Our Cairo correspondent sends photos from the demonstrations sweeping Tahrir Square. Click for slideshows:
|A tear gas canister made in the USA|
It has been 10 months since the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, but those in Tahrir Square this week are experiencing an eerie repeat of the January uprisings. Bloody and sometimes deadly clashes with riot police, clouds of tear gas, thousands of injuries, and speeches from a ruler who appears at least days behind the pulse of the street. As Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's interim military ruler, gave a highly anticipated address touching on the political turmoil, riot police continued to rapid fire tear gas canisters at protestors. In response to demands that the military council (Security Council of Armed Forces) cease running the country, Tantawi suggested the matter be decided in a public referendum - which drew widespread criticism from politicians and activists. Soon after news of Tantawi's speech spread through Tahrir, people chanted, "Leave, leave."
One of protesters’ main demands is to allow a civilian council to step in until presidential elections. More than 12,000 civilians have been tried in military tribunals under the rule of the military council, a remanent of the Mubarak regime, and Egyptians fear the military regime will not relinquish its power. In his speech, Tantawi said he would order the formation of a new cabinet to replace the one that resigned Monday, which would continue to work in conjunction with SCAF. Those in Tahrir were galvanized by his speech, which some described as threatening. On one street, a crowd of young futbol fans called Ultras marched and lit fireworks. Soon after, a riot police truck moved toward the crowd, firing repeated rounds of tear gas. Soon after, in the second largest city of Alexandria, police swept the crowds, making arrests. The chants of January echo, but this time with a different target.
People are now chanting, "Tantawi, you coward, the people are waiting for you in the Square."
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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