LIVE REPORTING from TAHRIR SQ, EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION
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Our members in Cario are at the huge demonstrations against the regime. They will be reporting back every two or three hours on the Egyptian Revolution as it happens. We update this page as we receive their reports - keep checking back for new updates.
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The people of Egypt need freedom - Clinton and Obama think differently
by Simon Hardy. Read more...
Pictures 6 February
Click for larger versions
Report from Tahrir square in Tahrir square 6 February- Martyrs day
Report by Simon Hardy 14.30pm 6 February in Tahrir square
Today the square is packed with people taking part in rallies and mini demonstrations all across Tahrir. The mood is jubilant and excited – this feels almost like a victory rally. Certainly it feels like it is not going anywhere soon...
Pictures coming soon...
Report from Simon Hardy 10am 6 February in Cairo
There will be more protests today in Tahrir, though probably on a smaller number to the Friday protests we saw. An army helicopter has been circulating all morning and there is a lot of security forces on the streets. Today the government has instructed businesses to reopen and is attempting to clear some of the space around Tahrir for the traffic.
Interviews and questions from protesters in Tahrir square
Report from Tahrir after the army tried to regain control of some of the square
Interview with a protester
Egypt – revolution at a turning point – new article by Simon Hardy – 5th February
read it here...
Photos sent in by Joana and Simon 5 February
The army tried to come in and retake part of Tahrir Square today. However, protesters sat in front of the tanks to stop them moving forward.
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Walking into Tahrir Square
Protester talks about role of social media
Prayer in front of a tank
Interview with another protester
Interview with protester in Tahrir square
Report from Joana Ramiro- 5PM Cairo 5th February
The day after the Day of Departure no one has yet left. Mubarak is still in power, the people are still on the square. So the question remains: what now?
We get to Tahrir Square once more. The streets are now free of Mubarak's thugs, but we can still feel the tension. But people still look at us with concerned faces – sometimes we look back with anxiety, our numerous run ins with armed gangs has not done our nerves any good!
The square is now emptier, but thousands still linger. The troops have entered further into the square or barred the entrance of adjoining roads. It is a perpetual dance between protesters, reactionaries and the military. On some days the square and all surrounding roads are part of the revolutionaries' turf. At night many flanks retreat onto the square, assaulted by pro-regime groups. And then some days, like today, the military takes over the streets leading to the square arguing that, for the protesters' safety, they need to introduce a large buffer zone between Tahrir and the rest of Cairo.
We speak to people. Many want to talk, they want to be filmed. They emphasize how we need to send the message of their "civilized revolution". How all they want is freedom, the end of oppression, the government's accountability, the clean up of a political system they know is rotten.
However, opinions diverge. Some want to"to stay until he leaves". Others believe that now, that the Day of Departure has gone, so should the occupiers. A young girl tells me: "People need to go home and see change happen. Change won't happen with people staying here. People need to see if the government will fulfill its promises. If it doesn't we can come back - Tahrir Square won't go anywhere". Others have mixed view.
We come home discussing whether the revolution has failed, is stuck in a rut or is waiting for the next explosion of energy.
Many shops are opening once more and the city is vibrant and bursting with colors we haven't seen in almost a week. There are fruit stalls and bread stands, garbage has been swept and windows have been washed. Street sellers offer us belts and nick knacks, traffic is manic once more. The middle classes have dared to poke its head out of the window and while regaining a sense of normality it seems to dampen the revolutionary fire that for a week shook the Egyptian status quo.
Maybe the make or brake comes now. Tahrir is incredibly incredibly inspiring as a social movement - a movement which was capable of galvanizing millions but it lacks a political program it is hard to discern where this is all going. People want Mubarak out, many want the whole political and corporate elite down and ousted, but how can it all happen from Tahrir Square. It is clear that the role of the military is vital. So far they play an ambiguous role. Protecting the protesters with measures that often confine them to in their inner city fortress
I become morose. Has the steam run out? People want a transitory government, elections, social democracy, but these things cannot last long in a country like Egypt. It is frustrating that there isn’t a force that can develop the cries heard into Tahrir Square - the instinctive rejection of Mubarak and his clique, the fear of an Islamic extremist government, the suspicion of a military government - into a full socialist agenda.
