Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cairo Heat

"This morning, protesters gathered outside the High Court building and along Talaat Harb St. to protest the hearing of the same two judges as last week's protest, who criticized the elections as fraudulent and were therefore suspended. The judiciary has become a focal point for many of the human rights groups and other protest movements in Egypt, and this is the latest flashpoint. Kifaya (enough) and the Muslim Brotherhood were the main groups in these protests, and many other human rights organizations joined in as well.

Apparently, the police learned well from last week. They had been caught off guard once, because they didnt know what to expect, and the police ended up beating, pretty badly, several Arab journalists (a alJazeera reporter got it worst), dragging a friend of mine through the streets, and just lots of random people, including women.

This time, they knew what they were doing a little better. They got the beatings in early, before alot of the media was there, and were more deliberate and unhesitating. They didnt allow the protesters a chance to regroup, either, because they kept flanking their movements. Afterwards, they didnt need to use so much violence. At one point, plainclothes thugs (who are responsible for ALL the violence - the riot police just stand there not moving, and theyre actually the safe place to stand in these demonstrations) encircled a bunch of us, including several MPs from the Muslim Brotherhood, and just tried to lock us in place, pushing us into a felafel restaurant or something (I couldnt see). No beatings. Yet they managed to control the crowd and dissipate the protest, and arrest who they wanted to arrest.

After playing such childish games with the elections and Ayman Nour's trial, the government is finally learning some tactics! I'm proud of them. They're growing up.

More protests tonight..."


This is the first hand account of the protest happening today in Cairo. Aatif is a Yale student currently taking an internship here.