Clashes erupt at mass rally in Cairo

Thousands protest against recent killing of demonstrators and demand that Egypt’s military leaders step down.
 Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports on the latest clashes outside the Egyptian defense Ministry–May 4, 2012
 

Egyptian armed forces and protesters have clashed in Cairo, with troops using water cannon and rocks to disperse demonstrators trying to reach the defence ministry.

Hundreds of troops guarding the ministry surged forward on Friday when protesters began cutting through barbed wire used to seal off the ministry building in the capital’s central Abbasiya neighbourhood.”We understand that just a few minutes ago, the protesters tried to remove the barrier with barbed wire between themselves and the defence ministry,” Al Jazeera’s Steve Chao reported from Cairo.

“Security forces responded with water canons. Protesters responded with rocks.”

He said the military forces were describing their actions as “self-defence”.

The protests come amid heightened tension after 11 people were killed in clashes that broke out on Wednesday when unidentified assailants fired at protesters staging a sit-in outside the ministry of defence in Cairo.

Protesters have plastered Cairo’s Tahrir Square with banners reading, “Down with military rule”. Continue reading

Egypt: Revolutionary Figures Remain Targets for Military

from The Jadaliyya Ezine by Ahram Online

Five prominent revolutionaries face serious legal charges as tensions escalate between Egypt’s activist community and ruling military.

As recent events have shown, Egyptian personalities that have become symbols of the Egyptian revolution are now becoming targets for legal prosecution. So far, at least five prominent revolutionary figures have been formally charged with crimes in cases linked to recent escalations between anti-government protesters and security forces.

Prominent blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah (@alaa on Twitter) was among the first to have his name included among the accused. Abdel-Fattah was detained pending investigation after a journalist for Al-Wafd newspaper, Hanan Khawasek, claimed in a recent article to have seen the blogger inciting the violent clashes that took place in Cairo’s Maspero district on 9 November.

The clashes, which left twenty-seven dead and hundreds injured following a protest march by Coptic-Christian demonstrators, represented one of the most violent episodes seen in Egypt since last year’s revolution – and one for which Abdel-Fattah vocally criticised Egypt’s ruling military council. While videos circulating on social-media forums showed military vehicles running over protesters, military spokesmen claimed that a “third party” had incited the clashes.

Being a well known blogger and revolutionary activist, Abdel-Fattah’s detention by the military triggered an uproar among Egypt’s activist community. Numerous demonstrations were organised as a response, while a “Free Alaa” campaign – similar to that launched after his first arrest under the Mubarak regime – garnered considerable support. Although Abdel-Fattah has since been transferred to a civil court instead of a military one, he is still accused of stealing weapons from the military, attacking military personnel, destroying military property and inciting violence against military personnel during the Maspero clashes. Continue reading

Army and police massacre protesters at Maspero, Egypt

October 9th, 2011

The army and police committed a horrible massacre against peaceful protesters today in Maspero, Cairo. Army vehicles ran over protesters. Live ammunition was used. Extensive rounds of tear gas were fired, and showers of beatings from the military police, the central security forces and plainclothes thugs.

At least 19 people have been killed, and more than 150 injured. The toll keeps rising.

The Army also stormed Al-Hurra and 25 January TV stations, and took them off air. The Egyptian state run TV is inciting the public against the “Coptic protesters” and even called on the citizens to take to the streets to “protect the army”!! SCAF is trying to instigate a sectarian civil war.
The protesters are not only Copts. There are Muslims present in the protests too and are talking active part in resisting the police and the army. There are ongoing battles as I’m writing now. The unifying chants in downtown Cairo is against the army and field marshal Tantawi. Protesters are chanting: “Muslims and Christians… One hand!” and “Death to the Field Marshal.”
For continuous updates, please follow the Revolutionary Socialists on Facebook.
see more at: http://www.arabawy.org/2011/10/09/army-and-police-massacre-protesters-at-maspero/

Egypt: The Friday of Reaction and Bigotry

[A strong advocate of secular revolution posted this report of the 7/30/11 rally at Tahrir Square in Cairo, on http://www.3arabawy.org.  Given the history of what came to replace the Shah of Iran, these are timely insights for the worldwide revolutionary movement to discuss and debate. — Frontlines ed.]

July 30th, 2011

What was originally announced as a “Friday of Unity” was anything but that. You can call it, the Friday of Disunity, The Friday of Bigotry and Reaction, the Friday of Religious Fanaticism.

For weeks, the Islamist forces, without exception, have been denouncing the Tahrir sit-in, spreading all sorts of cheap, filthy, sensationalist lies against the largely secular protesters, amid agitation by SCAF also, that already incited Abbassiya residents against marchers on 23 July.

The Islamist forces, whose leaders, also without any exceptions, are in one way or another allied to the SCAF awaiting their shares of the booties in the coming parliamentary elections and constitutional reform, decided to escalate their moves against the Tahrir revolutionaries by announcing roughly two weeks ago they were calling for mass protests in the square, to “assert Egypt’s Islamic identity, denounce supra-constitutional principles, and to demand the application of Islamic sharia.” Such announcement was coupled with an agitation campaign that spoke of “purging Tahrir from the secularists.”

There was tension in the square over the past few days. We didn’t know what to expect on Friday. Some were expecting an “Islamist invasion” of the square, medieval style, with swords and sticks. Others thought it was going to be a peaceful day.

Some, like me, expected troubles, but we were hoping to at least try to polarize the Islamist protesters around different demands that their leaders had put forward. I suggested that Islamists would be welcomed at the gates, while distributing leaflets on the military tribunals, detainees, torture, retribution for the martyrs’ families, and social demands. There were calls by some to try to block the Islamists from entering. This was totally impossible even if you thought it was politically correct. It would have been a massacre.

As the countdown to Friday started, shuttle talks were taking place between protest leaders, representatives from leftist, liberal and secular groups with officials from the Islamist groups including the Gamaa Islamiya, Salafi Nour Party and last but not least, the Muslim Brotherhood. An agreement was announced yesterday whereby the Islamists vowed not to include the application of sharia on the list of their demands and not to attack or provoke any secular protesters. In exchange, the leftist and liberal groups agreed not to engage in the “Elections First” or “Constitution First” debate and promised not to chant against SCAF (liberals in general are not those who meant by the agreement, it was largely the leftists, since the liberals are cowing down everyday to SCAF). A statement was issued, with a list of demands agreed by all parties.

What happened since the night of Thursday was a complete disgrace. The Islamists have broken the agreement. They started showing up on Thursday evening setting up their stages, only to be followed later by sound systems blasting anti-secular, anti-leftist propaganda, calls for the application of sharia and pro-SCAF chants.

To be fair, some young Muslim Brotherhood organizers tried to intervene and control the situation, but they failed. The ones who mainly broke the agreement were the Salafis. Over hours and hours, till Friday 7pm, Tens of thousands of Islamists were chanting for Sharia, the Quran as a constitution, intimidated secular activists and non-veiled women. Continue reading