Egypt, Day Ten: "Complete Anarchy"

by Patrick Appel

From AJE's live-blog, what they say is "a police vehicle running over a group of protesters":

From earlier in the live-blog:

Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters continue to defy the curfew in Alexandri and are calling for Mubarak to step down. People are chanting: "Erhal, Erha" ("Leave, Leave"). There are a mixture of people, men, woman old and young in the crowd.

The Guardian passes along the words of a "British man, Simon Hardy" who "called in to relay his experiences in Tahrir Square this afternoon":

In the last few minutes some snipers on top of the Hilton roof opened fire, maybe seven or eight gunshots. The protesters are saying two people have been killed, one shot in the head and one in the neck.

There are growing numbers of pro-government protesters on Ramses Street and behind the barricades on our side, still thousands of people in the square.

People are saying: "Is there going to be another attack tonight?" Anti-government protesters are saying that if they survive tonight, the demonstration tomorrow will be massive. They are calling it departure day, the day Mubarak will be kicked out of office. Everything hinges on the next 24 hours.


Journalists in Egypt have come under increased attack in what appears to be a coordinated campaign by government security forces. At least ten have been detained, including three Al Jazeera journalists seized by secret police and two New York Times stringers arrested, and more attacked. "The crews have never been as scared as they are now," Al Arabiya news director tellsthe New York Times. Al Arabiya now reports that government forces are scouring hotels often used by the media for journalists.


The BBC's Jim Muir in central Cairo says he's in middle of pitched battle on the northern side of Tahrir Square. He says the anti-government protesters are pushing forward - lobbing stones and rock. They've moved out well beyond the perimeter of the square. Says it's a scene of complete anarchy.


In a video report filed late Wednesday, members of Egypt's security police were filmed taking a BBC correspondent, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, and his crew into custody just minutes after they had left the home of a Mubarak adviser, Maged Botros. Mr. Wingfield-Hayes said that the BBC team was blindfolded and detained for several hours before being released. Adding to the impression that the crew's arrest was orchestrated by the government was the fact that, just before they were stopped by the police, as they left the Mubarak adviser's home, the had been surrounded by regime supporters decrying their coverage of the protests.


The government of Algeria has announced that the 19-year long state of emergency in the country will be lifted in the future. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika - who's ruled the country for almost two decades - announced that protests will be allowed, but not in the capital Algiers. Algerians have planned anti-government and pro-reform protests for the week after next and this move by the government are being hailed as a measure to try and stifle some of the support for those protests. 


The events in Tahrir Square and elsewhere strongly suggest government involvement in violence against peaceful protesters.

The army, which had been controlling access to Tahrir Square very tightly, with tanks at all the main entrances to the square, checking identification cards and searching bags, allowed pro-Mubarak protesters into the square, including men riding horses and camels and brandishing whips. Soldiers mostly stood by and did not act to protect peaceful demonstrators or try to stop the attacks on them. The Egyptian Health Ministry said three people were killed in the violence and more than 600 injured.

It boggles the imagination that armed pro-Mubarak demonstrators on camels and horseback could have assembled themselves and passed through army checkpoints without government complicity and coordination.