Karela Fry

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This revolution is a party

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Al Jazeera reporting from Tahrir Square in Cairo says

Tuesday’s protests were by far the biggest since street demonstrations broke out against Mubarak’s rule last week.

“The crowd is very diverse – young, old, religious, men, women – and growing by the minute,” Al Jazeera’s online producer said from Tahrir Square.

“They’re chanting the same slogans they’ve been chanting all week. Someone actually hung an effigy of Mubarak from a streetlight.”

Organisers had called for a march by a million people on the day, but the turnout surpassed all expectations.

Soldiers deployed at the square did nothing to stop the crowds from entering.

They have formed a human chain around protesters, and are checking people for weapons as they enter. Tanks have been positioned near the square, and officers have been checking identity papers.

An Al Jazeera correspondent in Cairo said that there were reports that “thugs in certain parts of the city have been trying to stop people from driving into Cairo”.

She said that “increasingly large pockets of pro-government protests” are also taking place at various locations in the city. There are fears that if the two sets of protesters meet, a violent clash could erupt.

Gigi Ibrahim, a political activist, told Al Jazeera the protesters will not be satisfied until Mubarak steps down.

“… Every day there are more numbers on the street than the day before. I think the protests are gaining momentum. The people … will literally not leave until Mubarak steps down,” she said.

In turning out at Tahrir Square and elsewhere, the protesters overcame various odds. Authorities had stopped all train traffic from Monday afternoon in a bid to deter people from joining the protests, but they came out in very large numbers nevertheless.

State TV has started showing footage of the protests in Tahrir Square, though it continues to delve on how the protests are hurting Egypt’s economy.

Protest organisers had called for an indefinite strike to be observed across the country on Tuesday, the eighth day of an uprising that has claimed at least 150 lives.

Feb 4, 2011

A long story in the Spiegel starts:

In exchange for the equivalent of a few euros, poor seasonal workers have taken part in street fighting in Cairo on the side of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The thugs, who fight with iron bars, knives and clubs, have been recruited by privileged members of the regime, including party officials, security forces and rich business people with lucrative state contracts.

The bloody clashes in Cairo show that not all of Egypt’s 80 million people want to see President Hosni Mubarak overthrown or a new start heralded by fresh elections. Many are fiercely loyal to the ruling system and are ready to fight for it — with brutality. On Thursday afternoon, there were even reports on the Al Jazeera news channel that Mubarak supporters were storming the hotels of Cairo and hunting down journalists.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

February 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm

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