Egyptian Army Expels Protesters From Tahrir Square (VIDEO)

 

Just today, tanks entered Cairo’s Tahrir Square and started firing in the air, to clear the square — where a sit-in has been going on since July 8 to protest the slow pace of reform in Egypt — of the remaining activists. Egyptian state television showed footage of people taking down tents and at least a dozen tanks in the square; a few hundred people are said to remain in Tahrir. According to Al Jazeera, local shopkeepers said that the protesters were “interfering with their businesses”; when protesters reportedly refused to leave, the army and riot police moved in. Some protesters threw rocks and stones and suffered injuries and some were arrested.

This video shows the army moving into Tahrir Square.

More videos of the army crackdown on protesters in Tahrir can be seen at Arabawy.

The New York Times reports that plainclothes policemen tore down the tents with sticks and shredded the fabric. They also prevented people from taking photographs of the expulsion and took the cameras and cell phones of some who had taken pictures; activists are being prevented from reentering the square. In the Guardian, Jack Shenker reports about the violent retaking of Tahrir Square by Egypt’s military:

Some locals cheered as the sit-in was dispersed, highlighting a growing division over tactics at the heart of the protest movement. Around 30 of the political forces participating in the occupation had decided to suspend their involvement throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began on Monday. But several hundred hardcore demonstrators remained in Tahrir, including some relatives of those killed in the anti-government uprising earlier this year, vowing only to leave when Mubarak had faced justice.

“When normal people beat us in Abbasiya, that was painful,” wrote one activist on Twitter, referring to clashes last week which left dozens injured. “To hear that people are cheering [today] because the army beat martyrs’ families, that’s devastating.”

Local news outlet Al-Shorouk said that military personnel went on to destroy a series of recently-installed revolutionary artworks inside Sadat metro station, which lies underneath the square. The move is likely to further exacerbate tensions between revolutionaries and the supreme council of the armed forces (SCAF), which has been forced to defend itself in recent weeks against claims that it is not truly committed to democratic transition or the holding of former regime officials to account.

Al Jazeera reports that “there was a split when it came to protesters who wanted to stay and those who wanted to move out.” Members of the April 6th youth movement also said that the military also attacked the mosque where they were seeking shelter; protesters said they would return when the military was gone.

Protesters had said they would suspend the sit-in during the month of Ramadan, one of Islam’s most important holy days, which begins today and return afterwards.

According to the official Egyptian Middle East News Agency, “the square had been reopened to traffic”; no mention was made of the “security operation that preceded it,” comments the New York Times.

The trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, is to begin in just two days. While the trial was originally to be held at the Cairo convention center, it is now being moved to a police academy that is farther away from the center of Cairo, says the BBC; an auditorium at the police academy holds about 600 people. According to appeals court president Abdel Aziz Omar, Mubarak’s trial, which will be televised, was moved “because it is difficult to guarantee the protection of the other place.” The police academy was originally named after Mubarak, but the large concrete letters spelling his name have been torn down.

Mubarak faces charges of corruption and of ordering the military to fire on protesters during the 18 days of the uprising earlier this year. At least 850 were killed in the uprising. Mubarak has been held at the hospital in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh since April; there have been numerous conflicting reports about his health, including that he has not been eating and is suffering from depression. But the government says he is well enough to stand trial. Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, who has already been sentenced to twelve years for corruption, and six senior police officials will also be tried alongside Mubarak and his sons.

This video shows Tahrir Square after the army crack down on protesters on Monday.

Related Care2 Coverage

Islamists Fill Tahrir, Egypt’s Secular Activists Boycott Protest

Activists March Against Military, Fear Postponement of Mubarak’s Trial

“March of Millions” in Tahrir Protests Slow Pace of Reform

Photo of Tahrir Square on 29 July, Friday, by lilianwagdy

23 comments

Tom Y.
Tom Y.4 years ago

Looks like Egypt is going into the standard reversion: having sloughed off the previous dictator, they're finding the level of performance that enables the next one. There aren't enough citizens who've taken Gandhi's aphorism to heart: "You are the change you've been waiting for."

