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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  January 30, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm EST

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who forgot that i was there. >> reporter: having changed one life, chris mumma is looking for the next forgotten prisoner. looking through those 200 cases from chris swecker's reports. >> i can guarantee you there is two on that list that are innocent. >> in prison. >> in prison. >> right now. >> right now. right now. people have been saying or demonstrating to leave. today the frustration is that he should be put to trial. if he wants to save his skin, if he has an iota of patriotism, i would advise him to leave today and save the country. good aeng, everyone. we are live in cairo tonight.
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day six of the upriding here is over. a new day has begun, day seven. in just a few hours, dawn will break over the city of cairo and you are watching history unfold. the streets around us right now are empty except for large numbers of egyptian soldiers who have occupied key points setting up road blocks along with civilian militias who have armed themselves with knives an clubs to try to prevent any looters from entering their neighborhoods. we have seen a dramatic day on sunday and again no one knows what the next few hours will bring. you heard from mohamed elbaradei, the nobel laureate. he appeared at liberation square, thahrir square. they are demanding nothing less than the removal of president mubarak from egypt. that has not happened. mubarak is still in power. he's made some changes to his government but the changes have not satisfied the protesters in
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the streets. despite curfews, a curfew that began on sunday at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon and tomorrow has been extended to begin at 3:00 p.m., despite that 4:00 p.m. curfew on sunday, protesters came out into defiance and stayed out well past the curfew chanting, yelling for the removal of president mubarak. the united states government has now announced they are going to start to voluntarily evacuate american citizens who want to. they're going to start offering charter flights on monday to points in europe. those charter flights, the people who take them will have to reimburse the u.s. government. a number of americans in various cities, cairo, alexandria and elsewhere, have felt trapped. it is very difficult at times to get out. a number of commercial flights have been canceled. the u.s. government like some other governments around the world is going to start to offer charter flights. details on that are still sketchy. th story today was the protests that continue to go especially in liberation square. we were there several hours
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after curfew had started. here's what we saw. sunday night, the sixth day of protests in liberation square, was once again filled. they're calling for freedom an change and justice. those are words you hear a lot. they're saying that their demand haven't changed, they want mubarak out. defying mubarak, defying the curfew, thousands showed up shouting into the night. >> mubarak, get out! this is our home! >> reporter: what's so remarkable about this, is for those of us who have reported from egypt over the years, is before any time you brought out a camera, instantly police would be all over you stopping you from shooting, checking your papers. we have a camera out, nobody's stopping us. people are voicing their opinion. there is no one organizer of these protests but tonight mohamed elbaradei showed up to try to talk to the crowd.
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elbaradei is right othver there. everybody wants to get a look at him, wants to hear anything he might have to say. the crowds rush forward and elbaradei spoke briefly through a bull horn. >> translator: today you are an egyptian demanding your rights and freedom and what we started can never be pushed back. >> reporter: his words were eloquent but few heard what he sa said. the noise in the square was simply too great. what's your message to president mubarak? what is your message to president mubarak? >> he should leave tonight. >> reporter: soldiers on tanks watched and waited. there were no police to be seen in the square on this night. are you scared to be here? >> no, not scared. who i'm scared of? >> reporter: there's no telling how much longer this can go on for. six days into the crisis, and there is still no clear way for it to come to an end. >> there was some shooting outside the egyptian museum, a soldier shooting into the air trying to disperse some
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demonstrators who had appeared. that occurred shortly after that video was shot earlier this evening. we have full coverage over the next two hours. wolf blitzer is going to be joining us from washington, d.c. covering all the angles from there. isha sesay will join us from atlanta. we also have our correspondent ben wedeman in cairo covering the story from the beginning, ivan watson is here and nic roberts robertson. ivan watson was in that same square earlier in the day when the curfew came into effect and if you thought people might leave as soon as that curfew started at 4:00 p.m., that certainly didn't happen. here's what ivan saw. >> reporter: this is an unmistakable show of military force. fighter jets flying low over
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cairo's tahrir square, liberation square. it's been a sim bomb of defiance for days now against the mubarak residency. people here are still chanting curfew was supposed to be done minutes ago but they're refusing to disperse. i've been talking with this professor. what do you think when you see these fighter jets overhead? >> as i said, we're not going to be intimidated by all of these. this is a sign of weakness. it is not signs of change. if he's strong enough, he would face the people, he would change this institution, he would drop down the assembly which have been -- >> you think the fighter jets are a warning? >> no, no. as you can see, the people here are gathering more and more. it makes them stronger and stronger. these people are strong. because they are strong from the heart. their spirit is strong. they are strong by holding to each other, by helping each other out and that's the spirit of the egyptian that has been under this regime for about 30