I start to wonder if those crafting change a week ago are those now hoping for a quick return to uniformity.
But with the streets of Cairo still stained with words of dissent and reeking of revolution, change can still come tomorrow...
Report from Simon Hardy - 9.15PM Cairo 4th February
The demonstration in Tahrir Square is still going on. Hundreds of thousands of protesters are still demonstrating. Yet they have not moved out of Tahrir Square in any sizable numbers.
In that sense it's a very disappointing day because fundamentally nothing is shifting on the political terrain.
Omar Suleiman has announced he is not going to take power and Mubarak says he is not going to leave. There's also no real increase in pressure from international community for him to step down.
In this context the strategy of protesters to hold Tahrir Square and have regular demonstrations every two or three days doesn't seem to have much prospect of winning.
They've won concessions from the regime - Mubarak will not stand again in September, but they have not won the revolution yet.
The regime is slowly, slowly then with more speed gathering its strength of forces on the street. Most of Cairo's streets are controlled by pro-government forces now.
The army is literally right outside our hostel. Two or three hours ago there were a few hundred militias armed with sticks and molotov cocktails. They've now melted into the night. Maybe to look for a fight, maybe to go home.
They've been replaced by an army blockade and literally in the last few minutes trucks full of big, mean looking guys who are shouting at people. This is the bare face of the counter revolution.
If the people in Tahrir Square marched out now into the city and seized the main intersections and the main building they'd be able to sweep the counter-revolution away.
They haven't done that and don't have a perspective of doing that.
We are witnessing a consolidation of the counter-revolutionary forces while the revolutionary forces don't have a strategy to take the revolution forward.
They plan another protest on Sunday, and if that doesn't work yet another on Tuesday. There's a very big question mark over whether these protests alone will be able to topple the Mubarak regime.
Video reports from YESTERDAY
Sadly only uploaded today due to slow internet.
Removed for security reasons will be re-uploaded shortly
Short update from Simon Hardy - 6.40PM Cairo Time 4th February
So it's relatively quiet around here but there's still groups of militia.
Just to give you an idea of what's going on there's a petrol station not far away where the manager has equipped five staff with sticks and rubber battons to guard the pumps against molotov cocktail throwers in case they come and try to steal petrol.
Report from Simon Hardy - 6.10PM Cairo Time 4th February
The area where we are, on the steps outside hostel, is controlled by the pro-government militias. We are being protected by 5 men armed with sticks and swords, who are keeping the militia away, but the situation is very tense. Its night time now, so its curfew and the streets around downtown Cairo, north of Tahrir square, are rammed with pro-government gangs, they have set up check points at major junctions, and there are hundreds of them in the streets.
Hundreds of pro government militiamen are at the junctions just 100 metres from the hostel armed with sticks, knives, swords and Molotov cocktails. They are waiting for people to leave Tahrir square so they have attack them. One pro government militiaman went past the hostel with a shopping trolley full of molotov cocktails.
The pro-government militia are going around asking car owners to give them petrol for the Molotov cocktails. They are also asking shopkeepers, many of whom are outside their shops trying to protect their property and families.
In a couple of hours protestors in Tahrir square will begin to come out of the square in groups.
If they come out North of Tahrir Square they will run into the pro-government militia and a bloody battle will ensue. People around the area that we have talked to think tonight will be the bloodiest night so far.
There are rumours that the protestors in Tahrir Square plan to march on the presidential palace, but we have heard rumours of this before and it hasn’t happened. There is a clear lack of leadership among the protestors, right at this crucial moment of struggle.
In contrast the counter-revolution clearly has leadership. The armed gangs in the streets with machetes and knives are being directed to attack the protestors and smash the revolution. There are fewer of them than the Tahrir Square protestors, but they are on this level better organised than them.
Many people are saying the gangs are hired by the politicians in the NDP, trying to save their system to the very end against the revolution.
We can’t get any photos at the moment as it is too dark and its too dangerous to get close to the pro-government militia with cameras. If the protestors come out of the square and drive the pro-government thugs back then we will try and join them in the square, otherwise we will be forced to stay in the hostel.
