New Clashes in Tahrir Square

Dec 28, 2011

By Shadi Rahimi

For three weeks protestors had been conducting a peaceful sit-in on Magles El Shaab Street in downtown Cairo to protest the military regime's appointment of Kamal Ganzouri as prime minister, among other grievances. Their tents were set up alongside heavily guarded government buildings including the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister's Office, where they remained from Nov. 24 to Dec. 16.

Click here for a slide show.

Ganzouri, who had served under former president Hosni Mubarak, had said there would be no violence used to break up the sit-in. But protestors had been alleging that military police were kidnapping and beating them. The latest rounds of fighting sparked Dec. 16 began when the boy in this video, who was part of the sit-in, said he was beaten and electrocuted by security officials. When clearing out the sit-in and those remaining inside Tahrir, tents were ripped apart and burned by soldiers. People were brutally attacked

Among those beaten was a young woman whose image has circulated around the world and reignited the fury beneath the movement for women's rights in Egypt.

The fights this month were different than November. This time, plainclothes police or soldiers, and apparent civilian allies threw rocks, furniture and later molotov cocktails down from tall buildings at protestors, who responded with rocks and molotovs, which only reached the bottom levels of the building. The clashes soon moved down to street level, where soldiers and police threw rocks, fired ammunition including live bullets, and chased and clubbed protestors over the period of about four days. A truce this time was forced by security forces placing blocks of cement on two streets. Entryways to Tahrir are now blocked three ways.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the entire War Times project

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