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years. we -- >> so there you hear it there, defiance, ongoing, from people here, demonstrators who have gathered here despite a curfew that the outgoing defense minister called for on state television saying, please, adhere to a curfew that's supposed to have started moments ago and continue until 8:00 in the morning. ivan watson, cnn, cairo. >> ivan joins me now. it was interesting to hear those fighter jets go over. if it was meant to cow people, if it was meant to scare them, it didn't seem to have that effect. >> no, just the opposite. it was interesting also that everybody interpreted that as a kind of warning, as a form of intimidation and they refused to follow that, if anything, the chanting accelerated at that moment. >> there are, as we've said, soldiers all over the streets and there is this really interesting relationship between the egyptian people and the
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soldiers. i mean they are surrounding the tax, talking with them, giving them food, giving them tea, in many cases i've seen singing as well. >> that's right. it looks like they're wooing them, they want to keep them on their side. as one egyptian demonstrator put it, the soldiers -- the egyptian army are the people. every egyptian family has a member within the military so they feel much more linked to it than they do to the police which again we're not really seeing out on these streets right now. >> what the egyptian military decides to do and is willing do in the next several days will be a critical component of all of this. we have now heard reports though according to the government that police are going to start coming back on to the streets on monday. if that is in fact true, that would be of concern to some of the demonstrators. >> absolutely. and we have seen signs that perhaps some of them are out there in plain clothes perhaps and operating some of the demonstrators concerned there may be instigators in those crowds that we're seeing trying
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to rile up the crowd sometimes. spoke with a journalist who was shot with these pellet guns, this kind of buckshot that's spraying out at the police stations. they're showing these welts, you'll see them on the demonstrators when they get too close. those are still being fired, people are still getting injured with those types of munitions that seem to be owned carried by skur security forces. >> we saw one squad of police out today, it stopped us, checked our equipment and asked us where we were going. but again, you don't see them at this point at least visibly in plain clothes. >> you do not. what's filling the vacuum which is remarkable are these citizen defense squads where i spoke with one guy who's an account manager for a software company normally. now he's out there with the ax and making molotov cocktails with his friends in his neighborhood just to protect their streets. >> it's literally every corner. driving in from the airport today we were stopped, block after block after block. and had to have the same
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conversations with people. generally once they realized we're here to report or we're not burglars or looters, they were happy and cordial. but it is somewhat tense. you see these guys who are carrying around baseball bats. we saw one with a club with a knife that had been put half-way through the wood so it was basically like a giant pick. >> these are not trained warriors. they're people with day jobs trying to protect their families and homes right now. they're very worried that this is unleashed just a wave of criminality and they have nobody else to turn to. many of them actually blame hoseny hose hosni mubarak. accusing him of deliberately creating a sense of anarchy. they're trying to fill in the gaps and they're afraid. >> they say the belief is if he creates a sense of anarchy, he can say he is still needed to
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restore calm. >> that's definitely an interpretation we've been hearing. some argue this is a form of punishment. hey, we stood up for our rights, we're asking for the right to choose our own punishment and he's punishing us with what could come next. we'll have more with ivan watson and ben wedeman and nick watson in alexandria who had a really interesting day. also wolf blitzer in washington. isha sesay is in atlanta. one week ago right now, it might have seemed impossible to imagine this level of turmoil in egypt. but on closer examination, the seas of dissent had been planted just waiting to erupt. cnn's suzanne malveaux joins us now to tell us when and where this all started. people around the world are shocked by what they're seeing but you could easily trace the roots. >> we all expressed a great deal of surprise when we saw egypt erupt but there were some signs. the last four weeks or so you had three different muslim
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countries that were in revolt. essentially that set up the perfect storm. starting with tunisia where an unemployed graduate student sets himself on fire after a city inspectors confiscated his unlicensed fruit cart, then allegedly slaps him. his death sparks unprecedented fury and protests against the government forcing tunisia's long-time president to flee. in algeria riots break out over rising food prices and a housing crisis. in yemen, students take to the streets. emboldened by its neighbors in the region, on tuesday, egypt erupts. angered by the alleged corruption, police brutality and lack of reforms in their own country. thousands pour into the streets demanding egyptian president
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hoseny hosni mubarak who's held power for nearly 30 years, resign. protesters and violence escalates. the egyptian military urges calm. social media sites like facebook and twitter report that they are being blocked by the government. thursday a leading egyptian opposition figure, mohamed elbaradei, returns home from europe vowing to back the protesters. the egyptian government then arrests a prominent leader of the country's largest opposition group, the muslim brother shareholder. the obama administration is alarmed by the growing intensity of the crisis but reacts with caution. >> i want to be very clear in calling upon the egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters. >> reporter: as unrest spreads beyond cairo in the days to come, protesters take to the skeets in qatar and jordan to show demonstrators their support.
