Timeline of the January 25 Revolution in Egypt
April 6, 2008
- The April 6 Youth Movement Facebook page is created to support the workers in Mahalla al-Kobra, an industrial town, who were planning to strike on April 6. Police and military were ready to arrest anyone demonstrating. Subsequent protests were largely considered flops and multiple activists were arrested between April and July.
- A group of activists, including Google executive Wael Ghonim and April 6 leader Ahmed Maher, begin meeting once a week to discuss plans for a protest against the government.
June 6, 2010
- Khaled Said, a young businessman, is dragged out of an internet cafe by police in Alexandria and beaten to death after attempting to expose police corruption. Official autopsies said he choked on a plastic roll of drugs, but a cellphone picture of Said’s battered face challenged the government’s assertions. Weeks of protests and newspaper headlines followed. In early July, authorities decided to charge two police officers with illegal arrest, torture, and excessive force; their trial has been postponed multiple times.
- Over the summer a series of silent stands are held in cities like Alexandria and Egypt to protest against the emergency law and the brutal actions of the police. These stands are primarily coordinated by the Arabic We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page.
September 21, 2010
- Demonstrations are held in Alexandria and Cairo to protest President Hosni Mubarak’s rumored plans to hand power to his son Gamal. Not surprisingly, police were quickly on the scene even before the protests began and prevented many from reaching Abdeen Square in central Cairo where the rally was held. Twitter users both at the protests and following the events from afar began using the hashtag #oraby2010 to Tweet about what was happening. The tag was also used in the days leading up to the protests to organize and recruit protesters, in hopes of preventing authorities from easily tracking what was happening.
- Parliamentary elections are held. The elections were rife with ballot stuffing, street clashes, and voter intimidation. No independent election monitors are allowed into Egypt. The ruling NDP party “wins” the majority of seats.
December 17, 2010
- In Tunisia, amidst growing anger and outrage over high unemployment rates, Mohammed Bouazizi, a young university graduate, set himself on fire after police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he was selling illegally in an effort to earn a living. His act of self-immolation becomes the catalyst for protests across the country.
January 14, 2011
- Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Al flees to Saudi Arabia. Prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announces that he has taken over as interim president
- Inspired by the events in Tunisia, initial preparations are made for street protests in Egypt. Representatives from six youth movements, groups advocating labor rights, and the Muslim Brotherhood gather daily for two weeks to strategize a plan for demonstrations.
- At least three organizers for the April 6 Youth movement are arrested.
- A call goes out on the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page for a protest planned for January 25. Demands include an increase to the minimum wage, an end to the state of emergency, and an end to presidential terms that exceed two consecutive terms.
- Twenty protest sites in working-class neighborhoods in Cairo are announced to the public. The location of one other protest location—in a slum—is not shared with anyone except the primary organizers.
- The Twitter hashtag #Jan25 is decided upon.
- A number of solidarity protests are held at Egyptian embassies around the world.
- The annual “Police Day” holiday becomes the “Day of Wrath”—the first day of protests. Thousands calmly take to the streets in cities across Egypt at the announced demonstration sites. Police are prepared and begin firing water cannons and using tear gas to disperse crowds.
- Small groups, directed by the organizers, advance to the 21st secret location. Neighbors in the area join the crowd and the group (now in the hundreds) marches toward downtown Cairo. Protesters outnumber police.
- A video of a man staring down Army tank as it sprays water on him is widely circulated.
- Egyptians plead for more media coverage of what is happening.
- By midday Twitter became inaccessible. In a Tweet, Twitter Global PR confirms the block. Reports come in that Facebook is being blocked as well. Bambuser confirms that it its live mobile broadcasting service is also blocked inside the country. Many Egyptians turn to proxies to bypass blocks so they can continue to share news.
- In Washington, D.C., Hillary Clinton states: “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people."
- By nightfall, a large crowd has amassed at Tahrir Square.
- Police continue to attack and fight protesters.
- Egyptians begin reporting that mobile networks are down.
- @Jan25 Voices launches, using phones and other means to speak with Egyptians behind the blocked internet and Tweet their messages.
- Mohamad ElBaradei, former director of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, returns to Cairo to join demonstrators.
- The internet is shut down. Only one smaller ISP—Noor—works. [Learn more about how it happened in this Wired article.]
- Leaflets are being distributed around Cairo sharing practical and tactical information for tomorrow’s protests.
- Multiple reports indicate SMS service is down.
- Vodaphone releases a statement saying that they complied with government requests to suspend mobile service.
- “Friday for Martyrs and Political Prisoners” demonstrations are held with demonstrators gathering at mosques following Friday prayers.
- Mubarak orders the Army to enter the streets and quell demonstrations and enforce the curfew. Police, for the most part, leave the streets.
- The NDP headquarters is set on fire.
- Google exec Wael Ghonim goes missing.
- Multiple deaths are reported.
- Obama makes a brief statement calling for human rights to be respected.
- Mubarak makes his first public speech since protests begin. He announces that he is sacking his cabinet and names Omar Suleiman as his vice president and former air force commander Ahmed Shafiq is appointed prime minister.
- Looters break into the Egyptian Museum and destroy some artifacts.
- The Army intervenes to protect protesters from police amidst reports that police are firing on demonstrators.
- Reports come out that more than 60 people have died across Egypt as a result of protests.
- Merkel, Sarkozy, and Cameron release a joint statement: "The Egyptian people have legitimate grievances and a longing for a just and better future....We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation reflected in broad-based government and free elections."
- ElBaradei addresses protesters in Tahrir Square.
- Obama urges an “orderly transition.”
- The army makes it clear that it will not use force against protesters.
- The new government is sworn in. Suleiman announces that he will start dialogue with the opposition.
- An estimated 250,000 people are in downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
- Vodafone and France Telecom report that they have restored mobile phone service.
- Mubarak makes another speech saying that he will surrender power in September, but does not say that he will immediately step down. Demonstrators react with a mix of anger, disbelief, and disappointment.
- Pro-Mubarak thugs enter Tahrir Square and begin attacking protesters.
- Multiple human rights activists and lawyers are arrested at Cairo’s Hisham Mubarak Law Center.
- Vodaphone accuses the Egyptian authorities of using its network to send pro-government text messages to its subscribers.
- Clinton calls on the Egyptian government and opposition groups "to begin immediately serious negotiations on a peaceful and orderly transition."
- Friday is called the “Day of Departure.” People continue to pour into Tahrir Square.
- Some researchers from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are released.
- Gamal Mubarak, the president's son, resigns from the NDP.
- Suleiman and members of the opposition hold talks.
- Wael Ghonim is released. In an interview with Dream TV, he admits that he was an admin of the We Are All Khaled Said Arabic Facebook page.
- Egyptian government approves a 15 percent raise in salaries and pensions in an effort to appease protesters.
- Human Rights Watch releases a statement indicating that more than 300 people have died so far.
- Labor strikes grow across Egypt, with factory workers taking to the streets to demand higher wages.
- The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military’s highest executive body, meets without Mubarak. Rumors fly that Mubarak will resign.
- Mubarak gives another public speech, still refusing to give up his power.
- Protesters demonstrate outside State TV headquarters and the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis.
- Mubarak and his family are rumored to be in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
- Wael tells CNN: "If you want to liberate a government, give them the internet."
- Omar Suleiman announces that Mubarak has resigned as president at 16:00 GMT. Power is handed to the military. The people in Tahrir Square go wild.
- Egyptians take to Tahrir Square to clean up.
- The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces calls for a “peaceful transition.”
- Egypt’s new military dissolves parliament and suspends the constitution. They will rule for six months or until general elections are held.