January 25-February 11, 2011 – News Reports – interviews – eyewitness accounts – BBC -ABC (Australia) – CBC – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
January 25-February 11, 2011 – Ten years ago. Maybe not that far in the deep-distant past, but far enough to be able to look back and reflect on moments of uncertainty, frustration and eventual jubilation. Arab Spring: 2011.
The Egyptian revolution of 2011, also known as the 25 January Revolution started on 25 January 2011 and spread across Egypt. The date was set by various youth groups to coincide with the annual Egyptian “Police holiday” as a statement against increasing police brutality during the last few years of Mubarak’s presidency. It consisted of demonstrations, marches, occupations of plazas, non-violent civil resistance, acts of civil disobedience and strikes. Millions of protesters from a range of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Violent clashes between security forces and protesters resulted in at least 846 people killed and over 6,000 injured. Protesters retaliated by burning over 90 police stations across the country.
The Egyptian protesters’ grievances focused on legal and political issues, including police brutality, state-of-emergency laws, lack of political freedom, civil liberty, freedom of speech, corruption, high unemployment, food-price inflation and low wages. The protesters’ primary demands were the end of the Mubarak regime. Strikes by labour unions added to the pressure on government officials. During the uprising, the capital, Cairo, was described as “a war zone” and the port city of Suez saw frequent violent clashes. Protesters defied a government-imposed curfew, which was impossible to enforce by the police and military. Egypt’s Central Security Forces, loyal to Mubarak, were gradually replaced by military troops. In the chaos, there was looting by rioters which was instigated (according to opposition sources) by plainclothes police officers. In response, watch groups were organized by civilian vigilantes to protect their neighborhoods.
On 11 February 2011, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak resigned as president, turning power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The military junta, headed by effective head of state Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, announced on 13 February that the constitution is suspended, both houses of parliament dissolved and the military would govern for six months (until elections could be held). The previous cabinet, including Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, would serve as a caretaker government until a new one was formed.
As a reminder of that pivotal week in history – here are roughly 3 hours of broadcasts, culled from a variety of different English speaking sources from The BBC to ABC Radio National Australia and the CBC in Canada, in an attempt to distill the anxious moments between January 25 and February 11 of 2011.