Below is another update from our friend in Cairo. This is an account of the events on Friday the 28th. Again, we thank Amal for sending these posts to us to share with everyone. We will continue to post as they come in. A larger protest is being planned for tomorrow, Tuesday February 1. We hope everyone will be safe as they demand changes from their governemnt and offer our support in spirit to their endeavors.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Friday of Rage.
To open this Egyptian “Friday of Rage”, the country’s Coptic Christians vowed they would protect their Muslim brothers while they paused in protests to pray.
The internet and all cell phones had been closed during the night. News was sporadic on Al Jazeera Arabic, the people’s primary source of information. Egyptian-run television ran clips of small gatherings in a quiet country.
Outside, thousands of people were exploding into the streets of every town and cities.
Mohammed al-Bardei, former Nobel Peace Prize winner and spokesman for authentic democracy in Egypt, was reported to have been put under house arrest.
Wel known politician Mohamed al-Sekki called on President Hosni Mubarak, whose regime is the focus of the disturbances in the country, to address concerns of protesters. His failure to do so thus far, three days into the uprising, has confirmed the popular opinion that he has little respect for the governed.
By 3 in the afternoon, 25, 000 in the northern coast city of Damietta had bombed the police station. Police station fires spread from city to city throughout the country.
By 4 pm, 100,000 were reported on the streets in Mansoura and 150000 in Port Said. In Cairo, police fired tear gas; in other towns and cities, police were said to be acting in sympathy with the protestors.
Numbers of protestors in greater Cairo, a city of about 17 million, were reported to have swollen to a half million.
In places, the police used live ammunition and protester were killed. One person warned that the police were using sulfur. During afternoon prayers, people stopped to pray – at the top of their voices – and petition Allah for support from the army.
The Egyptian Army, unlike the military, is respected for its professionalism and admired for its success in the 1973 war with Egypt. It is thought of as a people’s protector of last resort.
“The people call for the government to fall.” replaced the words of prayer . Over and over again, the demand bounded through the streets
When the retaliation came, demonstrators toppled a police van.
The government closed the bridges to Tahrir Square.
Those already in the square torched the headquarters of the Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP), located in a building on the perimeter of the square and next to the Egyptian Museum. This victory, of considerable symbolic value, fed the courage of the crowd.
Journalists called for local news station to discontinue their reporting of disinformation.
In the city of Suez, located at the southern end of the canal and totally controlled by the NDP, demonstrations were violent.
In Port Said, located at the Mediterranean mouth of the Suez Canal, people swore they would stay in the streets till the government fell. Police refused to fire on them.
In Alexandria 50,000 gathered on the corniche in support of the revolt. Not a single policeman was seen.
At 5:45 in Cairo, police suddenly stopped firing and stepped over to join the protesters. In an operatic moment, the sides exchanged hugs and kisses.
Egypt has 1 policeman for every 4 citizens. They tend to be recruited from poor families, have little education and are very poorly paid.
At 6:15, the police resumed their assault.
The Army, said to have refused orders to shoot, arrived in Tahrir Square. The police left. The demonstrators went wild with happiness and walked hand-in-hand with the troops.
The joined to create a human shield to protect the Egyptian museum from the fire at NDP headquarters next door.
At 12:15 am, President Mubarak announced the he had excused everyone in his cabinet. He would remain on the job to ensure the security of his people.