Monday, February 14, 2011

Voices from Egypt's Tahrir Square, part 2

It's two days since President Mubarak resigned and there are meaningful changes happening.  The Military's Supreme Council is in charge and they issued their fifth communique today.  They have dissolved Parliament, suspended the Constitution, and said democratic elections will happen by September.  The Prime Minister said there will be an immediate review of cases of political detainees.  

The Prime Minister also said the current Cabinet will remain until a new government is formed.  This last point was not welcomed by some protesters.   A few hundred protesters in Tahrir Square didn't want to leave the Square until all demands were met including lifting to the Emergency Law.  There were some scuffles with the military as they removed tents. The military arrested a few protesters during the scuffles but said they would soon be released.

Most people seem to think the military should be given a chance to show protesters' demands will be met.  I spoke to one middle-aged Egyptian woman who said that if the military didn't follow through, then Egyptians would return to the streets to protest again.   

Another interesting development was that a few thousand police officers had a demonstration demanding higher wages, health insurance and better working conditions.  One officer in the crowd said that they worked long hours for very low pay.  The news reported that the police were granted a pay raise as a result of this protest.  

The head of one of Egypt's opposition parties, Ayman Nour, has said he will run for President in the next election.  He has also said he would like to start a dialogue among members of the opposition and the military.

Lastly, it was reported that after an inventory was taken of the Egyptian Museum it was discovered that 18 priceless antiquties were stolen during the past three weeks.   

If you'd like to read article summarizing developments, here's a link to a recent New York Times article:


As developments happen so fast here now, the million person protests of two days ago are almost 'old news', but since I've just downloaded more videos from that day, I'll offer them to you here.

First is a quick video showing how one entrances to Tahrir Square looked with barricades and a narrow passageway on the right where protesters were checking ID's, bags and frisking people to allow them into the square.  The efforts of the protesters to try to keep the demonstrations peaceful were very impressive.    
This video is available at this link:

Here are some other videos of showing the diversity of the crowd in Tahrir Square.  This was truly a grass-roots popular uprising. 

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Sorry that I'm unable to figure out how to rotate some of these videos!
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This video is a conversation I had with a woman who was part of a cleaning crew supporting the protest by working on keeping the grounds clean.

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Here's a video showing a part of Tahrir Square dedicated to the protesters who were killed in the past 18 days.
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Here's a video of the crowd chanting.
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This last video is one of my favorites.  The Egyptian National Anthem is playing in the background as Egyptians pass by in Tahrir Square.  I love the diversity of this group and the pride you see in their faces.

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