What started as small demonstrations in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square on the morning of January 25 quickly spread to other squares and other cities, with protests soon being reported across the country.
In downtown Cairo, thousands of people marched in a “day of rage” against the government. The demonstrators were countered by riot police firing rubber bullets and tear gas in attempts to disperse the crowds. However, the protesters remained in Tahrir Square and vowed to camp out overnight. By dawn, though, police had managed to clear the square of protesters, driving them into nearby streets with continued use of tear gas and physical beatings. Egyptian state TV claimed that one policeman died.
Thousands more demonstrated in Alexandria, some chanting “Revolution, revolution, like a volcano, against Mubarak the coward” while taking to the streets. Amid the protests, two demonstrators died in Suez in clashes with police according to local doctors. Meanwhile, in Mansoura, protesters attacked the local National Democratic Party offices. Protestors also turned out in large numbers in Beni Suef.
The mass protest in Cairo was initially organized via a Facebook page, which garnered tens of thousands of supporters who agreed to join in the demonstrations. On January 25, Twitter confirmed that its service had been blocked in Egypt, as did Swedish mobile video-streaming service Bambuser.
Urging restraint and respect for free speech, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the Egyptian government as stable, noting that it appeared to be “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.”