[Marxism] Anti-military protest attacked in Egypt

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jul 24 08:09:20 MDT 2011


Anti-SCAF (Army) March Attacked in Egypt

The planned 23 July march on the Supreme Council of Armed Forces 
headquarters in Heliopolis started from Tahrir sometime close to 5pm. 
The march was initially around five thousand strong, but soon swelled to 
more than 20,000 protesters. I am giving here the most conservative 
estimate; some friends think the numbers went up to 50,000. Where did 
those people come from? They were ordinary people in the streets or 
residents we passed through their neighborhoods. And it is important to 
remember this, and shove it in the face of those who claim protests and 
marches do not enjoy the support of the public any more.

The march left Tahrir via Abdel Moneim Riyadh Square, and continued down 
Emtidad Ramses Street, and into Ghamra. Protesters were chanting 
beautifully rhymed slogans against Field Marshal Tantawi, SCAF, and 
police torture. They were chanting for social justice, bread and civil 

As we approached Abbassiya, we started receiving news that the military 
police and the army special forces have blocked the road by the Nour 
Mosque withmachine gun-mounted armored vehicles and barbed wires. We 
also received news there were “thugs” preparing Molotov cocktails and 
swords awaiting us.

But as we entered Abbassiya and passed by the cathedral, no problems 
whatsoever had happened. On the contrary, residents were cheering us on 
from their windows, and some were throwing water bottles on the demand 
of thirsty protesters. It was a scene that reminded me of the Friday of 
Anger march, except we were heading to Tahrir on that day to topple 
Mubarak, while yesterday we were marching on the same route in the 
opposite direction, heading to overthrow Mubarak’s loyal generals, the SCAF.

The calm did not last for long. As soon as we reached the Nour Mosque, 
we found rows of army soldiers and officers, with the interior 
ministry’s Central Security Forces lined behind them. We stood our 
ground, demanding we pass. We were refused. Chants started immediately 
against Tantawi. The attack started. Young men carrying swords and 
knives flocked to our right, while others were stoning us from the side 
streets. Army soldiers kept firing their machine guns into the air, to 
be followed later by a chopper circulating over our heads. It was a war 
zone in every sense of the word.

The army has been inciting against our march already for days on the 
state-run channels, accusing the Tahrir protesters of being “thugs, 
foreign agents” bla bla bla. The army also, according to Abbassiya 
residents I spoke with, has been going around the neighborhood since the 
previous night, telling its residents that they “will be attacked by 
foreign paid thugs” the following day. Those “foreign paid thugs” were 
of course, us.

Those who attacked us yesterday included criminal thugs from the Waily 
district, but also some residents of Abbassiya who did buy the army’s 
lies. The army was already on the roof tops before our arrival, the same 
roof tops from which Molotov cocktails and rocks were showered at us.

The clashes went on for hours. We were besieged: the army and the police 
on one side, while the thugs blocking our way back to Tahrir. Scores 
were injured and detained. I personally carried one protester to the 
nearby hospital, and his left leg was dislocated completely, before my 
right leg was injured by some projectile or rock, I don’t know.

The army stood silent, watching the battle ground, hoping the thugs and 
the residents would finish us off, while the police was more than happy 
to join in by throwing rounds and rounds of tear gas. We managed to 
return to Tahrir in small groups via the neighboring hospital late at night.

Dear SCAF, you are a bunch of filthy cowards, who resort to lies and 
knife wielding thugs to attack peaceful protesters. You prove day after 
day you are nothing but Mubarak’s loyal generals, who have hijacked this 
revolution. I wish nothing short of seeing you and your big boss Tantawi 
in court soon, to pay for your crimes.

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