Report from Simon Hardy - 3.40PM Cairo Time 4th February
There's gangs of people patrolling the street. They're walking around and gathering on street corners.
From hotel we can see constant shouting and other noises which indicate a disturbance or fight is going on.
Reports from Guardian and Australian journalists of being detained and interrogated, and possibly even tasered, by the security forces indicate that there's a real clampdown going on.
It's really not safe for non-Egyptians to be walking around on the street. We're waiting hopefully for an anti-government protest to go past that we can join.
The problem is if this gets dispersed and we get captured by the military that's a very dangerous situation for us to be in.
The only thing we can gauge at this moment is the tense standoff between the revolution and the counterrevolution.
Analysis from Simon Hardy - 1.40PM Cairo Time 4th February
Departure day - a tale of two cities
Cairo is a tale of two cities at the moment, hundreds of thousands if not over one million have gathered in Tahrir square for the departure day protest - the footage on the TV which Al-Jazeera is showing is incredible, the numbers, the energy, the passion of a people awakened to fight for democracy.
The other side of the city – unfortunately the side we are on – is a different story. All around the hostel, men with big sticks patrol the streets. There are tanks and soldiers on many street corners checking everyone. If you are not Egyptian you can forget it, they search everything, question you, check your passport then turn you back. These problems did not exist a week ago, but they do now. Gangs of men with sticks, some young, some old, a look of blood-lust on their faces. So we are trapped in the hostel watching the news instead of being there, which as you will understand is incredibly frustrating. We hope that when the march heads off we can make it inside somehow, but it is hard to get past even three blocks without someone stopping you.
This is a problem for us, but not for the millions of people protesting across the country today. It is becoming clearer that the international community (which means the US and EU) is pushing for Omar Suleiman to become the new president in an interim 'transition' government. For some people this will satisfy them. They hate Mubarak but are less angry with the other members of the regime. They will quickly discover that Suleiman is a carbon copy of Mubarak in all the essentials. ElBaradei might be allowed to become leader after the transition phase in September. The most important thing for the west is stability, whether it is through the army or through a liberal democratic parliament. In a country like Egypt the army is a safer bet.
For others however, Suleiman's presidency will be a slap in the face and they will carry on the protests – if they can maintain the momentum and energy, and if they can marshal the forces to smash the regime then they will win. But if not then the progress made after all these protests will be minimal, and the backlash of the counter-revolution will be terrible.
Mubarak may go today, but unless the regime is defeated decisively then the victory is a pyrrhic one. Anyone who sings the praises of spontaneity and the multitude over the importance of class should learn from Egypt - the spontaneous nature of the protests got them far, but only so far. The multitude, without class distinction or a clear idea of what kind of democracy they want, is now faced with a ruling class which has not regained the advantage but certainly regained important ground. In the case of Cairo they have literally regained some of the streets, the popular committees of a week ago replaced by something else.
It is instructive to think of Trotsky's criticism of the heroic events of the Paris Commune:
"The Commune shows us the heroism of the working masses, their capacity to unite into a single bloc, their talent to sacrifice themselves in the name of the future, but at the same time it shows us the incapacity of the masses to choose their path, their indecision in the leadership of the movement, their fatal penchant to come to a halt after the first successes, thus permitting the enemy to regain its breath, to re-establish its position."
Such words could have been written about Tahrir square and the struggle in Egypt. The crucial difference with Egypt and Tunisia is that in Tunisia the regime were happy to sacrifice Ben Ali and some others and the people were not yet resolute enough to drive through the democratic revolution to its conclusion. Now there is turf war in Tunis, as the regime tries to maintain itself in some form but the masses take to the streets arguing over what kind of cabinet would be acceptable. The constituent assembly has not yet become a popular slogan so the debate still occurs within the framework of the existing parliamentary system.
In Egypt the regime is taking its time to prepare the sacrifice of Mubarak, delaying as long as possible to focus the anger on him and his intransigence, not the regime as a whole. The western leaders have played their usual disgusting role in this affair, alternatively supporting Mubarak (Blair called him a brave man) criticising him, apparently hanging him out to dry, then throwing him a life line.The west wants order, stability, business as usual. It is not that they are indifferent to Suleiman's record in the intelligence services and the number of people they have tortured and killed in the last 30 years – it is that they are positively in favour of it.
