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Realpolitik (see also Political realism; from German: real “realistic”, “practical” or “actual”; and Politik “politics”) refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on practical considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism.
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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

008 - Violent clashes in Tahrir Square

Clashes between protesters have erupted in Cairo's Tahrir Square as pressure grows for the end of the Mubarak regime.

After several days of peaceful demonstrations against President Mubarak, anti and pro-government protesters have clashed violently in Cairo. The Egyptian army has refused to intervene on behalf of either side as tension grows and reports of violence and serious injury begin to grow, despite military helicopters patrolling the skies and ground troops surroundung Tahrir Square's perimeter. The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon has urged for both sides to show restraint, a sentiment echoed by United States president Barack Obama.

Protest and demonstration against the Egyptian governmental stance is also apparent outisde of the country's borders:

"The Arab world watches in shock as the official state-sponsored television in Egypt exercise their monopoly over the air, and spout their poor, biased and shoddy covering of the events. We cannot believe how divorced they are from the pulse of the nation and how oblivious they are of the shameful way they appear. We are all ashamed of what is going on in Egypt."
-Azza Raslan, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia -
Concerns are also growing at the number of pro-Mubarak supporters surrounding Tahrir Square, where the majority of anti-Mubarak protesters have been demonstrating, with the potential for further violent outbursts. Media journalists at the perimeter of the square have already reported being tackled by the crowds.

Reports thus far suggest 40 people seriously injured, though with clashes continuing it is difficult to know how reliable this figure really is.


Significant Timeline Updates to Story

Update: UN analysts suggest up to 300 people killed during demonstrations.

Update (16:51): Reports of rapid bursts of gunfire as violent clashes escalate.

Update (17:55): Army trying to enforce curfew according to reports from Al-Jazeera.

Update (18:20): (CNN's Ben Wedeman in Cairo) tweets: "State TV showing urgent banner warning everyone in Tahrir square to evacuate immediately. (or else?)"

Update (19:00): Reports from advisors close to President Mubarak suggest that the president is willing to 'tough it out' and is showing no sign of leaving power.

Update (19:15): Protesters on site reporting significant injuries from thrown rocks.

Update (19:40): Egyptian state TV issues order for all Cairo protesters over Mubarak regime to leave Tahrir Square immediately and return home.

Update (19:44): Reports of over 400 injured though figures unconfirmed as yet.

Update (20:10) Egyptian Health Ministry reports 611 injured in today's protests. Conflict continues as pro-Mubarak demonstrators surround Tahrir Square enclosing the anti-regime protestors inside. Many anti-Mubarak protesters seemingly planning to spend the night in the square despite several clals (including on state TV) for them to go home.

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