Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Egyptian Military Junta Attacks Sit-in on Tahrir Square

By Johannes Stern
On August 1 the Egyptian military and the notorious Amn al-Markazi (Central Security Forces) brutally attacked peaceful protesters on Tahrir Square in Cairo, clearing the Square and bringing the protests to a halt. At around 2 p.m., armored trucks moved to the entrances of the square and the military began to fire warning shots into the air.
Egyptian troops moving against Tahrir Square protesters on August 1 [Photo: Nora Shalaby]
Tahrir Square had been largely deserted by protest groups and official “opposition” parties, who abandoned the sit-in on Friday. Those who remained on the square were largely families and supporters of martyrs—that is, protesters killed during the revolutionary struggles that led to the ousting of US-backed President Hosni Mubarak, on February 11.

Eyewitnesses reported that young protesters responded by throwing stones at the soldiers and plain clothes police officers entering Tahrir with automatic machine guns. During the raid the military and the security forces brought down the tents and chased hundreds of protesters out of the square. Several protesters were injured, and the junta arrested at least 25 of them.
When the military stormed the square, some of the protesters fled to hide in Omar Makram Mosque close to Tahrir Square; the army also began to attack the mosque. It was reported that some shop owners in downtown Cairo were mobilized against the sit-in by police and joined the attack.
A protester named Galal described the scene: “They entered and they destroyed the tents while we were inside. We had old women and mothers of martyrs with us and they had to run away.” Galal is a member of one of the martyr’s families who began the sit-in over four weeks ago after the police brutally attacked protesters in Downtown Cairo injuring more than 1,000. His brother Nasser was killed outside the police station in the working class district of Imbaba, during the first days of the mass uprising against the Egyptian regime in January.
Tanks clear Tahrir Square [Photo: Jonathan Rashad]
The renewed attack by the military on Tahrir Square, one of the icons of the Egyptian Revolution, is the culmination of an organized counterrevolution after the Egyptian workers and youth brought down the longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak in February. In recent weeks, the US-backed military junta worked together with all the official “opposition” parties and groups in Egypt to stop a massive wave of protests and strikes which spread all over Egypt.

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