Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tahrir Square the day before the Referendum on Constitutional Amendments

I went to Tahrir Square today for the regular Friday protest after morning prayers which finish around mid-day.   Tomorrow is the first referendum post-Mubarak to see whether Egyptians will vote yes or no on the proposed constitutional amendments.

Here's an article that summarizes the constitutional amendments being voted on tomorrow.  

My impression is that the NO votes are strong with the youth, but YES votes are more likely from the more established people such as the National Democratic Party voters [Mubarak’s party] and the Muslim Brotherhood who are going to be more skilled at getting their people to the polls.   I talked to a few youth on the metro who had been in Tahrir Square protesting for Mubarak to resign, yet they had no idea there was an referendum this Saturday.  Many everyday people seem unaware of tomorrow’s vote.  Here are today's photos from in and around Tahrir Square.  

Face painting is all the rage.  For only 1 genee (an Egyptian pound worth 17 cents), you can get the Egyptian flag painted on your cheek.

The pink building with the dome on top in the background is the Egyptian Museum.

Here are some videos from the Square with more still uploading, hopefully to be posted tomorrow.

This video is available at this link:

This video is available at this link:

This next video is of one of my classmates at American University in Cairo's law department.
You can view this video at this link:

This video is at this link:

This video was from shortly after Mubarak resigned.  I included it here because the speaker talked about his impressions of the Egyptian Constitution.
This video is available at this link:

This is a poster from the vote no people.  The white Arabic symbol in the center means "NO".  

On our way home from Tahrir, a rock or something else round and hard, was thrown at the subway car we were in, breaking the outside window.  The inside glass pane did not break and no one was hurt, but people were very surprised.  This kind of random violence rarely happens here.  I wondered if it was an effort by someone to try to keep people away from the polls tomorrow.  

The good news is I haven't heard about any other acts of violence lately and no intimidation related to the vote tomorrow.   

I was also impressed by how tolerant everyone seemed to be about respecting peoples' right to vote as they chose.  A couple of the Egyptians I spoke to talked about how this will be the first fair election in a long time and everyone will respect the outcome because that's democracy.  Egyptians are very proud of their new democracy. 

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