Update on the Egyptian Revolution - 014

Today was a great turnout for the Day of Departure. Reports estimated 2 million in Cairo, 1.5 million in Alexandria, and many elsewhere.

The demonstrations were peaceful, with pro-Mubarak supporters

Some demonstrators wanted to march to the presidential palace at the end of the day, but there did not seem to be concensus on it, so it did not happen. TV reported that a week ago, there was one tank near the presidential palace, and today, there was 60 of them and barbed wire barricades.

A giant banner was unfurled in Tahrir Square that has the demands. What I could make out among them are:

1) Mubarak steps down
2) Dissolving the fraudulent parliament and Shura council (upper house)
3) End the emergency laws that have been in effect for 30 years
4) Form a national unity government representing all political spectrum
5) Elect a free parliament that makes constitutional amendments necessary for presidential elections
6) Immediate prosecution of those responsible for deaths among pro-democracy protesters
7) prosecution of those implicated in corruption.

The casualties so far are about 300 dead (UN estimate) or 450 by some. The regime has said that only 11 people died.

The information warfare continues. The regime has managed to put a wedge between Egyptian and Egyptian by using outright lies spread by the state TV, as well as the satellite TV stations that are owned by tycoons close to the regime.

The pro-Mubarak demonstrations are fewer in number, and shot from close range so as not to reveal that the numbers are low.

The chants include "We are the true Egyptians. We don't take money from anyone". A very telling chant.

The tactics are repeated on Facebook, and the terminology is the same one that is also used by some pro-Mubarak protesters on TV.

"You have to respect Mubarak, he is still your president"
"He has the right to die in Egypt"
"He should stay and leave in dignity"
"What you are saying is your opinion"
"Sorry President, for what they have done" (I saw a rumor about this around 3 days ago and discounted it, until I saw the exact same thing on TV)

And they get cornered, not being able to refute facts, they would say "you are not practicing the democracy that you are preaching, so long for democracy" to end a conversation.

Egyptian TV is running a campaign to polish Mubarak's image, carrying babies, telling tales of how modest he used to live, how he and his wife met, and all that. Sob stories.

The rumors are many: Israel has Mosad spies everywhere in Egypt. The protesters are two groups, those who protester in the first few days, and they are good youth. And those in Tahrir now, who are infiltrated, are Muslim Brotherhood, and everything evil. They have foreign agendas, or have "political leanings".

I see many people on Facebook parroting the above lies.

The dirty tricks have reached an unbelievable low. Someone on Facebook created a video from a mobile device of his laptop. It shows AlJazeera web site and claiming that it has sections of its site saying "together we will bring the downfall of Egypt".

I was able to create an equivalent video saying Mickey Mouse supports Mubarak. From a technology point of view, the trick was trivial: add the AlJazeera ad server to the hosts file with 127.0.0.1, then run a web server and serve a custom banner.

The turmoil is costing Egypt $310 Million per day. That is in addition to the $90 million that the shutdown of the internet and mobile phones cost earlier in the week.

All that while the Mubarak family's wealth is estimated at $70 Billion.

Fox News, being one of the least credible news outlets in my eyes, is reporting that Omar Suleiman, the new Vice President of Egypt was the target of an assassination attempt that killed two of his guards. Assuming this is true, this must have been from the few people close to him, perhaps his own guard. If true, I bet that this is an internal power struggle inside the regime, or some of the tycoons protecting their interests.

My brother is going back to work tomorrow (Saturday) for the first time in a week.

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