Tahrir square can't last for ever – the decisive moment of revolution must come soon.
Update from Joana Ramiro - 1PM Cairo Time 4th
We came back to the hotel as there are men in the street who look like militias and we can't get passed checkpoints towards Tahrir Square.
We decided to take a different approach of taking a Cab across the river to the side opposite Tahrir square, then to walk across from there.
Yet there are also military and militia checkpoints there. We got stopped by a military checkpoint and they asked us why we hadn't left the country yet.
They checked our cameras, but thankfully we deleted everything after uploading it last night so they can't find anything they might find incriminating.
In general they are not letting foreigners anywhere near Tahrir Square because they think they are journalists and will confiscate their cameras.
Luckily they did not do a more thorough check of the books and papers we had on us.
The problem is now we are totally stuck in our hotel and the quarter of houses around it. It's very frustrating not to be able to get near the square.
It's becoming quite critical because unless we see protesters going towards Tahrir Square in big numbers passing our road we'll have no way of getting there.
Update from Joana Ramiro - 11.50AM Cairo Time 4th February
We're a few hours away from the time of the big demonstration in Tahrir Square.
We've been trying to get to Tahrir Square for hours now, but it's pretty impossible. We're in quite a tourist and commercial area, so it's absolutely packed with pro-government militias and state police.
Pretty much all the roads have checkpoints. We've already been stopped at one today, and after our experience of last night we don't want to push our luck.
I'm quite weary to be honest - it's the way to the square which is dangerous rather than the square itself.
We can hear the call for prayer so we know within an hour or so people will start assemblying to go to the square. We're hoping to join a larger group then to provide us with some level of safety.
Helicopters are already flying around. There are very few people on the streets around us, except for the men blocking the roads.
The military are not allowing many journalists through, we hear the ones that have got through have been stopped several times before succeeding.
We're currently not able to get there ourselves. The situation over the last few days has turned ugly for foreigners with cameras when this wasn't the case when we first arrived.
We'll call later with updates.
Update from Simon Hardy - 9PM Cairo Time 3rd February
So an amazing day of protests and resistance in Tahrir Square which saw the pro-government thugs turning up, being seriously driven back, and the square filling up with thousands upon thousands of protesters.
The demonstrators are determined to stay there until they see the end of the Mubarak regime.
It's been a great day in terms of the movement, everyones anticipating the massive demonstration tomorrow.
However the reports of journalists and westerners being targeted throughout Cairo is great cause for concern.
In fact myself and Joana were coming back from Tahrir Square in the evening when we came across a checkpoint which was manned by pro-government men with sticks.
They asked us if we were journalists. We said we were students. They looked in our bags and saw our cameras, then escorted us to a military position.
We were handed over to two soldiers who walked over to a building with us. They demanded we go inside. We refused. They took our cameras and looked through the images.
Another man came up to us who was obviously an intelligence officer. He spoke fluent French and interrogated us in it. He wanted to know who we were, where we were staying, what we are doing here.
He made us delete a lot of photos we'd taken throughout the day.
There was a very tense moment where we thought we'd be forced to go into the building where they were taking protesters they'd captured leaving Tahrir Square.
Clearly this was a place where they were interrogating and potentially beating people.
Thankfully we managed to talk our way out of it saying we were not journalists.
Clearly there's a massive clampdown against journalists and photographers as the government is trying to stop images and updates of the success of the protest movement.
This is our last report of the day, tomorrow we'll be updating live from Tahrir Square on the massive demonstration.
Stone throwing in Tahrir Square
Video of police being escorted away by the crowd
Interview: what will happen on Friday?
Messages from Tahrir Square
Video of stone throwing battle in Tahrir Square
Video of preparations for stone throwing battle earlier today
Video of Simon Hardy walking towards stone throwing battle earlier today
Audio interviews with protesters in Tahrir Square
Video of barricades and soldiers
Video of rally in morning of 3rd February in Tahrir Square
Video of stone throwing in Tahrir Square on the 3rd February
Interview with a protester about the sniper attacks
Guardian interview with Simon Hardy
Interview with protester from Tahrir Square
Video of Simon Hardy walking up a building overlooking Tahrir Square earlier today
Video report from Simon Hardy of the pro-Mubarak forces being pushed back by demonstrators and forced out the square
Photo of Molotov Cocktails used by protesters to defend Tahrir Square from pro-government forces
Video reporting from Simon Hardy of gunshots in Tahrir Square
Simon Hardy on the Guardian Live Blog
So far: 3.53PM, 4.34PM (UK time, add 2 hours for Cairo)
They have audio recording of Simon speaking.