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mubarak goes on national television to tell egyptians his government will resign but he will stay in power. his offer does in the quell the angry and growing crowds. 1,000 inmates break out after prison outside cairo. looters ransack prison buildings and businesses and looters tear off heads of mummies at the egyptian museum. >> the army is sort of controlling the street. politically there is a complete vacuum. >> a fascinating look at the roots of all of this, suzanne. there are those who feel the speed with which these protests erupted caught the obama administration by surprise and somewhat flat footed. you worked in the white house for many, many years. what's your assessment? >> covering the white house the obama and bush administrations had similar situations to deal with. mubarak was not a perfect ally but he was a reliable one. president obama on the one hand is threatening to pull aid from one of its closest allies, at
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the same time worried, frustrated that other arab allies are going to see that as a threat, perhaps throwing mubarak under the bus. that's why they're being somewhat cautious about this. the other thing, too, under the bush administration i had a chance to visit cairo with the former first lady laura bush. she had the same situation, the same challenge. people asked her the same question, do you support the muslim brotherhood, do you support this opposition party and she had to say yes, you know, mubarak is a reliable ally but she visited with those opposition leaders to show that they are open to the possibility of greater democracy in that country. >> suzanne, we appreciate the analysis. i'll toss it back to wolf now. suzanne pointed out the u.s. finds itself walking a very fine tight rope. >> stakes certainly enormous right now. the big focus though, rattled nerves throughout the middle east. regional leaders are watching what happens in egypt and wondering if the rage will spread interest their countries. a former jordanian foreign
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minister, deputy prime minister is here, now the vice president for studies at the carnegie endowment. is it too little, too late for president mubarak right now? >> i think so. i mean whether president mubarak leaves tomorrow or few week's time i think the mubarak regime is over and people are starting now to talk about the transition hopefully to a pluralistic democracy. >> would it be better if he left right away? there is a lot of concern that the longer he stays, the more difficult it will become for everyone. >> this is something the egyptians will have to decide but i think he needs to understand and people around him need to understand that this is a new era, a new game. i think it is better for him to leave. >> what should friends of egypt be doing like the united states right now? should the president of the united states, for example, pick up the phone and say to president mubarak it's over, you better step down? >> well, i think what whereas the president might not be able to do exact lip so, i think what the u.s. needs to do with egypt
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and with other countries of the region is to insist on a serious reform process. not programs as we've seen before designed to appease the west on their own publics, but certainly a national unity government that includes the national muslim brotherhood, a new presidential law constitution that would allow people to run for the presidency without the support of the national party. >> you're a former jordanian deputy prime minister and foreign minister. how worried are you that this unrest that's now in egypt, happened in tunisia, could spread to jordan? >> i think it is very worrisome to spread to jordan or to other countries of the region. i think business as usual is simply not sustainable. we have a political's leet in the arab world not just in juror didn't but throughout the arab world that has argued for decades that reform should take place at the very slow pace,
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that the street is not revolting, it is not protesting with be that there are peculiarities in each country that, you know, allow that country not to reform. that of course has all been undermined with this. there is certainly now a realization, i hope, that business as usual is not sustainable, one. two, that the reform process must be sustained. and serious and not just ad hoc or a short-term reaction to events. it must be carried over a long period of time an the public needs to be convinced that it is serious this time, through, as i said, the inclusion of all political forces in the country. and that includes the must brotherhood who both in egypt and jordan have been peaceful and trying to put forward their views. i disagree with a lot of them, but at least they put them through through peaceful means. >> thanks very much for your insight. anderson, lots going on and you just heard the former jordanian foreign minister
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expressed concern that what's happening in egypt right now could in fact spread to jordan. we'll talk to mohamed elbaradei tomorrow. essentially he said he's been in communication with those organizing some of the protests and that they have talked about the need to form some national unity government if and when president mubarak does step down. but of course that -- there is no sign of that happening any time soon. we'll have a lot more from the region and talk to all of our correspondents. next, is nic robertson who's had a fascinating 24 hours in the city of alexandria to our north. we'll have his report coming up. >> it's already a couple of hours past the curfew. it is dark and the men on the streets here are now guarding the streets. they've got sticks in their hands.
