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Protests Fill Tahrir Square, Again
By Ann Wright
It’s midnight Monday in the Middle East. The streets of Cairo are hopping. Egyptians are angry with the lack of change and the heavy handiness of the Egyptian military and police. I just arrived in Gaza after being in Cairo yesterday.
People Calm until Police Arrived at Tahrir Square
Last night after I finally got out of the Cairo airport after 5 hours of being detained upon my arrival, at least 32 had already been killed by the military around Tahrir Square with hundreds wounded. Tonight more have died as the police fired on protesters.
Detained at Cairo Airport as a Security Risk
I was trying to transit Egypt to go to Gaza with a delegation of Arab, Asian, European and Latin American parliamentarians. Egyptian immigration authorities told me that I was on a “security risk list” and they needed the approval of the US government before letting me in!!
Tahrir Square Calm until Police Arrived Firing Tear Gas and Bullets
One member of our delegation who went to Tahrir Square late Sunday afternoon, said that the people on the square were peaceful, when riot police suddenly arrived and went on a rampage, tearing up tents, burning motorcycles, firing tear gas and shooting people. Then almost as suddenly as they appeared, the police disappeared and the Square filled again with citizens. Throughout the night, the people peacefully occupied the square.
More wounded and killed on Monday around Tahrir
As we drove this morning (Monday) from Cairo to the Gaza border, police had reentered Tahrir Square and the streets surrounding it, and hundreds more had been hurt and several had been killed.
Two police allegedly killed in the Sinai by Bedouins-big military and police presence
The drive from Cairo to Gaza City took almost 12 hours. Because two police were killed reported by Bedouins in the Sinai yesterday, the drive across the Sinai to Rafah border crossing today was filled with more checkpoints than normal and a large number of Army tanks positioned at every major intersection.
Egypt’s Interim Cabinet Resigns
Tonight, local TV overage and social media sites have shown gratuitous, vicious police violence toward civilians. Television news programs are reporting that police and military have used a huge amount of American made tear gas on the protesters, tear gas that was provided to the Egyptian government after the January protests that resulted in President Mubarak’s resignation.
Tonight Egypt’s interim cabinet resigned and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces asked the Ministry of Justice to conduct an investigation of the violence.
Call on Obama to Plea that Police and Military not hurt or kill Protesters
At this point, President Obama has not made a statement on the latest protests in Egypt. He and his administration were very slow to acknowledge that the youth of Egypt in the protests at Tahrir Square were changing the political landscape of the Middle East and the World.
With American tear-gas used on protesters in the United States and in Egypt as they challenge their governments, Obama should quickly and strongly suggest that Egyptian (and American) police stop beating up and killing protesters!
About the Author: Ann Wright is a retired US Army Reserve Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She was in Gaza 3 times in 2009 and participated in the Gaza Freedom March, the 2010 and 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotillas.