuate its citizens, after the US embassy in Cairo has advised all Americans currently in Egypt to consider leaving as soon as possible.

January 31: Mubarak still refuses to step down, amid growing calls for his resignation. Protesters continue to defy the military-imposed curfew. About 250,000 people gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and hundreds march through Alexandria.

Internet access across Egypt is still shoddy according to most reports.

Egypt’s new vice-president promises dialogue with opposition parties in order to push through constitutional reforms.

Protesters remain camped out in Tahrir Square from a variety of political and demographic groups.

The White House says the Egyptian government must engage with its people to resolve current unrest. Obama’s spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, says the crisis in Egypt “is not about appointments, it’s about actions … They have to address freedoms that the people of Egypt seek”.

Opposition groups continue to call for a “million man march” and a general strike on Tuesday to commemorate one week since the protests began. Meanwhile, the military reiterates that it will not attempt to hurt protesters.

The EU calls for free and fair elections in Egypt.

Worldwide investors continue withdrawing significant capital from Egypt amid rising unrest.

Mubarak names his new cabinet on state television, among them, Mahmoud Wagdi, sworn in as the new interior minister.

Egypt releases the six Al Jazeera journalists who were arrested in Cairo.

Egyptian film star Omar Sharif, known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, has added his voice to those calling for Hosni Mubarak to step down, Reuters reports.

Former US president Jimmy Carter calls the unrest in Egypt an “earth-shaking event”, and says he guesses Hosni Mubarak “will have to leave”, the US Ledger-Enquirer reports.

Israel urges the world to tone down Mubarak criticism amid Egypt unrest to preserve stability in the region, the Haaretz newspaper reports, citing senior Israeli officials.

President Mubarak tells his new prime minister, Ahmad Shafiq, to keep government subsidies and cut prices.

Al Jazeera says its broadcast signal across the Arab region is facing interference on a scale it has not experienced before.

February 1: Hosni Mubarak announces in a televised address that he will not run for re-election but refuses to step down from office – the central demand of the protesters.

Mubarak promises reforms to the constitution, particularly Article 76, which makes it virtually impossible for independent candidates to run for office. He says his government will focus on improving the economy and providing jobs.

The official unemployment rate in Egypt is about 10%
but the real rate is believed to be much higher [Reuters]

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian opposition figure who returned to Cairo to take part in the protests, says Mubarak’s pledge not to stand again for the presidency was an act of deception.

Abdelhalim Kandil, leader of Egypt’s Kifaya (Enough) opposition movement, says Mubarak’s offer not to serve a sixth term as Head of State is not enough.

US President Barack Obama praises the Egyptian military for their patriotism and for allowing peaceful demonstrations. He says only the Egyptian people can determine their leaders.

Shortly after his speech, clashes break out between pro-Mubarak and anti-government protesters in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, Al Jazeera’s correspondent reports.

Khalid Abdel Nasser, son of the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, joins the protest in Tahrir Square.

Motaz Salah Al Deen, spokesman for Egypt’s opposition Al Wafd Party, says a self-described “new national coalition for change” has been formed.

Number of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square are revised to more than a million people. Thousands more take to the streets throughout Egypt, including in Alexandria and Suez.

February 2: Preparations begin for another day of demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The army is still deployed with tanks throughout different positions in and around Tahrir Square.

Google improves its speak2tweet technology for the people in Egypt.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Boston entrepreneur Hadid Habbab has called for volunteers to help find his missing friend, Google executive Wael Ghonim, who went missing during the protests of the past week.

Clashes between anti-government and pro-Mubarak protesters break out in Alexandria.

Internet services are at least partially restored in Cairo after a five-day blackout aimed at stymieing protests.

Egypt’s newly appointed vice-president says anti-government protests must stop before dialogue can begin with opposition groups.

Violent clashes rage for much of the day around Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Up to 1,500 people are injured, some of them seriously, and by the day’s end at least three deaths are reported by the Reuters news agency quoting officials.

Pro-democracy protesters say the military allowed thousands of pro-Mubarak supporters, armed with sticks and knives, to enter the square.

February 3: Bursts of heavy gunfire early aimed at anti-government demonstrators in Tahrir [Liberation] Square, leave at least five people dead and several more wounded, according to reports from Cairo.

Sustained bursts of automatic weapons fire and powerful single shots begin at around around 4am local time (02:00GMT) and continue for more than an hour.

February 4: Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for what they have termed the “Day of Departure”.

Scores were injured in clashes between Mubarak supporters and pro-democracy protesters [Reuters]

Chants urging Hosni Mubarak to leave reverberate across the square, as the country enters its eleventh day of unrest and mass demonstrations.

February 5: Thousands who remain inside Tahrir Square fear an approaching attempt by the military to evacuate the square.

Differing reports of how many have died in the last 11 days of protests and clashes surface.

The Egyptian health minister says 11 people have died, while the United Nations says 300 people may have been killed across the country since protests began. News agencies have counted more than 150 dead in morgues in Alexandria, Suez and Cairo.

Reuters quotes Egyptian state TV as saying “terrorists” have targeted an Israel-Egypt gas pipeline in northern Sinai.

The leadership of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party resigns, including Gamal Mubarak, the son of Hosni Mubarak. The new secretary-general of the party is Hossam Badrawi, seen as a member of the liberal wing of the party.

February 6: The Muslim Brotherhood says in a statement that it “has decided to participate in a dialogue round in order to understand how serious the officials are in dealing with the demands of the people”.

Banks officially re-open for 3.5 hours, and traffic police are back on the streets in Cairo, in attempts to get the capital to start returning to normal.

Al Jazeera correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin is detained by the Egyptian military. He is released seven hours later, following a concerted appeal by the network and Mohyeldin’s supporters.