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nic robertson has been reporting for the last several days from the city of alexandria which is to the north of cairo, along the coast. a very dam tick day in alexandria. nic robertson filed this report earlier.
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>> reporter: with the demonstrations getting much closer to one of the army posts and the gunfire that we can hear rocketing through the air, the demonstrators say that's the army firing to warn them to stay away. but it's long after curfew right now. if the government was controlling the situation, trace of fireflying in the air -- these people wouldn't be out on the streets if the government was in control. flying in the a these people wouldn't be out on the streets if the government was in control. right know they're continuing that demand for hosni mubarak to step down. and the demand -- foreign governments stop this hypocrisy and stand for egyptians's freedom. people have been telling us this all day, they are frustrated with the united states, frustrated with britain. they've said they'll demonstrate and continue their demonstrations through the night. and this is exactly what we can see happening.
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those shots we saw being fired over the crowd before from the army, what do you -- what does that mean? >> that is quite a clear message to the egyptian people and that is a clear sign that the military is siding up with the people and we're actually waiting for the military to take a more serious step at this point to say to the president, we're not covering you anymore. >> reporter: that's more gunshots there. >> yes. that's cheering or saying to our commands we've done our job. what's happening on the grounds, they are not apprehending any demonstrations. they are siding with the people and we've seen it cross in local territories as well, in inner city, more and more, aside from highways, et cetera. so it is a clear message that the military is not doing what the regime is asking to do by preventing -- enforcing the curfew. robertson joins me now
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live from alexandria. what does the shoot iing does tt effect the protesters? >> reporter: we saw in the crowds there, there were children, young babes in arms being carried by families. they're simply not deterred by it. it seems that they, as they keep telling us, are going to keep pushing ahead with those demands regardless. anderson? >> we're going to have more from nic robertson over the next hour and half of our live coverage from cairo and from all points around egypt. back to isha in atlanta. well, egyptian president hosni mubarak presents western nations with a dilemma, b.e.t. political and moral. on the one hand, he's seen as an essential ally in the fight against terrorism and derl-palestinian peace process. on the other his autocratic rule is seen as contradicting democratic principles. michael holmes takes a closer look at the man who has ruled egypt with an iron hand for the past three decades.
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>> reporter: to understand hosni mubarak, you have to start here with his predecessor, anwar sadat, so in 1979 signed the camp david peace treaty with israel. that handshake on the white house lawn enraged muslim radicals who believed sadat had sold out arab interests across the region. 2 1/2 years later while president sadat was reviewing a military parade with then-vice president hosni mubarak sitting next to him, muslim radicals in the army had had their revenge. sadat was assassinated, mubarak was wounded but survived to be sworn in as president. that was october 1981. hosni mubarak has been the egyptian president ever since and until this week had never had had a vice president. when he came to power, egypt was
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the pariah of the arab world for signing that peace deal with israel. mubarak went on the diplomatic offensive quickly improving relations with arab neighbors. >> to consider peace is not something impossible. it is a gift to the human being. >> reporter: for 30 years mao bark has been a regular guest of american presidents, an ally of the west in efforts to contain al qaeda, and mubarak collaborated in repeated u.s. efforts to broker peace deals between israel and the palestinians. here with president ronald reagan. >> the exercise of the right to self-determination cannot be died to the palestinian people. >> reporter: self-determination back home in egypt though was another matter. mubarak's presidency was re-affirmed three times in national voting, but by law, no one else was allowed on the ballot. after u.s. pressure, a supposedly open election was
