Egypt: The Battle of Tahrir Rages

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Mayhem broke out at Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the Egyptian revolution, last night and spilled into today. Various accounts are circulating online on what really happened and how events escalated, all involving the families of the martyrs killed during the protests – and their call for justice, protesters, thugs and battles with the police. Reports speak of police firing tear gas at protesters, and protesters (or thugs) responding with stones and Molotov cocktails – not necessarily in this order.

Egyptian activists were quick to tweet and blog their observations, documenting what was happening around them through hundreds of 140 character messages (tweets), photographs and videos being shared as I type, and casualties are mounting.

Human rights activist Ramy Raoof shares an announcement on the number of injuries from the clashes so far:

@RamyRaoof: Ministry of Health announced number of injuries from the clashes in #Tahrir Squre are 1036 so far. #Egypt

In an earlier tweet from last night, he notes:

@RamyRaoof: just to be clear and clarify- i haven't seen any “thugs” here in Tahrir Square. Its simply people against central security forces and police

Sally Sami clarifies:

@Salamander: those they call thugs are the families of martyrs and activists who have defended the #jan25 revolution. have some dignity defend it #tahrir

In a blog post entitled ‘June 28: The Second Coming of Rage’, activist Gigi Ibrahim blogs her observations on what happened last night here. Al Jazeera correspondent Dima Khatib also shares her experiences on the night's events in a blog post here, and Amira Altahawi writes her account here [ar].

Gigi blogs:

I threw rocks for the first time from the front of the line. I was not afraid. I was ready to die because freedom is not without blood. I got soficated with tear gas like many others including @alaa @Lobna @salmasaid . I left Tahrir to upload the footage that I have and the pictures that I took before my phone, camera, laptop, and flip all batteries went dead. You will find my videos from the night here soon.

Mohamed El Dahshan, who tweets as TravellerW, shares a photo of a man breaking the sidewalk to gather stones to pelt the police:


@TravellerW: Man breaking the sidewalk with his bare hands to make ammunition. Incredible. #Tahrir #Jun28

Egyptian man picking rocks from the sidewalk

Egyptian man picking rocks from the sidewalk

And Mahmoud Salem, who tweets and blogs as Sandmonkey, states:

@Sandmonkey: In case u don't understand what's going on: Not a single policeman got imprisoned or fairly tried for killing #jan25 protesters.

He explains:

@Sandmonkey: The issue is justice. We need a justice mechanism that works. If this exists everything else will calm down.

He cautions:

@Sandmonkey: Being emotionally reactive is predictable & makes us susceptible 2 manipulation & can turn people off. Stoic cold logical thinking is needed

Sarah El Sirgany shares theories on what happened saying:

@Ssirgany: Many conflicting stories/theories about how things started, why they escalated & why they continue in Tahrir. #jun28 (1/2)

She continues:

@Ssirgany: But one main factor is frustration with slow pace of trials & accused policemen on trial released. #jun28 (2/2)

On his blog, Hossam El Hamalawy shares this video, which shows some of the action from last night.

And Lilian Wagdy shares this video from today:

She tweets:

@lilianwagdy: Video of the battle of #Tahrir square this after noon #Jun28

Raoof also shares a link for live stream videos from clashes between the police and video here.

For more reactions, check the hash tags #Tahrir and #Jun28

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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