CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - A white diplomatic van shown plowing into anti-government protesters in Cairo might belong to the United States, officials said, adding that 20 such vehicles have been stolen in Egypt amid the unrest.
The YouTube video, dated January 28, is one of three from recent days showing drivers seemingly purposefully ramming their vehicle into demonstrators in streets that appear to be around Cairo's Tahrir Square.
The footage caused an uproar online, some of it related to the fact that the van appeared to resemble a U.S. diplomatic vehicle.
"Obviously, we've seen some of the reaction on YouTube and other forums, which is why we're trying to get out and knock this erroneous story down," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday afternoon.
Fellow State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was the first to comment earlier Friday, saying that American officials were "very aware" of the video and trying to get more information on what happened.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Cairo Friday demanding change. It was mostly jubilant, but there was also tension. There's still a crowd in Liberation Square at this hour. Anderson reports live from the capital city tonight with the latest developments.
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The bloody images were replaced with a mostly peaceful protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday. Thousands of anti-Mubarak demonstrators held a rally they dubbed "Day of Departure," as they called on the embattled Egyptian President to step down. Their demands on day 11 of the uprising were not met.
While the mood was mostly positive today, there is still tension. Our crews have heard sporadic gunfire. There were also street battles between supporters and opponents of Mubarak in another street plaza just half a kilometer from Tahrir Square.
Anderson will be reporting live from Cairo with the latest developments. He'll share the moving videos from today, and the last several days.
One of the most memorable images is of a white diplomatic van running into anti-government protesters near Tahrir Square. The U.S. Embassy in Egypt and U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that several embassy vehicles were stolen in Cairo on January 28. We'll talk it over with CNN's Jill Dougherty.
The lingering question is will President Mubarak step down soon or will he stay in office until elections in September?
Some are saying the Obama administration should be doing more to push him to resign now. Anderson will discuss the options with our team of reporters in Egypt, along with CNN's John King in Washington and Professor Fouad Ajami of John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Also, don't miss Anderson's 'Reporter's Notebook' on the sights and sounds over the past week.
Our live coverage from Cairo begins at 10 p.m. ET tonight on CNN. See you then.
CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Friday that talks between the Egyptian government and its political opponents were in the initial stages, but warned that the mere "pretense of reform" would not be enough to resolve that country's deepening crisis.
The transition of power "must begin now" and lead to "free and fair elections," he declared. Negotiations must "include a broad representation of the Egyptian opposition," he told reporters.
Asked if embattled President Hosni Mubarak needs to step down now - as opposed to waiting for a successor to be chosen in Egypt's September elections - Obama said Mubarak needs to consult with advisers and listen to what's "being voiced by the Egyptian people."
The Egyptian leader is "proud" but also a "patriot," Obama said. Mubarak needs to make a judgment about his legacy and the best "pathway forward." Violence and repression have no role in the "orderly transition process," he added. "The whole world is watching."
Obama noted he has had two conversations with Mubarak since the crisis began.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Chinese folk artists dressed in rabbit costume perform at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year of Rabbit on February 2, 2011 in Beijing, China. (Photo credit: Feng Li/Getty Images)
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
“Laugh all you want, Westerners. Just don’t forget who owns the mortgage.”
Shawn, Encino CA
“Co-workers at CNN stand in line to surprise & welcome Anderson back from Egypt."
CNN Wire Staff
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) - Egypt's burgeoning reform movement drew tens of thousands of people, undeterred by deadly clashes and government crackdowns, to Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday for a mass rally with a single message for the president: "Leave."
Among the demonstrators were the secretary-general of the Arab League and the spokesman for the largest center of Sunni Muslim learning, two men representing pillars of authority.
The central Cairo plaza transformed from a bloody battleground to the scene of a largely peaceful political rally dubbed "Day of Departure" as Egyptians gave embattled President Hosni Mubarak until the end of the day to relinquish power.
Attempts to defuse the crisis, meanwhile, seemed to be going nowhere. Government brass had signaled a wish to meet with opposition leaders but those talks have not gotten traction, a senior U.S. official told CNN.
Vice President Omar Suleiman's offer to meet opposition groups fell flat, said the official who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the rapidly evolving situation. No key opposition leaders showed up.
That opposition, a disparate group of at least six factions and political groups nominally headed by Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, is still "jockeying," the official said, hedging their bets on how events will play out. Some have refused to negotiate until Mubarak steps down.
Day 11 of the uprising was mostly jubilant in Tahrir Square, but tensions remained high.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: Egypt continues to dominate the news. I continue to write to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
One of my daughters sent a text my way the other day that said, “I don’t understand what is happening in Egypt. Please explain.”
I wrote one paragraph - sort of a Sparks Notes version - and felt pretty good about it. I mentioned the basics of the political climate there, the unemployment rate, the demographics of the population, and the (at least for us) amazing strangeness of having one person in the presidency for 30 years.
But ever since, I’ve been thinking that maybe I buried the lede by putting that last item…well, last. On one hand, I can see how having one person in charge for a long time could create predictability. The presidency would be a McDonald’s drive-thru; like it or not, you know what you’re getting. I can also see how if any politician were given that many years in office, he or she could pursue some long term goals that are hard to pull off in one or two terms. Imagine where your health care reforms would wind up if you could stay in charge until 2041.