Tuesday, November 22, 2011

caught up in egypt's protests

When I visit on Monday evening, there are no more than four protesters at what is left of the Yemeni tent outside the Arab League in Cairo, after Egyptian security forces cracked down on neighbouring Tahrir Square on Saturday. In their drive to evict Egyptian protesters demanding civil rule from the square, security forces also targeted the Yemeni and Syrian protesters at its edge, firing tear gas at them, and seizing or destroying all their belongings, they say. "They took everything, laptops, phones," says Wael, a Yemeni student and one of the remaining protesters. "There wasn't even a sock left!" But Wael and fellow protesters have decided to keep going. They have re-wrapped their giant Yemeni flag around some trees, and set about distributing twin badges in support of Yemen and Syria.

Behind Wael, accross Tahrir Square, young Egyptian protesters continue to battle the tear gas of security forces in Mohammad Mahmoud Street after nightfall. A steady stream of injured are carried out on foot, by motorcycle, or in ambulances (see photo above) through the protesting crowds at the centre of the square. At the Omar Maqram mosque, on this side of the square, one of several field hospitals has been set up for the injured, with volunteers via initiatives such as #tahrirneeds and @tahrirsupplies bringing in blankets and medical supplies. In the square, protesters opposing Egypt's military regime chant: "Stay in your place, the square is your square." Over the mosque's loudspeaker, someone warns of live bullets, and urges protesters to stay in the square. By the end of the third day of clashes between protesters and security forces, the media has reported over 1,000 injured and 32 dead.

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