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On n‘oublie rien…

Tahrir Square, December 17, 2011

Am 17. Dezember um 19.30 Uhr schickt Pierre Soufi, berühmter Künstler, Kunstprofessor und mit seiner immer offenen Dachgeschosswohnung über dem Tahrir einer der nachhaltigsten Unterstützer der Revolution, den Link zu einem Lied von Jaques Brel über Twitter: „Playing now: On n‘oublie rien, on ne que s‘habitue…“

Das Lied zum Ende der Revolution?

Während Jaques Brel über das Nicht-Vergessen-Können singt, darüber, dass man sich nur gewöhne an den Schmerz, zerschlagen Soldaten 9 Stockwerke unter Soufis Appartement die Reste der Bewegung, die vor 10 Monaten den Präsidenten Mubarak stürzte und damit das Militär, das bisher nur im Hintergrund herrschte, an die Macht brachte. Damals, als die Demonstrant_innen Soldaten küssten, ihnen Rosen reichten und ihre Neugeborenen, hätte wohl kaum jemand erwartet, so bald die Bilder zu sehen, die jetzt durchs Netz gehen, Bilder von einer solchen Brutalität, Arroganz, Zerstörungswut, dass selbst die, die bisher noch immer, in blinder Hoffnung, vielleicht auch größter Naivität und Einfalt, immer noch das Militär verteidigt hatten, ihm zumindest eine Chance geben wollten, sprechen offen von einem „Militärputsch“ bzw. dessen endgültiger Manifestation.


UPDATE Elections start in november

Finally: On Tuesday, the 27th, the military leadership announced the dates for the upcoming elections: Candidates can register from the 12 of october on. The parlament will be elected in three rounds.
- The people assembly (lower house) will be elected on 28th of november, 14th of december and 3rd of january, each round the voting takes place in different districts (Cairo p.e. the 28th of november).
- For the Shura (upper house) the elections will start on 29th of january.
In march both houses should have their first assembly.

At the same time there were some information that the presidential elections, said to be held shorty after the parlamentary ones, will be postponed to end of 2012 or 2013.

On Sunday, just two days before announcing the dates, the government, backed by the military, confirmed again a change to the election law. The new law amendments are criticized widely by politicians, parties and activists. One third of the seats will now be given to „independent“ candidates in a single-winner system (the winner of a election district will take all the votes and get to seats, all other votes are lost) while the rest will be elected through a list-based system. Questions were rised who these „independent“ candidates will be and fears that these seats might be given through corruption or to candidates loyal to the old regime (that always used the singe-winner system) or the ruling military. The government changed the election law several times in the last month, still many facts about how the elections will be organized or controlled remain unclear. The military council announced before it will not allow any international observers. Further concerns are rised due to the fact that the emergency law is in full power again since three weeks – how can there be free elections or a free election campaign while every discussion of the politics of the ruling military council can be punished, demonstrations have to be allowed and everybody can be arrested without any reason?

Update (4. Okt.)
After a meeting of 13 party-leaders on Saturday the SCAF decided to take the changes back (articel in the taz in german about the changes), all seats of the parliament will be given by party-lists. The parties now will therefor not boycott the elections. The deal the parties signed with the SCAF was nontheless critizied for ignoring same important demands: the ending of the emergency law for example. Protests came also from other side: As the government announced and confirmed today that some former members of Mubaraks party NDP are not allowed to take part in the elections, members of the 10 parties that evolved from the former NDP threatened with protests, blocking of roads and cuts in electricity. The announced a march with 15 million people on Tahrir – in favor of the old regime. Counter-revolution II?

UPDATE Violence and no end

One day after brutally clearing the square of protesters, the army attackes again – on the eve the first day of the process against ex-president Hosni Mubarak. A small number of protesters gathered in the early evening at Tahrir Square, about 100 – 200. They were chanting slogans against the military and the eviction of the square. Thousands of soldiers and officers of riot-police CSF still were present at the square to secure nobody is blocking traffic or trying to enter the inner circle. The didn‘t wait for long: Around 9pm, the attacked the protesters violently. And not only them: The started arresting and beating everybody around, people started running trough the streets to get away from the square, police and military following them, randomly arresting people in streets and cafe-shops.

