#June28 Martyr’s Day of Rage: EyeWitness and Analysis

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UPDATE: New Video(s) and a roundup from major news source.

The Second Coming of Rage! [First Hand Account]
Reposted with permission from http://theangryegyptian.wordpress.com/. Follow them on twitter @Gsquare86

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Around 6:00 pm I was at the families of martyrs sit-in at Maspero, I found the place somewhat unusually emapty, when I asked, I learned that a group of them together with
supporters had left in a march to the honorary celebration of the martyrs at El Balon Theater in Agoza. I wasn’t able to figure out for sure who organized this “celebration” nor why have the families decided to go and leave the sit-in. Soon enough, a group came back from Agoza telling the story and showing me the footage of police attacking the supporters from Maspero after the families & supporters were denied entry into the theater.

The families from Maspero along with supporters went to get into the theater, and they were denied entry by security saying that they are not the families of martyrs, so four supporters jumped the fence, and that’s when the clashes started. Immediately, the police showed up and started firing tear gas and attacking supporters & families of martyrs from Maspero with electric shocks shown in the video above.

I took this footage and went to Aljazeera Arabic, uploaded it, and was promised that they would report it, and left. As I was passing through Tahrir, I saw a group of familiar Tahrir activists saying that they are going to the interior of ministry to protest against the police attacks in Agoza. There were 2 trucks with plain clothed people heading there as well. I wanted to pass first by the CairoTweetUp first then head to MOI, I showed the tweeps the video and left to MOI with @3effat & @Sarrahsworld.

When we got to MOI, clashes had already occurred between protesters and CSF officers with an exchange of rocks throwing. I saw there @norashalaby & @Tahrekshalaby along with other familiar faces. As things were dying down, all of the sudden, I saw the CSF officers marching with sticks in the air towards Tahrir on Mohamed Mahmoud St. The protesters followed them not understanding whom are they running after. I kept asking what is going on? People who were there before me, told me that “they are running
after thugs who came and threw rocks at the officers in 2 trucks.” Hmmmm these must have been the same trucks I saw in Tahrir earlier, who are these people? unknown.

We, protesters, ran towards Tahrir, and clashes between us and them, pigs, never stopped since until couple of hours ago. Many were injured, including Noor
Ayman @NoorNoor1
, who was shot with khartosh in the head< but he is fine, just couple of stitches. The most disgusting part was the cursing and the words that the CSF pigs were yelling at us while shooting us with tear gas and rock. They were saying, “we will kill
you! you deserve death ya awsaakh!” I threw rocks for the first time from the front of the line. I was not afraid. I was ready to die because freedom is not without blood. I got soficated with tear gas like many others including @alaa @Lobna @salmasaid . I left Tahrir to upload the footage that I have and the pictures that I took before my phone, camera, laptop, and flip all batteries went dead. You will find my videos from the night here soon.

There is a call to stay in Tahrir, few thousands are there already, and more will join tomorrow. Alexandria, Suez, and Port Said also have mass demonstrations. Power of the people. Revolution until victory!!!

SCAF Makes a Mistake [Opinion]
by Chris Opilia from Cairo
Picture: Khalil Hamra/Associated Press

At some point after midnight this evening (or early this morning), Egyptian security forces attempted to disperse an unknown number of people who had spontaneously gathered in front of the Ministry of the Interior to protest delays in the trials of those responsible for deaths of protestors during the revolution. Most of these peoples were family members of the deceased whom Egyptians call the “Martyrs of the Revolution”.

The central security forces elected to open fire upon the protesters with tear gas in a scene reminiscent to this end of this past January. The protestors, in turn, fought back with rocks and chunks of cement and the result was a running street battle during which the protesters were pushed back to Medan Tahrir. Protesters were joined by reinforcements including elements of the baltagiya (hoodlums, trouble-makers) until around two thousand people had gathered in Medan Tahrir. The security forces, however, were reinforced by both armored cars and riot police succeeded in clearing all but a few protestors from the square. However, as I right these words, elements from youth committees (including the Muslim Brotherhood) are moving to Tahrir to support the protestors and the mosque in Tahrir has begun broadcasting statements through its loud speakers demanding that the police stand down as eighty percent of those in Tahrir are revolutionaries .

At first glance these actions may seem to make little sense. Not only was the curfew lifted a couple of weeks ago but the hour was already very late making it likely that the protests would have dispersed themselves within an hour or so especially since they lacked the numbers and supplies to wage a lengthy sit-in. When viewed in the context of both the current public discourse in Egypt and coming events of the next week or so, the rationale of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) is revealed.

