Published November 17, 2014
Key events during Egypt's uprising:
— Jan. 25 — Emboldened by the Tunisian uprising and mobilized largely on Facebook and Twitter, thousands converge on Cairo's central Tahrir Square to call for President Hosni Mubarak's ouster. The protest — dubbed a "day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment" — begins peacefully and police show unusual restraint. But as the crowd grows, security forces change tactics. Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets, prompting clashes. The United States expresses confidence in Egypt's government and urges calm.
— Jan. 26 — Anti-government activists try to stage a second day of protests around Cairo in defiance of an official ban on any gatherings, but police quickly move in and use tear gas and beatings to disperse the demonstrators.
— Jan. 27 — Violence escalates outside Cairo, with anti-government protesters torching a fire station and looting weapons that they then turn on police. Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt's top democracy advocate, returns to the country and declares he is ready to lead the campaign against Mubarak. The ruling National Democratic Party says it is ready for dialogue but offers no concessions. The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest and best organized opposition group, throws its support behind the demonstrations. The stock market falls more than 10 percent, its biggest drop in more two years.
— Jan. 28 — Anti-government protesters pour into the streets, throwing stones and confronting police who fire back with rubber bullets and tear gas. Internet and cell phone services are largely cut off to hamper protesters from organizing. Police fire water cannons at ElBaradei and supporters, who are trapped inside a mosque for several hours. The military deploys to enforce a nighttime curfew. Protesters still battle police with stones and firebombs, burning down the ruling party headquarters and stealing firearms and ammunition from torched police stations. The Obama administration criticizes the crackdown and even threatens to reduce a $1.5 billion foreign aid program.
— Jan. 29 — Mubarak names his intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his first-ever vice president as chaos engulfs the capital. Looters steal what they can and destroy cars, windows and street signs. People board up residences and stores. Civilians armed with knives, axes, golf clubs, firebombs, metal bars and makeshift spears form neighborhood watch groups. Tanks and armored personnel carriers guard key government buildings, and major tourist and archaeological sites, including the Egyptian Museum. The military closes the Giza pyramids. The army expands its presence but police largely disappear from the streets.
— Jan. 30 — ElBaradei takes up a bullhorn and calls for Mubarak to resign. Fighter jets streak low overhead and police begin to return to the capital's streets. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is "anxiously following" the crisis and Israel's three-decade-old peace agreement with Egypt must be preserved. Armed men battle guards at four prisons — including one northwest of Cairo that held hundreds of militants and many prisoners escape.
— Jan. 31 — Egypt's military pledges not to fire on protesters. Newly appointed Vice President Suleiman offers dialogue with "political forces" for constitutional and legislative reforms. Thousands of foreigners flee the unrest. Mubarak appears fatigued as he is shown on state TV swearing in the members of a new Cabinet. The interior minister, Habib el-Adly, who headed internal security forces widely despised for alleged abuses, is replaced. Mubarak retains his long-serving defense minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
— Feb. 1 — The number of protesters on Tahrir Square swells to a quarter-million in the largest rally yet. Mubarak is defiant as he addresses the nation on state TV. He promises not to seek re-election in September but insists he'll serve out the last months of his term and "die on Egyptian soil." Protesters and government supporters clash in Alexandria. The U.S. struggles to find a balance in supporting democracy efforts while maintaining stability in key ally Egypt. The repercussions are felt around the Mideast, as other authoritarian governments fearing popular discontent pre-emptively try to burnish their democratic image. The United States orders nonessential U.S. government personnel and their families to leave.
— Feb. 2 — Several journalists covering the unrest, including CNN's Anderson Cooper, are pummeled, hit with pepper spray, and threatened by Mubarak loyalists. Government supporters charge into Tahrir Square on horses and camels, trampling people and swinging whips and sticks. Others rain firebombs from rooftops in what appears to be an orchestrated assault against protesters. The notion that the state may have coordinated violence against protesters prompts a sharp rebuke from the Obama administration. Soldiers fire occasional shots in the air but do not appear to otherwise intervene. No uniformed police are seen.
— Feb. 3 — Gangs backing Mubarak attack journalists and human rights activists, and government opponents push Mubarak supporters out of Tahrir Square. Suleiman fuels anti-foreigner sentiment by blaming outsiders for fomenting unrest. Mubarak tells ABC television in an interview that he is fed up and wants to resign but can't for fear the country would sink into chaos. Violence spreads with a new wave of arson and looting. Under international pressure, the government offers more concessions but that does nothing to calm the fury. The new prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, apologizes for the previous day's assault and acknowledges it may have been organized, though he doesn't know by whom. The vice president promises that Mubarak's son Gamal won't run in September elections.
