Sunday, June 20, 2010

Anger Rising in Egypt After Police Brutality Incidents

Another angry day in Egypt.
Hundreds of protestors gathered in downtown to protest brutal murder of Khaled Said at the hands of Egyptian police. What was initially planned to be a protest in Tahrir changed into a march throughout downtown streets. Protestors cheated the at least 20 Central Security trucks full of maybe 600 poor, underfed conscripts prepared to crush them to death. Instead, they started to gather in a busy market area hundreds of metres away and started an angry march, of course untouched by policemen! When one or two policemen ventured to snatch ppl away, they were easily outnumbered.
I recorded the scene in disbelief, as the march continued from a narrow street to bigger ones until we were actually in the heart of downtown. No policeman or soldier was in sight. People outside the march were in disbelief too, and their reactions ranged from just looking on, randomly and briefly joining us, supporting us with thumbs up, or recording us. I tried to apologise for a taxi driver for the traffic jam we created, but he responded kindly and was totally understanding.
Everyone secretly wondered when the police crackdown will start. A golden 15 minutes passed before plainclothed policemen started gathering helplessly. You know them by the look even though they're not in uniform. Smug, moustached, mean-looking. We reached Sherif St when violent clashes began...we were surrounded on one side by only one line of soldiers, but among us were many plainclothed policemen. It was totally chaotic and people were being pushed everywhere. For a moment I didn't know where to go and moved to the pavement when I found a policeman screaming at us to go away. We were around 20 ppl on the pavement, only two of whom were among the protest. I heard roaring sounds, and actually looked back to make sure they were made by people not hyenas or lions. A guy I don't know was beaten by said policeman but later managed to run away, just as everyone of us was instinctively running in alleys, while being called names by policemen I thankfully couldn't make out. I jumped into a tiny mosque and collapsed. For a whole hour and a half I couldn't got out, made some calls and knew that there have been arrests and that until writing this post, the rest of protestors were still at the press syndicate to demand release of all detainees.
Most recent protests have been immobile. Protestors would chant in a planned area and be cordoned off...but todays protests for Khaled Said was somewhat out of police control and more in the heart of the city, instead of side streets. The location of the protest is dramatic, and one reason for the success of today's protest is that it managed to be a march, with non-members getting the chance to know the reason, and express how they feel, however shyly.
On another note, autopsy report of Khaled Said's body is bound to come out this week. In fact, the report may determine the cause of death, but may not necessarily prove that he was beaten to death. It is left for the witnesses to stand their ground, and bring justice for Khaled.


parvati_roma said...

Great blogging - keep it up! :)

Wild at Heart said...

Thanks! Also check the video from the protest in the latest post.