Read the tweeps to get an impression of the situation in downtown:

    I saw more pp arrested by #csf in talaat Harb and Hundreds n hundreds of csf are all over the street !“ #tahrir

    Seriously, the Military Police and CSF have gone completely mental #Tahrir

    Peet4Peter Peter Habib
    #Tahrir is like a cemetry

    Bystanders also beaten by SCAF. Indiscriminate violence now in #Tahrir from armed men in uniform against everyone not in a car

    Don‘t you ever get near down town!! they‘re arresting EVERYONE! #tahrir“

    nazlyhussein نازلي حسين
    “@HebaGhannam: Military police is shouting at shop owners in tal3at Harb ordering them 2 close their shops ! #tahrir”

    sara wansa was beaten by the thugs on her stomach (punching) , Ali shreim almost lost his eye, and ghassan makarem needs an urgent surgery

    Psypherize Ahmad H. Aggour
    #Egypt: The #SCAF cannot stay in power, they have to go. #Tahrir #Jan25

At 11pm news about 400 arrested people on Tahrir, number is not confirmed yet. Instead of protesters hundreds of policemen and soldiers now are sitting (and sleeping) on Tahrir Square, provoking joke in the internet: „Photo showing MP & CSF having a sit-in in #Tahrir!! DUDE WHERE IS MY PRODUCTION WHEEL??!??“

Update (aug6)
Protesters going on making fun about hundereds of soldiers „protesting“ on Tahrir Square („why don‘t they put posters with their demands?“ „for the 4th day army and police doing sit-in in the square, harming the economy and tourism in our country“), but in reality the situation is not fun at all. It’s calm in downtown now, no soldiers or CSF in the streets. The square itself looks still a bit like a war-zone, tanks and armed soldiers protecting all entrances, long lines of Csf-Trucks in the streets around. There tasks seems to be to prevent any gathering in the square. Still every day different groups of people try to get there: Yesterday there was the funeral of a guy injured the 23rd in the march of Abbasiya, he died some days ago. Military prevented the people coming out of the mosque to go to the square. Yesterday evening a few hundred gathered for the iftar beside tahrir square – and got attacked by military police who hit and injured many of them as can be seen in the following video:

Army cleared the square!!!

At 3 pm several tanks entered the streets around Tahrir, a few minutes later the went in, thousands of soldiers attacked the remaining camps in the centre of the square and beside the Mogamma, supported by the riot police CSF. With them were a lot of people in civil clothes, maybe thugs but more probably police in civil clothes. They pulled down all the tents, beat people badly, arrested many – more information will be out soon.

After half an hour the soldiers opened the square for the traffic. Passing cars were cheering at them, the owners of the shops nearbywho already tried to open one gate of the square yesterday were shouting „people and army – one hand“.

Al-Jazeera was fast in arriving and broadcasted the attack live, kikhote took a good video from a building beside the square, now there also videos been uploaded from ppl who have been on the square during the attack.

Updates below the videos!

Update (11pm): SCAF speaks of 111 arrested „thugs“. Lawyers have contact with the arrested protesters, they have been beaten up badly, are now at C28 with military police. Even though many of them had been fasting the whole day they didn‘t get even water, when they finally got some it was very dirty. Lawyers and supporters now try to find out where they exactly are.

Update (aug2, 1:40am): Small march against SCAF and clearing of the square right now on Tahrir square. Watch live here. About 200 protesters now surrounded by more than 1000 soldiers and riot police CSF, chanting, clapping. Circle getting closer. Everybody who tries to go out is being arrested.

Update (aug2, 8pm): A video taken by a photographer arrested from inside a tank – showing how military and new old security police (now called „Amn el-Watani instead of Amn el-Dawla) deal with the arrested…

MORE July23: Attack of Abbasiya

Saturday afternoon a huge march against military rule started from Tahrir Square, Cairo, and went to Abbasiya in Heliopolis, the part of Cairo where most of the military institutions are located, including the headquarter of the military council (SCAF) and the ministry of defense. July 23 is the day of celebration of the 1952 Revolution when President Nasser and the Armed Forces came to power.