Protests continue in Tahrir Square; there are reports of gunshots fired by the army into the air near the cordon set up inside the barricades, near the Egyptian museum.

Leaked US diplomatic cables suggest Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, long sought to demonise the opposition Muslim Brotherhood in his contacts with skeptical US officials.

Reports say Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, spoke with Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafiq (on February 5), emphasising the need to ensure the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people are met, also stressing that incidents of harassment and detention of activists and journalists must stop.

February 7: Thousands are camping out in Tahrir Square, refusing to budge. While banks have reopened, schools and the stock exhange remain closed.

A symbolic funeral procession is held for journalist Ahmed Mahmoud, shot as he filmed the clashes between protesters and riot police from his Cairo office. Protesters are demanding an investigation into the cause of his death.

Egypt’s government approve a 15 per cent raise in salaries and pensions in a bid to appease the angry masses.

Wael Ghonim, a Google executive and political activist arrested by state authorities, is released; some see him as a potential figurehead for the pro-democracy camp.

February 8: Protesters continue to gather at Tahrir Square, which now resembles a tented camp. Protesters in the capital also gather to protest outside parliament.

The city sees possibly the biggest crowd of demonstrators, including Egyptians who have returned from abroad and other newcomers mobilised by the release of activist Wael Ghonim.

Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, warns that his government “can’t put up with continued protests” for a long time.

Separately, Suleiman also announces a slew of constitutional and legislative reforms, to be undertaken by yet to be formed committees.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, says genuine dialogue is needed to end the current crisis, adding that a peaceful transition is crucial.

February 9: Labour unions join protesters in the street, with some of them calling for Mubarak to step down while others simply call for better pay. Masssive strikes start rolling throughout the country.

Famous Arab pop star Tamer Hosni visits Tahrir Square, but protesters are unimpressed and angered. Hosni previously made statements telling the demonstrators to leave the square, saying that Mubarak had offered them concessions.

Thirty-four political prisoners, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, were released on Tuesday, according to Egyptian state television.

Human Rights Watch says that 302 people have been killed since the start of Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising. Based on visits to a number of hospitals in Egypt, the organisation says that records show the death toll has reached 232 in Cairo, 52 in Alexandria and 18 in Suez. 

Attributing the information to Egyptian security officials, Reuters reports that several protesters suffered gunshot wounds and one was killed when 3,000 protesters took to the streets in Wadi al-Jadid, where clashes from the previous nights carried over to the early hours.

Citing medics, AFP news agency reports five were dead and 100 are wounded in the clashes that have been going on for two days.

Ahmed Aboul Ghiet, Egypt’s foreign minister, tells al-Arabiya network on Wednesday that the Egyptian army could step in to “protect the country from an attempt by some adventurers to take power”.

And in an interview with American public broadcaster PBS, Aboul Ghiet says that he is “infuriated” by the US’s initial response to the unrest in the country, and that he finds the Obama administration’s advice on political transition “not at all” helpful.”

February 10: The newly appointed Culture Minister, Gaber Asfour, quits.  His family says it’s due to health reasons but Egypt’s main daily newspaper al-Ahram says Asfour, who is also a writer, was criticised by his literary colleagues for taking the post. He was the only new face in the new cabinet.

Protesters in Tahrir Square waved their shoes in dismay as Mubarak said he was staying in power [Reuters]

The Egyptian prime minister forms a committee that will gather evidence on “the illegitimate practices” that resulted from the events of recent weeks. The committee will receive reports from citizens and civil society organisations and then present a report to the public prosecutor. 

The criminal court in Egypt has endorsed the decision of banning three former ministers from leaving the country and the government has also frozen their assets.

The security chief for the Egyptian city of Wadi al-Jadid (New Valley) is sacked and the police captain who ordered police to shoot at protesters is arrested and will be tried.  

Amid rumours that he will be stepping down tonight, Mubarak gives a televised speech which he says is “from the heart”. He repeats his promise to not run in the next presidential elections and to “continue to shoulder” his responsibilties in the “peaceful transition” that he says will take place in September.

Protesters in Tahrir Square react with fury when Mubarak says he’s remaining in power until September. Protesters wave their shoes in the air, and demand the army join them in revolt.

February 11:  After tens of thousands people take to the streets across Egypt in angry protests, Hosni Mubarak resigns as president and hands over power to the army.

The announcement is made by Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, just after 16:00 GMT.

Earlier in the day, masses of protesters had descended on the state television building in Cairo and the presidential palace in Heliopolis, as well as in Tahrir Square.

February 12: People celebrate in Tahrir Square until early morning. Pro-democracy protesters start to clean the square.

The country’s new military rulers promise to hand power to an elected, civilian government and pledged that Egypt will remain committed to all international treaties – in an apparent nod to its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

State television says travel bans are being imposed on several of the country’s former ministers, including the former prime minister Ahmed Nazif, who was sacked by Mubarak before he stepped down.

February 13: Soldiers try to remove the remaining protesters in Tahrir Square and their tents are dismantled. Traffic flows through the square for the first time since the protests began.

The cabinet spokesman says the cabinet, appointed when Mubarak was still in office, will not undergo a major reshuffle and will stay to oversee a political transformation in the coming months.

About 2,000 policemen hold a protest outside the interior ministry, demanding better wages and trying to clear the bad reputation they have.

Some other public sector workers and bank employees are also protesting in Alexandria and other cities.

February 14: Protesters leave Tahrir Square in the morning but a few thousands return later, most of them protesting against the police.

Police, ambulance drivers and other workers are holding separate demonstrations.

The military leadership issues “Communique No 5”, calling for national solidarity and criticising strike action. it urges workers to play their role in reviving the economy.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies