On that night the Egyptian military let Mubarak’s ruling party headquarters burn down and ordered the police brigades attacking protesters to return to their barracks. When the evening call to prayer rang out and no one heeded Mubarak’s curfew order, it was clear that the old president been reduced to a phantom authority.
I don't think that the mob that harassed me was part of a coordinated campaign against journalists. Our attackers were just ordinary Egyptian citizens whose nerves had been frayed by 10 days of uncertainty and unrest. State television fueled their anxiety with a steady diet of conspiracy theories claiming that shadowy foreign influences were behind the waves of civil unrest and that foreign journalists were hopelessly biased toward the anti-Mubarak protesters -- thus actively helping to bring the regime down.
Elsewhere in Cairo, however, it genuinely seemed like journalists had indeed been explicitly targeted, starting during the day on Wednesday and peaking in a cascade of incidents on Thursday. Those who weren't attacked by mobs were arrested by police officers or detained -- allegedly for their own safety -- by the military.
There's really only one reason to attack journalists -- if you don't want them to report their observations to the outside world. Although the protesters occupying Tahrir Square on Thursday had a relatively peaceful day, the sudden wave of attacks against journalists has fueled concerns that there's a tsunami coming -- something the government and its supporters don't want the world to see.
But Mubarak and his supporters should also be concerned. The forces they're unleashing will not be so easy to contain again. The paranoia and xenophobia I witnessed on Thursday were unlike anything I've seen from the Egyptian people in 13 years of covering this country. For a country that depends heavily on a steady flow of foreign tourists, turning the Egyptian people against the outside world could have catastrophic long-term consequences.
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Troops wearing riot gear toted automatic weapons and stood guard in the area around Cairo's Tahrir Square early Friday, as anti-government demonstrators promised another day of large protests to demand President Hosni Mubarak's resignation.
Security forces detained some people leaving the square, pointing guns at them and forcing them to lie on the ground. Others blocked the nearby October 6 bridge.
A handful of pro-government protesters cheered as large vans filled with security forces arrived at the square around 6 a.m. (11 p.m. ET). It was unclear whether those inside were members of the military or police.
"The man [Mubarak] told you he won't stand again," Tantawi said, referring to the president's announcement that he will not seek re-election in polls to be held this autumn. Tantawi also repeated a call from the Egyptian government for the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's biggest opposition group, to join a dialogue with the government.
It said its website had been hacked earlier today with a banner advertisement replaced with a slogan "Together for the collapse of Egypt", which linked through to a web page with content critical of the network. The banner remained in place for two hours.
Captivity was terrible. We felt powerless — uncertain about where and how long we would be held. But the worst part had nothing to do with our treatment. It was seeing — and in particular hearing through the walls of this dreadful facility — the abuse of Egyptians at the hands of their own government.
For one day, we were trapped in the brutal maze where Egyptians are lost for months or even years. Our detainment threw into haunting relief the abuses of security services, the police, the secret police and the intelligence service, and explained why they were at the forefront of complaints made by the protesters.
...The Mukhabarat has had a working relationship with American intelligence, including the C.I.A.’s so-called rendition program of prison transfers. During our questioning, a man nearby was being beaten — the sickening sound somewhere between a thud and a thwack. Between his screams someone yelled in Arabic, “You’re a traitor working with foreigners.”
...Ms. Mekhennet asked her interrogator, “Where are we?” The interrogator answered, “You are nowhere.”
We were blindfolded and led to the blank room where we would spend the night and into the next afternoon on the orange plastic chairs. The screams from the torture made it nearly impossible to think.
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