Protests continue in Egypt, defying the authorities who vow to clamp down fiercely on any signs of protest. Protests continued yesterday, 26 January, despite the continued block on Twitter and what appears to be an intermittent block on Facebook and a steeped up presence of security forces throughout Cairo, Suez and other parts of the country. A third protestor reportedly died in Suez and angry protestors gathered at the morgue demanding his body, as they claimed that the protestor had been shot by police.
Clearer evidence of police abuses beginning on the 25th have surfaced. The Guardian reporter in Cairo was present in downtown Cairo in the late night of the 25th when protestors set fire to a police vehicle – or perhaps it is more accurate to state that the vehicle became inflamed, as the reporter has not stated that he saw protestors actually lighting it. Plain clothed security forces surrounded him and the others, beat them and hauled them into a police vehicle. They were detained for hours, and driven to a security forces headquarters in the desert. They were abused and cursed at, one protestor fell into a coma in the security van. For a live audio of the event, click here.
Apparently, this is a common response from the police in the face of protestors. They are beaten and then sent to the desert, sometimes robbed of all of their possessions and left there. There were unconfirmed reports of other similar incidents during the later part of the day, on the 25th.
The government itself is confirming that 860 people have been ‘rounded up’ by police, with at least a couple of hundred being released as of last night (on the 26th). So detentions have been much more widespread than what I reported in the entry yesterday.
Protestors are vowing not to stop, while the regime is vowing to clamp down on all dissent. They are now calling for an even larger day of demonstrations on Friday, following Friday’s prayer.
Now that it is clear that protests will not let up Western governments are beginning to change their tone. From the normal, “We hope that both parties will show restraint,” to “We urge the Egyptian government to allow the Egyptian people to express their will fully.” The US government, who confirmed its faith that the Egyptian government is stable on the afternoon of the 25th and that Mubarak remains a close ally in the region the following day, later that same day (on Wednesday) made an ‘about face’ and began calling on the Mubarak regime to quickly implement reforms.
We cheer on Egyptian protestors throughout the country and we hope that Friday brings a million to continue the momentum that Tunisians have generated!