Thursday, January 27, 2011

Demonstrations in Egypt

Yesterday was a national holiday in Egypt, Police Day.  Since Cameron had the day off from school, we took the opportunity to visit Alexandria, a 2 and 1/2 hour train ride from Cairo.  We heard there were likely to be demonstrations in Alexandria, which has been a hub for protests in recent weeks, so I was not that surprised to get a call from Jeff that a large chanting protest had just passed by on the street headed toward the Alexandria Library, where Cameron and I were.   Cameron wanted to see what was going on.  Here he is asking Jeff for all the details:
We followed the demonstration for a little while.  It looked to me like there were 5,000-10,000 people.  The protesters were yelling chants, but I saw no aggressive conduct from them.  The crowd was diverse:  many young people but also well-dressed middle-aged people, some chanting loudly, others just walking.  Here are some photos I took.

I had to leave the demonstration for an appointment but Cameron and Jeff kept watching.  They said at one point they saw about 300 police with riot gear run toward the protesters.  They didn't see what happened after that.  As far as I know, there wasn't tear gas or rubber bullets used by the police at the Alexandria demonstration, though newspapers reported this did happen in Cairo. 

I found this video online of police and protesters in Alexandria yesterday and I think this must be part of what Jeff and Cameron saw since they said this was in the area of the Cornish (which means the street and walkways next to the water-- in Alexandria, the body of water is the Mediteranean Sea).  I see this video is taken at the Cornish:

I found several videos online of the protests in Cairo yesterday.  One video shows a large police vehicle coming down the road with a water hose and the reaction of the protesters.  The video is the last one in the CNN article at the following link:

Here is a link to an article that tells more about the protests:

Here are links to two YouTube video from Al Jazerra:

Here's a link to a video that shows the number of people at the Cairo protests.  It's called Demonstrations in Egypt Protests in Egypt.

The article from the above link notes that more than 800 people were arrested in protests in Cairo.  Here is an audio tape of a reporter from the UK Guardian who was arrested along with dozens of others and reported from his cell phone:

Yesterday newspapers reported that two protesters died in the Egyptian city of Suez.  Newspaper accounts said one died of respiratory problems after exposure to tear gas and the other died from being hit by a rock.  One police officer died in Cairo from being hit by a rock.  I don't know anything about the police officer who died, but many of the police officers are very young men who are doing their mandatory military service.

Here's a link to a New York Times article that discusses how 6 Egyptians have set themselves on fire in recent weeks as a form of protest.
I heard one was last night in Cairo.  At least a couple of these people have died.

On a personal note, for those of you who may be concerned about our family, I don't think you need to worry.  Cairo is a very big city and we live far away from the downtown area where all these videos were taken.


  1. Carol,Jeff and Cameron--
    So glad to hear that trauma is low and the experience is amazing! Suppose there is no way to know what the outcome of the demonstrations will be, but it's got to be thrilling (and perhaps not surprising!) that you're in the middle--if not, thankfully, the epicenter--of it! Keep Blogging! cheers--Laura

  2. Carol,
    We are thinking about you and hoping you are all safe. What an amazing experience for you! I have shared your blog with my fellow Rotarians - you are in all of our thoughts.
    I am planning a trip to Israel and Petra and was delighted to see your experiences. Thanks for sharing!
    Rotary Club of New Britain-Berlin, CT USA