Thursday, December 22, 2011

in cairo, no more yemeni protest tent

Yemeni protesters have put a temporary end to their sit-in outside the Arab League building in Cairo, after violence flared up again in the vicinity last week-end.

After the Yemeni sit-in tent was destroyed during Cairo's November uprising, a few protesters had nevertheless remained on the edge of Tahrir Square outside the Arab League building, with a few photos and a large Yemeni flag. Even after Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative agreeing to hand over power in Yemen, they remained to protest the part of the deal that ensured his immunity from prosecution. To keep warm at night, they pitched a tent on the pavement and wrapped themselves in heavy blankets. (See photo below taken on November 28, on the first day of Egypt's parliamentary elections.) Peaceful protesters Wael, Ahmed, and Adel were usually there to say hello.

Last Friday, violence re-erupted between Egyptian protesters and the security forces after a protester from the sit-in in front of the cabinet was brutally beaten in the night of December 15 to 16. Redhwan, one of the Yemeni sit-in organisers and a medic student in second year at Cairo University, donned a white coat and helped Egyptian volunteer doctors on the edge of Tahrir Square to tend to the wounded from the front line in Qasr el-Eini street. "It's good practice," he said, with a smile.

The next day, on December 17, the Yemeni tent was burnt down, along with the Syrian flag on the other side of the Arab League gate, the new much larger Bahraini tent next to the closest Metro exit, and all the remaining Egyptian protester tents on the other side of Tahrir. The photo below was taken on December 18. It was as if the tent, first erected on October 24 after Redhwan's friend died tortured at the hands of the police in Taiz, had never existed.

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