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Egypt: Scenes from Monday's Crackdown on Tahrir Square

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

Tahrir square in Cairo cleared by army on 1 August, 2011

The army suspended the sit-in by force on 1 Aug 2011. Photo by Maggie Osama on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA)

The Muslim holy month Ramadan didn't begin well for Egyptians on Tahrir square in Cairo protesting for the numerous still unmet demands of the revolution.

On Monday, 1 August 2011, the army evacuated them with an iron fist, leaving many injured and more than one hundred detained. The day before, more than thirty organizations announced they would suspend sit-ins that gained full force around 8 July for Ramadan and return after the holidays.

Meanwhile, several martyr's families and independent activists refused to leave. The consequences? The army intervened to remove the tents by force, which led to confrontations. On Tuesday night, the only people remaining in the square are Central Security Forces who broke fast there for Iftar.

Eye-witness scenes

On YouTube Kikhote shared this video of clashes on Monday:

AhHossam has this video of the attack:

Egyptian blogger and Global Voices author Lilian Wagdy, was in Tahrir during the crackdown, and wrote on her Tumblr blog what she witnessed [ar]:

شفت العميد اللي اسمه ممدوح عباس اللي رشا عزب قالت انها شافته وهو في المتحف العسكري بيعذب الثوار في مارس واللي انا بشكل شخصي شفته بعد كدة في ماسبيرو والعباسية.. لما شفته قلبي انقبض وحسيت ان الاعتصام هيتفض بالقوة .. المهم سمعت ناس بتهتف من ورا الجيش .. الشعب يريد اخلاء الميدان.. رحت ناحية الرصيف وتجاوزت الصف بتاع الشرطة العسكرية .. لقيت امن مركزي هناك كتير.. وانا بصورهم فجأة سمعت صوت قوي بيهتف صاعقة والجيش والامن بيجروا على الميدان.. جريت وراهم وانا بصور فيديو.. دخلوا الميدان.. اقتحموا الصينية ومعاهم مجموعة من المواطنين بيهتفولهم رجالة والله أكبر كسروا كل حاجة وهدوا الخيم.. وأنا بصور لقيت ضابط جيش بيشدني من إيدي وبيحاول يخطف مني الموبايل وهو بيزعق مفيش تصوير.. قلتله سيب إيدي مش هصور.. قاللي اطلعي برة الميدان.. بعدت طبعا عنه ورحت راجعة ناحية هارديز.. حاولت اصور تاني بس الجو كان متوتر جداً .. وانا خارجة من ناحية شارع محمد محمود كان فيه صف من المواطنين الشرفاء واقفين سادين مدخل الشارع وبيهتفوا الله أكبر أيوة كدة طهروا الميدان من الصيع .. صرخت فيهم وقلتلهم اسكتوا حرام عليكوا فيه أهالي شهدا جوا.. جه الرد في صورة حدف طوب وشتيمة من عينة امشي يا كلبة يا بنت الكلب يا حيوانة يا بنت الوسخة.. خربتي البلد إنتي واللي زيك..
I saw the general whose name is Mahmoud Abbas, the one Rasha Azab said she's seen in the military museum torturing revolutionaries in March, and that I have personally also seen later on in Maspiro and Abbasseya. When I saw him, I felt heavy-hearted and that the sit-in was going to be disbanded by force. In short, I heard people chanting behind the army, “The people want to evacuate the square.” I headed for the sidewalk and went past the military police. I found lots of Central Security Foces there… While photographing them, I suddenly heard a loud voice, shouting “BOLT!” and both army and security forces began running towards the square… I followed them while filming… they entered the square, invaded its center, along with a bunch of people hailing them. I swear to God they broke everything, and they broke up the tents… While I was filming, an officer began to drag me by the hand and tried to seize my mobile, while yelling: “No photography allowed…” I told him: “Let go of my hand! … I wont…” He ordered: “Get out of here!”…. I left, of course, and went back towards Hardee's… tried to use my camera again, but the atmosphere was too tense… While exiting Mohammed Mahmood street there was a row of righteous people blocking the entrance to the street, chanting: “Allah Akbar! Yes clean the square of thugs!” I shouted at them and said “Shut up, haram! There are martyrs’ families in there!” … The response came in the form of thrown bricks and insulting name-calling, such as “Leave, you dog… you daughter of a dog … you animal … you daughter of bi#ch” … “It's you and your kind, who ruined the country.”

Lilian's videos from the day can be seen here and here.

Egyptian blogger Hossam Hamalawy, also known as 3arabawy, has posted several videos from the crackdown as well.

On Twitter, there were numerous first hand accounts. Photographer and activist Jonathan Rashad was also in Tahrir when the army assaulted protesters. He tweeted:

@JonathanRashad: The army along with CSF are arresting many people here. They beat them up to death. #Tahrir #Egypt

Many more twitter reactions are collected by Asteris Masouras in Greece on Storify and can be found here.

As for photos, you can view those taken by Nora Shalaby and Maggie Osama uploaded on Flickr.

The Front to Defend Egypt Protestors established a list of all detained persons [ar] on their blog, and there are also telephone hotlines for those who seek legal assistance (012 -062 – 4003) or medical assistance (017- 990- 1081).

Many activists are now urging for caution, including Gamal Eid, a lawyer and executive director of The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. On Monday, he tweeted:

@gamaleid
يا جماعة رجاء من اي ناشط موجود في الميدان او بجواره ، حافظ على نفسك وبلاش تشد مع الجيش ، وجودك بره أهم
Folks!!! Please any activist present in the square or close to it, stay safe and do not clash with the army. Your presence outside (jail) is more important.

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

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