Saturday, April 9, 2011

Violence in Tahrir again

Well..the honeymoon is officially over. Large protests have again erupted in Tahrir square, demanding that former president Mubarak be made stand trial, the removal of Tantawi, and clearing out any of the old regime.

Photos and video have been released that show army officers joining with the protesters. According to Al-Ahram online, several sources have "claimed the officers who appeared in the videos were retirees living abroad who were seeking vengeance on Egypt’s military institutions." The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in their second official statement today said that there were civilians "claiming" to be military officers.

Regardless, the violence that erupted in Tahrir this morning around dawn has left at least 2 dead according to news sources, although the Egyptian Health Ministry claims only 1 dead. Many more are injured, as protesters in Tahrir were again subjected to brutal use of batons, tear gas, and bullets.

Yesterday saw one of the largest protests in recent weeks, which I think for many living here was rather surprising. Coined the "Cleansing Friday," it saw reported figures numbering in the tens of thousands flocking to Tahrir square. I would have imagined that the week following the recent vote on constitutional amendments would have prompted large protests, but it didn't. Instead many who I spoke to said that it was the "natural progression of democracy and they would not return to the streets to protest the results." So what's changed? Why are they back in the streets now?

The minimal changes that have taken place since the fall of the past regime are the underlying reason. Tantawi has long been seen as Mubarak's lapdog, even nicknamed "Mubarak's Poodle," so to demand his resignation as the natural progression of the Revolution is normal.

What will happen next is unsure. What is certain, is that many have returned to Tahrir in response to the violence exhibited this morning by Army forces. A few of my friends who were in Tahrir from the beginning have again returned, and are prepared to camp out if necessary.

Here is a good story posted by The Guardian including the viewpoints of Egyptians who were in Tahrir today.

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