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 5.50PM Cairo Time
We've literally just driven the pro-Mubarak protesters back past the bypass and out of Tahrir square.
We've been told to go back now as it's very dangerous here. People are very concerned for our safety.
People have taken up the whole street here. It's incredible people's determination to stay and fight - to defend the revolutionary gains they have won.
Audio interview: here
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 5.20PM Cairo Time
Shots have just rung out the last ten minutes or so. We're told snipers are positioned onto of the Hilton Hotel roof overlooking the square.
Now ambulances are driving around picking people up and doctors running about.
Every so often the crowd seizes someone who apparently is a police officer, drag them into the middle of the square. They show us and any journalists they find their ID cards which show they are police officers.
It's very dangerous here - even though the pro-Mubarak protesters are far fewer than yesterday, the state is employing extreme violence with the snipers.
People are very angry about this. Tomorrow will be a hugh demo. Everyone is building for that.
Thousands of people are still in the square, no one is put off by the violence. No one is scared away.
People are determined to come here and defend the square.
They say they want peaceful protest and don't want violence. But they recognise their are limits to non-violence. When they are attacked they respond in kind with bottles and stones.
They realise they must defend the themselves and defend the revolution against the attacks by the government forces.
Report from Joana Ramiro - 3 Feb 5PM Cairo Time
We're still in the square for several reasons. Several pro-Mubarak reactionary groups are surrounding the square from every single entrance. So we're stuck here until things calm down.
Second thing is that there is a certain buzz within the square now. Several groups of men are assembling to talk and debate. We don't understand what they are debating, but it seems political and probably about how to take things forward.
We've seen some men being escorted from the square, we think these are police in civilian clothes or agitators. They are being found out, busted and kicked away.
We also found out that there are five police men and members of the reactionary groups are now within a cage somewhere.
Yesterday we think we saw a glimse of these people, but only had who they are explained to us today.
There's a real feeling that something is about to happen and its a make or break very soon. I don't know if this is solely in anticipation of tomorrow or if its something else.
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 3.10PM Cairo Time
So it's ten past three, and here in Tahrir Square there and thousands upon thousands of people now. The square is really filling.
People are taking part in rallies and impromptu discussion circles.
The square is quite heavily defended and fortified at certain points. At each road coming into the square theres lines of protesters between three and four deep.
Tanks and soliders are at one end. People are setting up barricades with metal plates and corrugated iron. They're equipped with stones.
Further away are the pro-Mubarak demonstrators who are throwing stones. A sense of standoff hangs over the square.
Everyone's talking about the demonstration tomorrow. One person described it to me as departure day for Mubarak.
More people are coming into the square now, no doubt galvanized by the heroic resistance seen in Tahrir Square last night. They are even more determined in face of government violence to take on Mubarak and finally bring him down.
Rumours are circulating that the army will come over to the side of the people, and this is giving everyone more hope. If it comes down to an all out confrontation the chance that the armed forces will split and break is extremely positive.
I had an interesting discussion with Robert Fisk in the square. He said when the tanks first came on Friday the driver of the lead tank who had ordered to seize the square from demonstrators stopped his tank. He took off his helmet and kept calling his mobile phone.
Two days later Fisk talked to him, and it transpired that he was talking to his father who was an ex-general. His father told him not to drive the protesters out of the square.
This is a very interesting realignment of the forces from different parts of the state.
There must be a decisive confrontation tomorrow.
If tomorrow there's two million people in the streets but they do not march and there is no real attempt to drive Mubarak out by taking control of the city then it will only lead to another round of counter-revolutionary violence.
I have no doubt that the army will waiver in this event and go over to restoring so called law and order.
That's the threat really hanging over the revolution.
