February 3 2011

SOS Children's Villages in Egypt were broken into

03/02/2011 - Crisis and insecurity deepen: The SOS Children's Villages in Cairo and Alexandria were broken into. Children and SOS mothers are unharmed, while the director of the village of Alexandria was injured but could return to the village after treatment in hospital, said Mr Amr Aboelazayem, director of SOS Children's Villages Egypt.

Groups of young men entered the SOS Children's Villages in Cairo and Alexandria over the fence. They were ousted from the villages but while being out, the village director of Alexandria was injured. He suffered a wound which had to be stitched up in the hospital. All children and SOS mothers are doing well, no one was harmed, and no structural damages are reported. The situation has calmed down at the two locations, but as the general situation worsens food was stored in anticipation of potential shortages and difficult access to markets.

Insecurity increases
There was widespread looting of businesses, residences and banks on Sunday and Monday. However, the incidences of looting, vandalism and arson appear to have decreased on Tuesday. Citizens are wandering with arms and organised neighbourhood patrols. However since Wednesday 2nd February in the afternoon violence has also spilled over into side streets.

Overall situation and access to food starts being difficult
Food prices have risen significantly and stores are running out of stock due to panic buying; however, no related unrest has been reported. Internet access and mobile telephone networks which had been disrupted ahead of the 1 February events were fully reconnected on Wednesday late morning.
The curfew in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez had been reduced to 17.00 pm to 08.00 am. The status of the nationwide curfew is unclear; reports on the previous day claimed that it had been extended to 13.00 pm -08.00 am. Curfew was not enforced so far with protesters remaining in the centre of Cairo also during the night.

Demonstrations still planned – the crisis deepens in Egypt
On Tuesday 1 February a protest of which some say 8 to 11 million individuals gathered throughout the country with one million in Cairo and at the central place Tahrir Square. Marches took place in Alexandria and in several cities throughout the country. The military has stated that it would not use force against protesters unless provoked.

On 2 February afternoon supporters and opponents of President Hosni Mubarak clashed in Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Many people are reported to be injured; in the early morning hours of today people were even killed in gunfire, according to media reports. Army tanks are reportedly being used to separate rival demonstrators and personnel have also fired warning shots in the air. The violence has also spilled over into side streets.

Anti-government protesters have called for a so-called departure demonstration on Friday and a march to the presidential palace in the capital's eastern Heliopolis suburb after midday (local time) prayers on 4 February. The police have been redeployed across the country.