[awaiting protesters. Image by authors, taken at 5 am in Tahrir Square]
At 4 am, the two of us walked from Zamalik to Tahrir Square as protesters began to gather. We took some pictures and conducted some interviews. At this moment (7:00 am), we only have time to post a few of them (see three videos below, followed by images from Tahrir).
Today, May 27, 2011, promises to be the largest mobilization across Egypt since Husni Mubarak was forced to resign as a result of the Egyptian Revolution. In Cairo, protesters began gathering at Tahrir Square late Thursday night, early Friday morning, as barricades were being set up and volunteer committees organized themselves to take responsibility for preventing the entering of cars and searching those that are entering the Square. Such measures come in the wake of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ (SCAF) announcement that they will not have a presence at the protests. Some have interpreted this to be a sign that SCAF is giving the green light for baltagiyyah and other covert operatives to disrupt the protests. Others have understood the move as an attempt to create a vacuum that SCAF hopes will lead to some form of chaos in order to delegitimate the call for ongoing protests. The protests today were called to reaffirm the yet-to-be-fuliflled demands of the Egyptian Revolution and to assert the continued willingness of Egyptians to take to the streets until the demands are met. Among the demands specified in the calls for action, flyers, and banners for today’s protests are the prosecution of Husni Mubarak, his family, and other members of his regime, the creation of a civilian caretaker government, and an end to military trials.
This post will be updated regularly (to the extent we can) as we attend the protest in Tahrir Square. In addition to descriptive updates, we will be posting interviews with protesters as well as recordings the sights and sounds that make up the day’s events. Update [2:30 pm] Protesters flocked to Tahrir in impressive numbers that nonetheless fell well short of the “millioniyyah” (one million(er)) that was hoped for by the organizers. The Muslim Brotherhood did not participate in this protest. One corollary aim of this protest is to demonstrate that the effort for moving the revolution forward does not depend on the Brotherhood–though the non-participation of the Brotherhood is not a function of a hostile boycott [Jadaliyya will soon feature articles and interviews that analyze the Egyptian political scene after the revolution]. Being here, however, is inspiring as Egypt, or Cairo (where we are), is brimming with energy/synergy and a remarkable spirit of voluntarism across nearly all segments of society. Update [8:00pm]
The protest ended today with a strong show of approximately 150,000 protesters and no major incidents. The turn out hilghlighted a powerful committment to the revolution (which was/is about much more than Mubarak’s resignaton) that is not rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood’s constituencies. Though some members of what has come to be described as shabab al-ikhwan were present indepedently at the protests. We will be creating a new post featuring a photo and video essay within the coming hours which will highlight the sounds and images of Tahrir on this day. It will include banners, music, interviews, and more. Stay tuned!
[The view from within Tahrir Square as people began to gather in the early hours of Friday morning]
[The people want: “the prosecution of Husni Mubarak and his accomplices on the charge of political corruption.” – Youth of the Revolution Coalition]
[Young men sitting around and singing the demands of the revolution]
[Palestine solidarity in Tahrir Square]
[Stickers, posters, and key chains of the revolution]
[Remnants of the former ruling party, the burned National Democratic (NDP) building in Cairo as seen from Tahrir Square]
[Sticker criticizing the Ministry of Interior for its treatment of Mubarak and his accomplices. Mubarak seen on the phone saying: “Assure the people, we are not coming back. We are comfortable here”]
[Two boys enjoying the sunrise and waiting for the days events to begin in Tahrir Square]