4 Feb 2011

Egypt: how the #c4news team told the story on Twitter

After a week of dramatic social unrest in Egypt, we take a look back at how Jonathan Rugman, Jon Snow and Lindsey Hilsum told the unfolding story – in Cairo and Alexandria – via Twitter.

Egpyt proters - 30 Jan. (Getty)

Sun 30 Jan

As the calls for President Hosni Mubarak grow louder, and with fighter jets roaring overhead, Channel 4 News Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Rugman tweets updates from Cairo’s Tahrir Square as it becomes the symbolic centre of the Egypt uprising.

@jrug: Morning from Egypt. The scene is army blockading all routes to Tahrir sq to protesters for first time: tolerance running thin.

Demonstrators are back in Freedom Square – say they won’t stop until Mubarak goes. A few hundred pausing for prayer.

Crowd with army captain on their shoulders. He “defected” to protesters’ side.

The army nominally in charge of downtown Cairo – though it often feels as if nobody is.

Egypt protesters told ‘change is coming’

Jonathan Rugman on Twitter

Mon 31 January

Egypt’s army pledges not to use force against thousands of protesters defying the curfew.

@jrug: Not much commerce in downtown Cairo. Gen strike called. Banks shut. No internet for 4 days.

One Imam just told me the protest is as holy as prayer. Doctors, singers, holy men – all here in Tahrir Sq.

Tues 1 February

Jonathan Rugman and Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow tweet from Cairo as International Editor Lindsey Hilsum sends updates from the northern city of Alexandria on the day protesters call for a “march of a million” against Mubarak.

@jrug: Twitter/FB helped get Egyptian ball rolling – but good ol’ papers, land lines, tv, word of mouth do rest.

Cairo placard – “Israel, if you like Mubarak so much, why don’t you take him?”

This no longer feels like an uprising. It feels like a people’s revolution. However that feels!

US Ambassador met El Baradei today. Rumour Mubarak gone to Bahrain. Still not confirmed.

V reliable source tells me US Ambassador spoke to Mubarak today – and that he said he wasn’t leaving.

Mubarak appearing on tv now. Tahrir sq watching him on big screen in silence.

Egypt’s President Mubarak will not seek re-election

Jon Snow on Twitter

@jonsnowC4: Little evidence of Islamic content in Tahrir Sq: Cairo demo still anti Mubarak.

Thousands streaming across Freedom Square in central Cairo euphoric, peaceful crowd.

@lindseyhilsum: Hello from Alexandria. I’m watching thousands calmly walking along Alexandria corniche to the demo.

Just met two Mubarak supporters in Alexandria who told me they fear chaos.

Demo in Alexandria is huge, looks like 100,000. From high point as far as the eye can see.

Sitting in cafe where old men play dominos and share the protest video they shot on their Blackberries.

Egypt protests: injured people in Tahrir Square.

Wed 2 February

Supporters of Egypt’s President Mubarak, some charging on camels, clash with protesters in the “battle for Tahrir Square” with hundreds hurt and three killed.

@jrug: So twitter back in Cairo. May not make much difference to protests – the good ol phone/word of mouth worked yesterday.

Opposition leaders marching into Tahrir Sq. One says he is afraid Mubarak thugs will kill him. Pro Mubarak crowd chanting “we will die 4 u”

Pro Mubarak marchers attacked a foreign tv cameraman – others rescued him. Tense.

Situation has turned violent. Spear, baseball bats among Mubarak crowd. We have moved out.

Running battles continue outside antiquities museum. Backlash to revolution violently under way.

Gunfire, molotov cocktail thrown in downtown Cairo.

@jonsnowC4: Have just run into one of a ten-man opposition committee formed to negotiate with Egyptian vice-prez.

Tense here in Cairo, violence in the Square It will be ferociously washed after midnight…evidence of official mubarak orgainsation in demo.

@lindseyhilsum: Tense but calm in Alexandria. We had a nasty incident with a mob earlier.

Clashes between protesters and Mubarak supporters

Lindsey Hilsum on Twitter.

Thurs 3 February

The army “intervenes” to protect some demonstrators as clashes as supporters of President Mubarak again do battle with anti-government protesters. In Alexandria, Lindsey Hilsum’s team has a close shave after being set upon by a mob of youths.

@jonsnowC4: As is usual.. morning reveals slow movement in freedom Sq despite horrific night…4 dead 800 injured…Handful mabarakists.3000 protetsers?

Media hotel suffering mubarak thugs attacking all our attempts to get out to report.

Paranoia rules in cairo tonight. Journalists heavily restricted…army has cleared Mubrakistas..pro democracy thousands look next.

This is one mixed up scene..detecting thugs from protesters is tricky..and serious problem if you misjudge it..cairo tightening.

Exhausting day frayed nerves vile authorities,thugs and lovely people -all in an Egyptian day!

Complete silence from military now for 20 minutes:after large continuous barrage of machine gun fire frm 4.35am(Cairo time) to about 5.20am.

I’m going to try to sleep but if tankfire resumes will Tweet again if internet sustains..it needs to cos they cant reopen banks without it.

@lindseyhilsum:Protesters in Alexandria shouting ‘we don’t want foreign interference’.

Tried to interview Muslim Brotherhood guy in Alex and got chased away by youths.

I’m told Egyptian TV said Israeli spies are disguised as western journalists. No wonder we got set upon.

Jon Snow tweets from Cairo.

@jrug: Thugs we think are Mubarak secret police threatening journalists. Many turned back for safety.

One journalist punched in face, another stabbed in leg by pro-Mubarak thugs in Cairo this morning. On their way to hospital now.

What I have not described is the constant chanting, shouting, beating of metal barricades – all night and all day.

Applause rising outside Egyptian museum as most of pro-Mubarak crowd have fled – for now (heavily outnumbered)

Field hospitals treat Cairo wounded as violence rages

Jonathan Rugman's tweet.

Fri 4 February

Thousands of Egyptians gather in central Cairo for Friday prayers and a “Day of Departure” insisting on President Mubarak’s immediate exit.

@jonsnowC4:Orange sun in the mist, not as cold last night for protesters in Cairo..all quite..but noisy day ahead..staying power of protesters amazes.

Mubarak thugs smash foreign media broadcast gear, beat up journos on street, renedering proper journalism/broadcasting all but impossible.

@jrug: Determined crowd holding out in Tahrir Sq. Some nursing wounds from fighting. Rocks at ready if Mubarakistas return.

Big crowd praying in front of banner reading “people demand removal of the regime”. Accuse me of going native, but it IS very moving

On Tahrir front line, they are using a bread basket on the end of a wooden plank as a catapult. Medieval siege warfare to keep Mubarak away.

Gunfire in air as troops hold pro-Mubarak demonstrators back from approach road to Tahrir Sq.

@lindseyhilsum: Alexandria protestors singing ‘there’s an end to every dictator’ to the tune of the national anthem.

Anti-govt protestors still streaming past our window in Alexandria and I can’t see an end to the demo.

Two kids jumping up and down on a burnt out vehicle as thousands of protestors file past.

Blog: All Egypt asks the same question – ‘Will Mubarak go now?’

To stay up to date with developments in Egypt, you can also follow @channel4news on Twitter.