The mood is the square is defiant - people are not put off by the violence seen yesterday. So many people are walking around with bandages and wounds but they're still smiling. They're staying here becuase they have to.
They have to hold the square until tomorrow which hopefully will be the last day of the Mubarak regime in Egypt.
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 1.04PM Cairo Time
It's one o'clock. Serious stone throwing has broken out between the two sides near Ramses street. The army have been trying to keep the two side apart but so far failed. Tanks have been deployed in various areas.
But the pro-government forces have been quite seriously driven back. There's not as many of them as there was before. Whenever fighting takes place there's an informal communication method where people will get sticks and stones and bang on things near where the fighting takes place so people know where the fighting is. They can then bring Hessian sacks full of stones or sticks, and shields which they can use. Some are just made of cardboard which they stick to their arms to provide some basic protection against the barrage of stones.
Definitely things are intense, but no where near the scenes we saw last night.
I spoke to one person earlier saying they were fighting until 5.30 in the morning when they finally drove back the pro-government forces.
People here haven't slept now for over 36 hours. They've been in Tahrir square defending it. They know they must stay awake today in order to defend it again and prepare for the mass demonstration tomorrow.
There are unofficial reports on the BBC that the military today will declare in favour of the anti-government forces. If it does happen then tomorrow will inevitable be the downfall of Mubarak. If it doesn't then tomorrow's demo must be massive, strikes and huge demonstrations will have to happen across the country to show that the anti-Mubarak movement has not been defeated by the pro-government protesters.
Report from Joana Ramiro - 3 Feb 12:40AM Cairo Time 3rd February
Thought I'd give my own account of things as well.
It's incredible, we went up on the roof of one of the buildings which overlooks directly the barricades between the roads which access the square.
On one side you see the Pro-Regime protesters outside the square, and on the other inside the square the Pro-Freedom Protesters as they call themselves.
On top of the building what you see if loads of people who not only work to defend themselves, providing medical supplies here for later on, but also provide information for people in the square. It is exactly because they are behind the barricades they have poor visibility - so the people on the building provide details of pro-regime forces movements to them.
What I also think is quite striking is that the military provides these buffer zones between the two sets of protesters. They see to protect whoever is in Tahrir square, and at the moment it is the pro-Freedom protesters. They kick the reactionary groups away.
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 12:36AM Cairo Time 3rd February
We're standing on a roof overlooking Tahrir Square.
A growing number of Pro-Mubarak forces are gathering on one of the bridge highways near the square and there's been stone throwing between the two sides.
Now both side are standing near each other, only separated by a wire fence and a few soldiers.
They are shouting at each other, heckling each other. Some have even come right up to each other on either side of the fence. They're debating with each other about what is going on in the country.
It's quite clear things are moving towards another confrontation later in the day if more and more pro-government forces turn up.
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 11.41AM Cairo Time
Pro-government protesters have turned up at a side street leading onto Ramses avenue.
They've been met by demonstrators who are hurling stones at them.
A general call has gone out to reinforce the front of the demo where the barricades are to prepare to resist the government thugs if they come back again.
Its not even lunchtime yet and there is quite a serious escalation of confrontation happening.
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 11.37AM Cairo Time 3rd February
We're standing here on Ramses Avenue, one of the main highways into Tahrir Square. The most intense fighting between pro-democracy activists and pro-government thugs last night took place here.
The street is covered in rubbish, stones and debris.
There are trucks at one end, barricades set up. People are hammering and nailing these in preparation for attacks they fear later on.
At the other end nearest Tahrir Square are army tanks. They are facing towards us which is a good sign: this is the direction pro-Mubarak forces would advance from.
Everyone is stand around preparing and waiting for the afternoon to see what happens. There is a large gathering of people at the end of the street here.
These are the people who will make up the front line of defence if pro-Mubarak forces attack. I'm going to try to talk to some of them now.
Joana Ramiro interviewed on Portuguese TV
Video here - Portuguese language interview, no English subtitles
Report from Simon Hardy - 3 Feb 11.15AM Cairo Time 3rd February
Thousands and thousands of protesters are here in Tahrir square again. And more are coming in. The demo has held the square overnight in the face of vicious attacks from pro-government protesters. Many of these are police and other members of security forces.
