Good Morning in Tahrir…صبح الخير في ميدان تحرير
Class were canceled around 6:00am this morning and by 8:15 I had succumbed to the temptation of walking to Tahrir Square to investigate and document the situation.
Approaching the square along Tahrir Sreet it became obvious that the security forces had seceded the square to the protests. Not only was there no sign of the central security forces (military police) but all the dozens of traffic cops who normally loiter in the square were also nowhere to be bound. The square itself was a pedestrian only zone containing roughly 2000 or so people (although al-Jazeera claims as much as 5000) scattered throughout the square. Some were sleeping on the grass near the Maga` (bureaucracy building), and others were staring down the police line and its armored truck near the northern gate to the American University, but most were milling around the square.
Minutes later, the protestors began advanced towards the police line chanting, “The people desire the fall of the Field Marshal.”
The result was the second street battle in less than twelve hours that continues as I write. The police have made no effort to advance towards Tahrir Square but rather have been content to hold the intersection of Youssef El-Gindy St. and Mohammed Mahmoud St. in order to prevent the protestors from gaining access to the Ministry of the Interior. Tear gas and rocks are been used to disperse the protestors once they near the police line and some of the protestors have returned fire with Molotov cocktails and rocks of their own.
A couple Egyptians have perished in the past twelve hours and hundreds have been injured. Despite the many ambulances gathered at Tahrir Square, many of the injured have refused to leave the square in order to treat their wounds as it is rumored that the government is arresting people once they arrive at the hospitals.
The situation is a stalemate but tension fills the air. Those wandering the square are angry; they are angry with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces because of its violent repression; they are angry with the United States for producing and exporting tear gas; and they are angry with those who are content to drive by the revolution rather than participate in it.
This may be only the beginning…Many twitter feeds and Facebook groups have proclaimed the start of a “second revolution” to preserve the gains of the Jan. 25 Revolution by rectify the transgressions committed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Time will tell if these groups will be able to gather the critical mass of people in the streets that is necessary to force SCAF’s hand and yield actually changes in political policy.
In the interim, we wait and pray for safety of those brave enough to take their life in their own hands and demand the dignity and rights to which all peoples are entitled.
UPDATE (2:40pm 06/29/2011): Protesters have filled Tahrir and more are arriving every moment. The army has taken up positions around the Ministry of the Interior and the police are still guarding the intersection of Youssef El-Gindy St. and Mohammed Mahmoud St. Violence has subsided. More Updates