Yesterday the situation in Egypt took a menacing turn for the worse as pro Mubarak protesters took to the streets with weapons because they believe that groups such as The Muslim Brotherhood could become the ruling majority if free elections take place there. They want Mubarak to continue as their leader.
Nevertheless, a throng of anti Mubarak voices resolutely persists in calling for Mubarak to step down immediately. They do so although Mubarak promised that he would not put himself up for elections in September – many do not trust him to keep that promise. They say that he has broken many promises in the past so why should he change now?
The Mail online reported yesterday that more than 1,500 people were wounded in the violent clashes which included Mubarak supporters on “horses and camels wielding whips, bars and sticks” against anti Mubarak protestors in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Reports estimate that five people were killed.
One victim of the attacks was CNN reporter Anderson Cooper who, together with his crew, was beaten by pro Mubarak demonstrators who also tried to take Cooper's videographer's camera from him. In an article at the Hollywood Reporter Cooper claimed:
"It was chaotic. I've been in riots and melees before, but this is the first time that I've been in a situation that escalated to a level where we really had no control. Many people in the crowd came for a fight and that's what they have."
Additionally, Christiane Amanpour for ABC News and an ABC crew were also confronted by pro Mubarak demonstrators. The crowd told them to turn back and when they did their car was stoned resulting in a cracked windscreen which shattered glass all over the driver. Amanpour stated that she and her crew felt menaced.
There are further stories of reporters being intimidated by soldiers, pro Mubarak supporters and plain clothed agents here.
In response to yesterday's events The White House advised Mubarak to begin preparations for democratic elections “now”. Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary, revealed that President Obama "found the images" of the violence today in Cairo "outrageous and deplorable" and that the only solution that would satisfy the people of Egypt is that "transition must begin now". By stating these concerns President Obama appears to believe that this is an uprising by the people and not that of one particular sect. A true revolution of the people.
My concern is that such revolutions can be hijacked and idealism soon squandered. My hope is that the Egyptian people will be triumphant.
There can be little doubt that many Egyptians want their freedom and they want it now. In Cairo a young woman has been covering the events via twitter. Her name is Nevine Zaki and she twitters regular updates about the uprising from her perspective.
Yesterday at the height of the violence Nevine sent the following message via twitter:
"When I despair, I remember that throughout history, truth and love have always won" - Gandhi
Earlier Nevine was present when Christians formed a human chain to protect Muslims at prayer from the military forces and she took the following photos. They deserve to be seen by as many people as possible. I believe that this is one of the real stories of the Egyptian uprising. There is joy and determination in these photos.
Here is the link to Nevine's yfrog account which contains more photos from the protests. Please be warned that some of them are NSFW as they are of a more sensitive nature than the ones I have published here with Nevine's kind permission.
Nevine's quotation from Ghandi is appropriate, however, it would be remiss of me to leave the quotation unfinished.
"There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, always."
The protests in Egypt are not about religion. They are about democracy and respect and an end to unjust rule.
I want to add the following video to the post because it beautifully expresses the will of the people. The music accompanying the video is "One Million Miles Away" by Joshua Ralph
Hat tip for the link to Nevine's photos to reader mmboucher.