There is a large segment of the Egyptian society that is unsatisfied with the rushed transition process ushered in by a rushed referendum on constitutional amendments this past March. This referendum set the schedule for the transition process: Parliamentary elections this September (under a mixed system of both proportional and district representation) and presidential elections in November/December. This new government will them appoint a constitutional committee to draft a new constitution. This schedule favors the political organizations with established networks like the Muslim Brotherhood (despite its newly revealed deep schisms), the former National Democratic Party (NDP), the former opposition parties (like Wafd) and the Salafists. Furthermore, the schedule enjoys the support of the army (especially SCAF) who hopes to flee the public eye as soon as possible and return to its historical role of governing the Egyptian state behind the scenes in relative obscurity.

Youth coalitions, liberal intellectuals, and leftist social workers (among many other groups), however, lack the networks necessary to succeed in these rushed elections and fear an Islamist “hijacking” of the revolution. As such they have gathered under the banner of Constitution First in order to pressure SCAF into appointing a constitutional committee to draft a constitution or at the very least adopt a bill of rights that ensures equal rights for all citizens. To further these ends, these factions have gathered more than 15 million signatures on a petition and called for a Day of Rage on July 8, 2011.

In my opinion, given that acceding to these demands means delay the transition process, the SCAF elected to send a message to the Constitution First bloc tonight. Those protesting in front of the Ministry of the Interior are of the same political leanings of the Constitution First bloc. Thus, by violently protesting this demonstration, SCAF gives the bloc a taste of what is in store for them if they follow through with the Day of Rage on July 8, 2011.

This represents a gross miscalculation on the part of the SCAF. First, the behavior is out the textbook of the former regime and thereby enhances the already growing association between SCAF and Mubarak’s repression in the minds of Egyptians. Second, the Egyptian populace is no longer characterized as afraid, apathetic and meek. The January 25 Revolution shattered these barriers and as such violent repression is no longer a deterrence but a provocation.

Therefore – if I dare to hazard a prediction – the July 8, 2011 protests will not only go forward as planned but also likely include a relatively larger segment of the Egyptian society. Furthermore, the object of protest will not be limited to the schedule of the transition process but rather extend to include sharp criticism of the SCAF itself.

For those wanting more information:
Twitter Tags: #Tahrir, #June28, #July8.

News Roundup:
Battle breaks out in Tahrir Square, once again [The Guardian]

Clashes between protesters and security forces engulfed Cairo once again on Tuesday night, as the fiercest street battles since the fall of Hosni Mubarak left dozens injured.

Fighting began after dark, following earlier protests by relatives of those killed during this spring’s uprising.

Armed central security police showered Tahrir Square with tear gas canisters and fired bullets into the air as several thousand demonstrators amassed and called for the resignation of Egypt‘s de facto head of state, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

Some members of the crowd tore up paving stones and threw them towards police lines.

The Guardian witnessed successive volleys of tear gas launched into the square and surrounding streets by government forces, including towards areas where ambulances had congregated to treat the wounded. Injured protesters, mostly with head wounds and gas inhalation, were carried to safety on the shoulders of fellow demonstrators.

“Mubarak was nothing – this is the revolution,” said one man caught by tear gas.

Egypt: Fresh clashes erupt in Cairo’s Tahrir Square   [BBC]

The confrontation started on Tuesday when police cleared a sit-in outside the state TV building by families of those killed in February’s uprising, activists said.

The protesters later regrouped outside the interior ministry and clashes broke out with police.
Fighting escalated and moved to Tahrir Square where lines of riot police carrying shields sealed off the main streets and dozens of security vehicles parked in side streets.

As volleys of tear gas rained down, injured demonstrators were seen lying on the ground, some dazed and bloodied.

Tahrir: Revolution Revisited? [Dima Khatib – reporter AJE]

We were at a Cairo Tweet Up, a gathering of tweeps in Cairo. We ended up heading to Tahrir Square. By the time I got there it was midnight. There were about 2000 people as far as I could see and count. There were gas canisters being thrown every few minutes in different directions at the square from the surrounding streets blocked by the police. I could see just ordinary young men. Very few women were around. Some said to me : “Our martyrs sacrificed for us, we won’t let them down.”

Fresh clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square [AJE]

The ruling military council issued a statement on its Facebook page early on Wednesday.

It said the Tahrir events aimed at disturbing the security and the stability of the country in an organised plan.

“The regrettable events that have been taking place at Tahrir Square since last night and till dawn today have no justification except to undermine stability and security in Egypt according to a calculated and coordinated plan in which the blood of the revolution’s martyrs is used to cause a wedge between the revolutionaries and the security apparatus in Egypt to achieve these goals.

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