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held in 2005, but international observers complained the balloting was rigged. after contesting the election results, the number two vote getter was arrested, charged with forgery and sentenced to five years hard labor. that punishment earned the mubarak government a strong rebuke from the white house. the alternative mubarak's government hinted was chaos and egypt's painful history of terror attacks meant little was left to the imagination. from luxor in 1997 when 60 people, mostly tourists, were slaughtered to sharm ael shake in 2005 where 88 people were killed. like a cat, mubarak seems to have had nine lives. he survived mault pal assassination attempts, shrewding an attack by islamic extreatmentists on his motorcade during a 1995 visit to ethiopia. still mubarak is now 82 and in recent years his health has appeared to falter. when mubarak came to power in
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1981, he inherited a country torn apart by economic and political differences. islamic idealists and radicals wanted a muslim state. secular moderates wanted a western style democracy. after the fall of saddam hussein in iraq, u.s. pressure forced mubarak into grudging change. more freedom of expression, newspapers allowed to publish articles critical of the government. and economic reforms that brought strong economic growth. but this interview from 1981 may offer a hint at mubarak's cautious approach to change. >> look what happened in venezuela, i think? in morocco. nye gears. they tried to make tough reforms. people who are human beings, they didn't accept it. or they couldn't accept it. >> michael joins me now to talk a little bit more about all of
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this. michael, let's dig a little bit deeper. looking at mubarak the man and his past actions, what's your sense in terms of clues and what he may do next? >> it seemed obvious that early on in what's been going on on the streets there that there was a complacency among the regime that it would never go this far this fast. and they were caught off guard. there's certainly no guarantee there is not going to be a massive clamp-down yet. we have yet to see that. but he may be able to make enough promises, placate people enough to get to those presidential elections that are meant to be taking place in september and maybe make them free and fair. >> talk about the relationship with the military. they seem to be key in all of this. >> that evidenced by the appointment of the vice president, his first. and prime minister, both of them are of the military. he himself is of the military. make no mistake that the military is running things, both in a public sense and behind the scenes. and what happens on the streets, what happens politically is going to come down to the military as well. >> michael, great analysis.
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we appreciate it. wolf, to toss it back to you, all eyes on the military and what they may or may not do next, of course. >> it is a critical factor to be sure, isha. washington is, to say the least, walking a diplomatic tight rope right now as it tries to respond to the crisis in egypt. appearing sunday on cnn's "state of the union," secretary of state hillary clinton chose her words carefully when she answered a very pointed question from our own candy crowley. >> if you are watching, we are seeing signs that say, u.s., stop backing mubarak. what side is the u.s. on? mubarak or the people in the streets? >> well, there's another choice. it's the egyptian people. we are on the side, as we have been for more than 30 years, of a democratic egypt that provides both political and economic rights to its people, that respects the universal human rights of all egyptians. >> there are some very good
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reasons for washington to be treading very carefully right now in the face of the egyptian turmoil. the outcome, whatever it turns out to be, will have major ramifications for u.s. dealings with the ever volatile middle east. we'll get some expert advice on what will happen when we return. curtis: welcome ba to geico radio, it's savings, on the radio.
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we've also been clear that there must be reform, political.
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>> mubarak destroy our country. 30 years he destroy our country. >> social. >> muslim and christian, we are all one country. >> and greater economic opportunity. >> there's in minimum wage. what else do you need? people are starving. >> heard a lot today from protesters. they want to hear more from the united states, more support for people in the streets. as we have been talking about now for several days, the u.s. is walking a very fine line here. they've supported -- u.s. and various administrations have supported the government here for the 30 years that they have been in power. a lot of questions about what tack the u.s. will take in the coming days depending on what happens on the streets here. we have seen in the last 24 hours continued demonstrations. it's 4:30 or so a.m. right now here. curfew is in effect. streets are pretty calm in the downtown part of cairo.
