On Monday, November 26, the US Embassy in Cairo announced that it was ‘open for full operations,” this despite the clashes near Simon Square and the Embassy’s North Permimeter which reportedly persisted through the night.
In its security message the same day, the embassy informed US citizens in the country that due to the likelihood of heavy traffic congestion as well as the potential for violence, that it would be operating at reduced staffing levels on Tuesday. It also announced the closure of visa and American citizen services and the early dismissal of all employees at USCG Alexandria:
Clashes are continuing today in the area of the Embassy’s North Gate, as rock and Molotov throwing youth confront police positioned just outside the North Gate. Police have also used tear gas in attempts to drive the youth back toward Tahrir Square. Because of this ongoing violence, the Embassy is discouraging visitors to the Embassy until the situation settles, and U.S. citizens with appointments for routine services in the American Citizen Services section have been rescheduled for Thursday, November 29. Those with appointments have been sent email notifications.
Today, November 29, it announced the suspension of arrivals/departures to and from the embassy until further notice due to a blockade by protestors and the cancellation of ACS services on December 2:
The Embassy wishes to inform U.S. citizens that as of 1030 hours local time access into and from the Embassy is currently blocked by protestors. Police and protestors are clashing in the area of the Corniche checkpoint on Lazoughly Street, including on al-Shams and Osiris Streets. The Regional Security Office has instructed that no departures or arrivals from the Embassy will be permitted until further notice. The Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Garden City area at this time.
Looking ahead to the weekend, media reports indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood is calling for a “million man march” on Saturday, December 1 to culminate in Tahrir Square. While there is no indication that the Embassy is a target of these protests, the Embassy’s proximity to Tahrir Square, as we have seen this week, exposes it to any violence that develops. The Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid Garden City this weekend. All appointments for routine American Citizen Services have been cancelled for Sunday, December 2, and those with appointments scheduled for that day will be contacted by email with a rescheduled appointment on another day.
Meanwhile @USEmbassyCairo is once more making news. A tweet on democracy and Egypt ignites a debate between the embassy’s Twitter handler and Egyptian Twitter users, reported by AhramOnline here.
WaPo’s coverage of the new Twitter splash says: “The U.S. Embassy in Egypt has earned a reputation for going rogue on Twitter, and with this latest bout of political unrest, @USEmbassyCairo is at it again.”
The Cable’s headline on this one screams, “Cairo Embassy tweeter warns of ‘dictatorship’ in Egypt.”
The Cable asked Edgar Vasquez, spokesperson for the State Department’s Near Eastern Affairs bureau, whether the Cairo embassy’s tweet reflected administration policy.
“Let’s not take too much liberty with this tweet,” he said. “Our position is and has been that one of the aspirations of the Egyptian revolution was to ensure that power is not overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution. That is essentially what the tweet is saying in tweet speak.”
The last time @USEmbassyCairo made a big splash … remember that? See PAO Larry Schwartz Thrown Under the Bus Over “Inappropriate Apology”
Over in Facebook, a user named Noor Zein has sprinkled the embassy’s FB page with a wacky accusation that Secretary Clinton is “using illegal hypnosis and MK Ultra mind control to turn Morsi into mind control slave for her and that she ordered him as his master to sign illegal papers to give away Egypt for Israel and Qatar…” whaaat?
And it comes complete with graphics of the purported mind waves, but no dancing gifs, maalasef. On the demonstrations, more are reportedly planned throughout Egypt on November 30 and December 1, 2012.
Um …anyone knows what’s an “MK Ultra” mind control and where we can buy it?
- US Embassy in Cairo goes rogue on Twitter (washingtonpost.com)
- Clashes in Cairo Continue (voanews.com)
- Clashes block access to U.S. Embassy (upi.com)
- Egypt clashes cut off access to U.S. Embassy (cbsnews.com)