In the end I walked out, which wasn’t what I was expecting. Nor was I expecting the cameraman on the army APC filming us as we filed past. I had been trapped in between two sets of clashes, thugs on one side and military and residents on the other. I didn’t know where to go. And on Hosni’s birthday of all days.
The clashes had already started at Abbaseya by the time I arrived. Abbaseya is not like Tahrir, it’s a perpetual death trap for protesters. There are no safe exits, and there are many people there that are generally annoyed by your presence, and are willing to let you know about it. It’s also huge, which should be an advantage when you’re scurrying off, but it isn’t because you have further ground to cover to get away.
At that point it was rock-throwing and the army were firing water from a cannon at protesters. The clashes were further up the street and as I walked up to the front tear gas was fired. The army had advised that people go to Tahrir, and not the MOD, Tahrir now being a center point for people who had long forsaken the revolution, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. You know that Tahrir is not the place to be when Mustafa Bakri is there; then it’s definitely not the place for any sort of pro-revolution, anti-Scaf action.
This was different from other clashes in that protesters didn’t return to the same line after the gas cleared; they merely retreated and set up a new boundary. The gas was potent, with a long range, and the stifling summer heat kept the pungent stench permeating through the air. The protesters weren’t only Salafis like the media keeps regurgitating. There were the usual types who tend to be at these things, the street movements and those who were just opposed to military rule. Read more…