Malbosa, the term "Islamists" is used to distinguish that religion's militants from its less ardent observers. The hard-core helpfully distinguishes itself with stock phrases like "Americans like Pepsi-Cola, we like death!" or "Makbar Yisrael!" and want the World Caliphate to grind everybody else underfoot. The Iranian Revolution was certainly hijacked, but the original demonstrators were undoubtedly Muslim also -- perhaps not as grimly invested, though.

There are observing Muslims who don't want Shari'a Law, but they're not likely to resist the trend without strong encouragement. They need to value freedom of conscience, for themselves and for everybody -- or to leave, while we develop domestic sources of energy that deplete the coffers of their hardline countries of origin.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.4 years ago

They have to keep their protest peaceful or they will lose the fight for sure.

I don't trust the Generals, but I hope they do the right thing.

Conrad Borovski
Conrad Borovski4 years ago

When Robert Gates was still Secretary of Defense, he went to see the Army Chiefs in power now and took it upon himself to promise them the same military support they had received under Mubarak. It is natural that the Egyptian Army interpreted this a a seal of approval by the U.S. We have thus destroyed the Revolution's hope for democracy. Is all we can ever do is condone "military solutions" everywhere? Our media never even reported this, and also kept mum about the soldiers arresting and harassing female protesters buy demanding "virginity tests" from them calling those who refused "prostitutes"! We have already destroyed Iraq. What's left of Afghanistan? Won't we ever learn? Our Generals still claim that "we are winning" just as they did in Vietnam! Why must American soldiers still die for this extremely expensive idiocy that costs our taxpayers more than 700 billion dollars annually? We are broke! How long will the Bushmen continue to ruin our own country with their refusal to spend our money at home and bring our soldiers back alive and unharmed?

myra d.
myra d.4 years ago

Tears.

Nelson B.
Nelson Baker4 years ago

The Generals want to retain the power in Eqypt.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams4 years ago

This is awful.

Beth S.
Beth S.4 years ago

Those are very much words to the wise, Mabolsa.

What else I find troubling about the Iranian revolution is that once Khomeini was installed, some 1,000 of the Leftists who supported the revolution were taken into a stadium and summarily executed by the Iranian regime (which was not a very nice way to show appreciation to the Leftists).

Today’s Leftists seem to be headed (or beheaded) in the same direction as their unfortunate forebears who believed that Islam was actually an ally of the Left.

Beth S.
Beth S.4 years ago

Those are very much words to the wise, Mabolsa.

What else I find troubling about the Iranian revolution is that once Khomeini was installed, some 1,000 of the Leftists who supported the revolution were taken into a stadium and summarily executed by the Iranian regime (which was not a very nice way to show appreciation to the Leftists).

Today’s Leftists seem to be headed (or beheaded) in the same direction as their unfortunate forebears who believed that Islam was actually an ally of the Left.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.4 years ago

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/make-philip-davies-apologize-for-insensitive-remarks-about-the-less-fortunate/

Mabolsa Ritchie
Gerry Moran4 years ago

Great Information Beth.

This is much like the iranian revolution in 1978. It wasn't an islamic revolution, though it is usually described as such. It was a people's revolution which was hijacked by muslims (why do people insist on calling them islamists?) and the ruthless, murdering ways of islam took over. Once in power, the executions started and thousands were slaughtered. This has continued till today - oppression, torture, disappearances - basically the day to day running of a society under the rule of islam.

This is something westerners should think about - those, that is, who have not yet 'caught on'. Whenever you allow islam a chance, like by allowing their numbers to build up unchecked in western countries and granting them religious freedom, the right to practise sharia law etc, you will eventually run into trouble. European countries, particularly France, are beginning to find this out now. If this PC nonsense continues, we too will have our countries turned into barbaric islamic states with all that this entails.

This is not what we had in mind. It's time people got educated about how evil islam is and what is going on around the globe. We need to stand against our PC politicians and tell them that enough is enough.