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but most of the demonstrations don't really start to kick up until after afternoon prayers later on in the afternoon. tomorrow, on monday, they've actually now extended the curfew. rather than starting at 4:00 in the afternoon, it will start at 3:00 in the afternoon, a sign perhaps they are not pleased with the large numbers of people who are, frankly, just defying the curfew, many of these demonstrations go well into the night. now also the u.s. will be starting to evacuate, voluntarily evacuate, american citizens who want to get out, families of diplomats, tourists and residents who are stuck here. they will be giving them charter flights, making charter flights available from cairo and other cities to points in europe and from there people will have to figure out their own travel beyond europe and reimburse the united states for that travel. but it is very much the early hours on that. details are still sketchy. a lot to cover still. back to wolf in government. the u.s. government is walking a very, very fine
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diplomatic line with egypt. cairo certainly a long-time ally but the fallout unrest could have a lasting impact with washington's relationship with egypt and indeed the rest of the region. fran townsend and mona eltohawie. fran, how concerned should we be for the american citizens in egypt? >> wolf, because the curfew is not being enforced by the egyptian military, as you've seen in the clips provided by nic robertson and anderson, there are large demonstrations, they are entirely sort of unmanaged from a security standpoint. normally you would have officials out there at least making sure they were safe. and you don't have any of that. so you worry about a stampede, a rush, if there was a panic. there is all sorts of things. u.s. government is right to provide this. they're a little slow to get to this now. you would have thought this would have happened earlier on
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the weekend after the president spoke on friday. but they are right to be doing it now. people will have to reimburse the u.s. government for this travel and make their own way home from europe. >> mona, i haven't seen a whole lot of anti-american statements coming out of the protesters on the streets of cairo or alexandria but there is fear that the longer this goes on, the more anti-american it could become. is that a real fear? >> wolf, i have to stress, this revolution in the making in egypt has nothing to bo do with america and american citizens in egypt have absolutely nothing to worry about. the protesters in the streets of cairo, the tens of thousands who are staging an uprising against mubarak, our dictator of 30 years, have been peaceful. only violence we've been hearing of has come from thugs that have been shown to belong to the mubarak regime. no foreign citizen in egypt has been targeted in any way. i urge you to look at the positive aspect of what's going on. egypt is going through a
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historical moment. if there are no police forces out there on the street, that is solely the responsibility of the mubarak regime. if anybody's hurt, egyptian or foreign, that is the responsibility of the mubarak regime. these are peaceful -- this is a peaceful uprising that wants freedom and dignity for egyptians and it does not target any country. wants freedom for egyptian. this is an internal egyptian issue. >> who are these thugs ransacking shopping centers and going through the cairo museum, looting homes. who are these people? >> i know from egyptians that i'm in touch with in egypt that the police force, mubarak's security operators were completely pulled off the streets two days ago. when mubarak realized that the brutality of this police was not going to be enough to stem this uprising. sew pulled the police off. and we heard news reports that have confirmed jails were opened so you have ex-cons out on the street but thugs who have been caught looting and egyptians who
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set up neighborhood watches that handed them over to the armed forces and the armed forces have found on them identification papers connecting them to the mubarak regime. so this is a clearly attempt by the mubarak regime because it knows it has crumbled to terrify egyptians staging an uprising against thhim so that they feel they need mubarak back but mubarak is finished. i want to stress to the american media especially, this is a wonderful positive event in my country. peaceful uprising against mubarak is not targeting anybody. people want freedom, they don't want to hurt anybody. >> well, let me get a quick thought from fran. fran, this certainly does underscore the limits of u.s. power in egypt, indeed throughout the middle east right now. all of us. >> that's right, wolf. this is a very difficult line to walk. i think the administration absolutely wants to be on the right side of history and privately really does support the protesters. they've not been as vocal as i think protesters in egypt would like them to be.
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we hear a lot of this phrase "managed transition." and what you hear privately, what's that mean? it doesn't just mean lifting the emergency line and following through with september elections. it means mubarak should really state clearly not only there will be elections in september but that he won't run, his son gamal won't run and that will it be free and fair elections. i problem is i think even with u.s. urging, they haven't seen mubarak do that. maybe if he'd vp done that friday after his speech this t would have worked. >> may have been too late even earlier in the week. we'll continue our analysis, guys. thanks very much. anderson, back to you. we'll have continuing coverage right after this break. we'll show you what's happening away from the cameras in the neighborhoods where residents of cairo are living and some of them living in fear. >> i'm spending time at home now because just the situation in
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we've all seen the pictures of the demonstrators over the last self-days. that's what's happening in front of the cameras. in a lot of communities though in cairo, people are just trying
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to live their lives as best they can unsure of what they should do, unsure of their own safety. our own ben wedeman is in a neighborhood in cairo in which he live. he joins us. ben, what is it like where you are? >> well, actually this evening, anderson, it is much better than the previous two or three nights. i went out with one of the neighborhood patrols, people there that i know who just live around the block have got their pitch fo pitchforks, knives, their samurai swords. some have more serious weapons like resolvers and shotguns. they're all walking around the streets. throughout this area they've set up barricades at the end of every road. there's also some army special forces in the area, as well as tanks on the outskirts. so everybody is basically up all night patrolling to make sure that nothing happens in this area because what we've seen throughout the outlying areas of cairo, as opposed to the center
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of town, tahrir square, is there has been a lot of looting, a lot of criminal activity, burning of cars, and also just random attacks on anyone who's on the street. so a very touch-and-go situation, anderson. >> there's a lot of talk among protesters that some of that looting is actually sort of agents of the mubarak regime. you've, no doubt, heard those rumors. what do you know about it? >> well, i spoke with one egyptian army special forces officer who's on patrol in this area and he confirmed that they have caught people who were involved in looting and arson and they checked the i.d.s and they are indeed egyptian police. so that does seem to be the case. he could not comment on the belief of many people that they are doing this on orders. now we haven't heard that, but certainly we've heard anecdotal
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evidence, as well as direct comments like from this special forces officer that it does appear that police are engaged, though not necessarily directing in a lot of this looting and this arson. anderson? >> ben, finally, there's a report from the government that police have been asked to go back on the streets tomorrow. if that does in fact happen, what do you think the response is going to be? how is that going to be viewed? >> it will be mixed, at best, anderson. many people have seen that they, by themselves, without the help of the police, can do the job of the police. and of course, the police in egypt had traditionally -- weren't just maintaining law and order, they were also engaged in demanding petty bribes, basic corruption, a lot of brutality that egyptians have grown to resent a lot, anderson. >> we'll have more from ben
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throughout or coverage. ben, continue to stay safe. thanks for the reporting. our coverage continues. we'll be right back. and those who stay behind to do the same. for every warrior who charges into the fight... is another who fights to keep moving forward until their return. military lives are different. at usaa we've been there. we understand. that's why our commitment to serve military, veterans and their families is without equal. usaa. for insurance, banking, investments, retirement and advice... we know what it means to serve. let us serve you.
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welcome back to our continuing live coverage from cairo. it is coming up on 5:00 a.m. here in cairo, day seven of the uprising here. i want to bring up wolf blitzer in new york. one of the biggest items and headlines in the last couple of hours has been the announcement
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by the united states they will start offering voluntary valuati evacuations to u.s. citizens details sketchy, referring them to the u.s. website a problem here because there is no internet access but recommending family members in the united states contact the family members here in egypt and then do to the website to try to contact the u.s. government. we have to see how this charter flight service works out. >> it's not going to be easy. there's a lot of contingency planning in washington and the pentagon and elsewhere. certainly, the escalating anger in egypt has a lot of countries scrambling to get their citizens to safety. getting the word out, you're absolutely right, is tough with limited or no internet access. turkey sent over two planes sunday for its citizens. canada and india are doing charter flights and the u.s.
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embassy in cairo is trying to provide emergency services to americans, flights to so-called safe havens in europe will begin and monday thousands of citizens in egypt are being advised, american citizens, as safely as they can do so but you've seen the pictures at the airports. aesche s eschesch eschesch escee ayesha. it is clearly a mess. >> that's right. the outrage spread to erequest gift after tunisia. and now bracing for their own days of rage. are we really seeing a domino effect in other arab countries? >> let me tell you why there's so much concern there could be a domino effect. you see tunisia and egypt. what we're seeing is more protests in the last few days. jordan on saturday, there were
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protests. syria, saturday, there were protests. lebanon had protests today. sudan had a stunt protest today and iraq had a protest today and last but not least, yemen, each protest growing in strength and number, the opposition to ali abdullah saleh, trying to get him out of power. >> what about egypt in matching intensity. >> the u.s. is extremely concerned about yemen and the neighbors because it has become a stronghold in the region. they're concerned if a key ally like ali abdullah saleh is thrown out of power, they're worried who will replace him and what will happen next. >> i want to toss it back to you. >> thanks very much. continuing coverage the next hour from cairo. the coverage continues. stay with us. [ marge ] psst.
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