Patrolling The Streets

by Patrick Appel

From The Guardian's live-blog:

Al Jazeera reports that in one of the larger districts of Alexandria water has been cut off. There are also reports of clashes between citizens and "thugs" but that the situation is too dangerous for journalists to investigate. There is an absolute absence of police and military, and citizens are at the forefront of efforts to avoid a complete breakdown of order, their reporter says.

Peter Bouckaert of HRW has more:

We hear men armed with knives are looting empty homes in Bokkla. Locals are forming neighborhood committees to protect their homes. We were talking to the army when one group asked for help but the soldiers said they were overstretched and couldn't do anything today. Later we heard the army has asked people to coordinate the Popular Committee for Protection of Property and said reinforcements are coming tomorrow. 

EA gets a report from someone on the ground:

I just called my friend in Nasr City. He is standing outside now with other flat occupants with guns and sticks and knives.  He said all his friends in other areas have had to do this.  People are having to protect themselves.  He said I don't care what they take-my TV, computer...everything...but not my life.  I need to defend myself!' Right now outside my friends' house in Heliopolis, the flat owners (men) have gone downstairs with sticks and knives and guns! A truck of thugs slowly approached and the men ran at the truck.  The truck then drove off! People are defending themselves! It has run riot and till now the army are where??

(Photo: Egyptian civilians carrying batons and sticks they stand guard in a Cairo street to protect their properties from looters in Cairo on January 29, 2011. By Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)