— Feb. 4 — Nearly 100,000 people pack Tahrir Square in a protest dubbed the "Friday of departure." Behind-the-scenes diplomacy from the Obama administration piles more pressure on Mubarak to make a swift exit and allow a temporary government to embark on an immediate path toward democracy. The defense minister visits the square, the highest government figure to do so. Arab League chief Amr Moussa comes to the square in what appears to be a trial balloon for running for Egypt's presidency.
— Feb. 5 — The National Democratic Party's leadership, including the president's son, steps down in a bid to placate protesters. The United States gives key backing to the regime's gradual changes, warning of the dangers if Mubarak goes too quickly. But they're rejected by protesters and tens of thousands throng Tahrir Square, waving flags and chanting, "He will go! He will go!"
— Feb. 6 — Egypt's vice president meets with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups for the first time and offers sweeping concessions, including granting press freedom and rolling back police powers. But opposition leaders hold firm to their demand that Mubarak step down immediately. Protesters say they weren't even represented at the talks and won't negotiate until Mubarak is gone. A semblance of normalcy returns to Cairo with some schools and banks reopening for the first time in more than a week. A night curfew remains, and tanks continue to ring the city's central square and guard government buildings, embassies and other important institutions. Obama says he hopes to see a representative government emerge and plays down concerns that Egypt could become hostile to U.S. interests if the Muslim Brotherhood becomes the dominant political force.
— Feb. 7 — Wael Ghonim, a young Google Inc. executive and Internet activist, is released after 12 days in custody. He says he was behind the Facebook page that helped spark what he called "the revolution of the youth of the Internet." He gives an emotional interview on television, saying he spent his entire time in detention blindfolded while his worried parents didn't know where he was. New York-based Human Rights Watch says some 300 people have died in the clashes.
— Feb. 8 — Ghonim energizes a cheering crowd of hundreds of thousands in Tahrir Square, promising "We won't give up." The huge turnout shows the protesters still have momentum. The vice president issues a sharply worded warning, saying "We can't bear this for a long time, and there must be an end to this crisis as soon as possible." Protests spread to the parliament, several blocks away from the square. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden tells Suleiman that Washington wants Egypt to immediately rescind emergency laws that give broad powers to security forces — a key demand of the protesters.
— Feb. 9 — Thousands of workers, including railway and bus workers and service technicians at the Suez Canal, go on strike, adding a new dimension to the uprising as public rage turns to the vast wealth Mubarak's family reportedly amassed while close to half the country struggles near the poverty line. Protests continue to spread with demonstrators gathering at parliament, the Cabinet and the Health Ministry buildings. They also block Prime Minister Shafiq from his office. Some 8,000 protesters, mainly farmers complaining of bread shortages, set fire to barricades of palm trees in the southern province of Assiut. Egypt's state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper changes its tone and uses the word "revolution" to describe the demonstrations — giving new support to the protesters from an unlikely source. Suleiman warns of a "coup" unless demonstrators agree to enter negotiations, raising fears of a new crackdown.
— Feb. 10 — Hundreds of thousands of protesters pack into Tahrir Square with expectations high that Mubarak would announce his resignation in his nighttime address. A council of the military's top generals announces it has stepped in to secure the country, and a senior commander tells protesters in the square that all their demands would soon be met. But protesters leave angry and disappointed after Mubarak refuses to leave office and instead hands most of his powers to his vice president. The rapidly moving events raise the question of whether a rift had opened between Mubarak and the military command. Obama appears dismayed by Mubarak's announcement, saying it's not clear that an "immediate, meaningful" transition to democracy is taking place.
— Feb. 11 — The military tries to defuse the popular outrage, promising it would guarantee promised reforms. But hundreds of thousands demanding Mubarak go deluge squares in cities across the country, marching on presidential palaces and the state TV building, key symbols of the authoritarian regime. Soldiers stand by without interfering. Two protesters are killed in a clash with security forces in the southern city of Assiut, and crowds set a police station on fire. The army evacuates the local governor. Mubarak flies to his isolated palace in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The vice president announces that Mubarak will resign and turn over power to the military, which later promises the army won't act as a substitute for a government based on the "legitimacy of the people." Fireworks burst over Tahrir Square and Egypt explodes with joy and tears of relief.