Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, January 28, 2011

There is no way I will manage to keep up with this story as it develops, but if I spot anything major I will throw it up quickly.  I'd suggest you rely on the main news channels instead.

There seem to be reliable reports that the fires in Tahrir Square have spread to the building next door to the Egyptiam Museum. As there is a curfew across Egypt, mobile phone networks have been shut down and even BBC journalists beaten by police using steel bars, up to date reliable news is hard to come by.

The second threat is looting.  There are definite reports of looting in Cairo.  Whether the Museum is safe remains unclear.  There are reports that it is protected by the army but other reports suggest that this consists of a single solidier.

I don't know Egypt well enough to know how this will pan out.  I was in Luxor just a week before the massacre in 1997 and that came out of the blue pretty much.  The security situation was tense but there was no sense that it was likely to erupt.  Equally, trouuble-magnet that I am, I was in Bangkok during one of the recent States of Emergency.  That was so bad I was one of a handful of Westerners still on the streets.  In the hotel at night, I often heard bombs going off nearby.  And yet, as a tourist I felt totally safe and I don't think anybody was worried that cultural or tourists were likely targets.  It's very hard to predict the future for Egypt.  My guess is that the present riots will be quelled.  I am not sure however that will make Egypt safer.



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