What people are saying is that Mubarak gained a lot of sympathy on Tuesday when he announced he was stepping down in September. But that he has since lost this due to the actions of his supporters.
The anti-Mubarak protesters are determined to hold the square for another 24 hours until the mass demonstration after Friday Prayers.
If we can hold the square it can be a huge demo which will be another nail in the coffin of the Mubarak regime. That is what they are really holding on for.
Audio from Tahrir Square this afternoon
The pro democracy demonstrators havebroken up stones and found sticks, they are beating them against the iron railings, a constant and regular thumping noise that lets the pro government thugs that we are here and we are not going away.
Report from Simon Hardy - 8.45PM Cairo Time 2nd February
We've left Tahrir Square to send in reports and photos, it's quite late and dark there now. Today has seen the situation escalating dramatically. The excitement and energy of previous days has been replaced by a serious determination in the face of violence from the pro government forces.
The real feeling in the square is one of tension: the thousands of protesters have been confronting Pro-Mubarak forces since around 1pm this afternoon. They've done an excellent job defending the square, but they know tomorrow will bring more violence and attacks by pro government forces.
They are determined to remain in the square until Friday when there is another mass demonstration planned against Mubarak.
So the demo must hold the square for another day. They must resist the violent attacks, they must defend themselves and beat off the pro-government forces.
The atmosphere is very tense at the moment because if the square falls or the pro-government forces grow much larger and inflict serious casualties on anti-Mubarak demonstrators it may make the Army waiver. They might even intervene on the side of the regime to restore order.
The people in the square are organising themselves to defend the revolution and what they've won so far.
Friday will be a very important day, perhaps even larger than Tuesday. It certainly will be an essential demonstration as now we have the violent attacks on the movement.
It's important that people come out and stay out on the street. They must organise themselves to go to the working class and make the connections with them to bring out the forces needed to bring down the government.
Otherwise the counter-revolution will grow stronger and stronger, and grow more and more dangerous across the country.
Photos from Joana Ramiro
Click for large versions
Videos sent in by Joana & Simon from Tahrir Square
Prayers during protest
Scene on entering Tahrir Square
Photos just sent in by Simon Hardy - 8PM Cairo Time 2nd February
Click for large versions
Report from Simon Hardy - 6PM Cairo Time 2nd February
We're still in Tahrir Square, there's thousands of people around. We're quite near the front line where the Pro-Mubarak forces are throwing sticks and stones at us. Around us people are breaking up paving stones with metal sticks to get ammunition. This is wrapped in carpet and taken to the front line to defend the square against the Pro-Mubarak militias.
Everyone here comes up to as we walk past. They say how much they love freedom and hate Mubarak. They're not going to give up until he goes: they know how important it is for the whole Middle East to see what is going on here.
More people are going past me now with stones while people are streaming back from the front lines with bandages covering their wounds. We're going to go a bit closer to see what's happening.
Report from Simon Hardy - 5.40PM Cairo Time 2nd February
We have just got passed several checkpoints and managed to get into Tahrir Sq. This is literally the centre of the Egyptian Revolution. There are thousands and thousands of people here protesting. Huge banners fill the square.
The streets are still blocked off by tanks, but more importantly at each entrance to the Square there are hundreds of protesters forming human chains. Many have bandages and head wounds from attacks by Pro-Mubarak forces.
The anti-Mubarak demonstrators check our IDs and bags, and let us in. They are very welcoming, and very excited at what is going on.
The regime has told protesters to go home because their is a risk of violence and clashes. So far the demonstrators have not budged.
After the mobilisation of the pro-Mubarak forces and their violent attacks on protesters, the question now is what is the next stage? How much longer can protesters hold the square? Will the revolution go forward, or will it fall back under the blows of counter-revolution?
Report from Simon Hardy - 5.20PM Cairo Time 2nd February
We've landed in Cairo and we've made our way into the centre. Everywhere there are small demonstrations of 50 to 100 people. We're currently in the area just North of Tahrir Sq and seeing the Pro-Mubarak militias with Egyptian flags and photos of him. They're armed with sticks, rocks and glass bottles.
People are patrolling the street as we're wandering around - it's a very tense situation. We're going closer to Tahrir Sq now, so we'll report back soon.