Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 27, 2011 Protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Yesterday's protest in Tahrir Square was peaceful and drew a large crowd, some say a million by the late afternoon.  I arrived in the early evening and it was a smaller crowd, maybe 10,000 or so.  Before it got dark there were several parts of the square with speakers and small crowds chanting.  Once it was dark, there were a few thousand people still in the Square and people were gathered in small crowds standing or small groups sitting, sometimes on blankets in the area in the middle of the Square.  Traffic was stopped all afternoon and evening.
The protesters I spoke with offered numerous reasons for the continued protests including the need to continue prosecutions for the Mubarak family. civilian trials rather than military trials for civilians, releasing of political prisoners including protesters who have recently been arrested, and requesting a council of civilians  and military leaders to guide the country during this transition. 

Unlike most Friday protests, I didn't see a single police officer or military officer when I was there, though I did hear that the authorities (-- not sure which branch--) had poured a lot of water on the grassy/dirt part in the middle of the Square to make it a big puddle so people couldn't camp out there after the protest.   I left around 8:30pm and didn't see anyone setting up tents so perhaps no one will be spending the night.  The curfew is still in effect, starting at 2am I think, so spending the night would mean risk of arrest for whoever stays.

The protesters were a very diverse group of all ages.  I spoke to a few people who were fairly new to the protest scene.  One woman said this was her third time to Square and that she decided she needed to be involved.  I have a video of her and a few other people I interviewed in the Square tonight that I will be uploading over the next couple days for a later posting.   Below is a photo of a man who sounded like it was his first time to Square.  He came with his one and a half month old baby.

Some people were going around picking up trash in the Square during the protest.  Here's on man lugging a big sack of trash.

 I noticed that Hardees, which is right on the Square and which had to partially rebuild after the revolution now has a type of door that shuts over all the doors and windows making it impossible to enter.  I also noticed the restaurant was completely closed, though this isn't the norm for a Friday afternoon or evening.  The word had gone out that yesterday's protest was supposed to be the biggest one yet since the revolution.  Also, some said violence was expected, so I assume that's why they decided to close.  But there was no violence as far as I know.

Below is a photo of me with my classmate, Shady, and his brother, Ramy, who is an up and coming musician who already has a large following here in Egypt.
 Shady explained to meaning of the poster below.  Apparently, the word for calculator is the same as the word for prosecute in Arabic.  Egyptians are quite funny with their posters and protests sometimes.
 Here's another funny poster of a bottle of mouthwash, like Listerine, which I guess would be meant to say that all the germs should be washed out of Egypt.

 This poster of the camel is to remember what happened in the square with what people now call "the Camel Battle" when camels and horses charged into the Square to attack the protesters on February 2, 2011, in the middle of the revolution.

 The protester wanted me to take photo of his shirt which shows unity of Muslims and Christians.  He pointed out it has a mosque and a church together.

 The photos below show the Egyptian flat on top, then the Syrian flag, then the Libyan flag, in solidarity with the struggles there.

 I saw this woman and little boy on the metro ride home.

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