In Abbasiya, at 7pm, the march was suddenly stopped by military police with barbed wire.

Army barricades

At the same moment people surrounding the protesters started from one moment to the other throwing stones and attacking them with knives and molotov coctails. The army apparently surrounded the protesters so they had no chance to leave. Many of them tried to find shelter in a mosquee nearby, apparently the riot police CSF fired teargas at them. Others report there was only a small sidestreet left to get out, thugs were gathering in the streets waiting to catch protesters who tried to get out and beat them up. It seemed that they were also waiting around the two metro stations nearby to catch protesters who tried to get back to the square.

Very good video from Al-Masr Al-Youm and second one from OnTV:

After 9pm the situation calmed down. When ppl gathered again and shouted against the army, the military police fired tear gas. Around 10pm most ppl left.
Warnings: In Abbasiya thugs everywhere in side streets, try to arrest everybody who looks like a protester. Blogger @nazlyhussein is watching how the thugs were supervised by an army officer – he pointed at certain protesters and they went to catch them.

People trying to get back to Tahrir. Situation there seems to be calm.

BBC reports about 150 injured. The ministry of health said 25 person are in the hospital, 120 had to be treated on the scene – it can be expected the number will be higher in some hours.

Update (1:40 am): The health ministry now speaks of 269 injured. Reports of 2 dead, not confirmed. Protesters on Tahrir tell that a lot of injured people arrive there, some severely injured, they were afraid to go to hospitals or doctors and will be treated on the square. According to lawyer many people were arrested.

UPDATE June 29th: Videos & Pics

A collection of videos and pics showing what happened the night to Wednesday, June 29th, in Cairo:

The beginning

In the evening of May 28th, families of martyrs of the revolution, mostly from poor areas around Cairo, were denied access to a formal celebration of the martyrs in the Balloon theatre in Cairo. The families had camped the days before in Maspiro in the centre of Cairo to protest after the trial against ex-minister of interiour Habib el-Adly had been postponed again. Some relatives of martyrs tried to enter the theatre, they are attacked by security forces as the videos show:

video: @elbadeil

video: @gsquare

The night

video: @Mzahaby, more videos on Youtube. There is a short video and a photo gallery on the site of the Guardian.

A good short Video of TheDailyNewsEgypt:

The video below from newspaper AlAhram from one side of the square showing people preparing rocks, others faiting from the teargas and CS gas:

There are also a lot of good photos of the night, for example the ones of lilianwagdy. or the beautiful black-and-white pictures of 3arabawy.

The morning

The battle contineud till Wednesday around noon when to police withdraw from all downtown area. The videos below show the situation Wednesday moring between Tahrir Square and the ministry of interiour nearby:

video: @hoquookeg

both videos: @mafotoh

Update (July 2d): There are several reports of people who died in the night to Wednesday, one of a 14-year-old guy who got a gas-canister shot on his head, to be seen in the video below:

UPDATE Egypt & the IWF

- One packet of cigarettes, Dunnhill, the red ones.
- 12 Pounds.
- What? Last week they were ten.
- I‘m not joking! Just read the newspapers!…

No money from the IMF: On Saturday, Finance-minister Samir Radwan announced that Egypt would NOT take a loan from the International Monetary Found (IMF). This was quite a surprise: the government was in negotiations with the IMF and the deal over a 4,5-billion-Dollar loan was almost perfect. The IMF offered it to Egypt in accordance with some decisions taken by european and north-american governments and international organizations like the G8 to ‚better conditions‘ than usual to support the country after the revolution.

However, wide parts of the Egyptian society were highly concerned about taking the loan: Many activists are critical against the IMF and its history of influencing the politics of southern countries according to neoliberal ideology and the interests of transnational companies. Mubarak’s regime used to work close with the IMF, transforming the national economy according to neoliberal rules: he privatised wide parts of the education and the health sectors, cut the wages, the gap between rich and poor increased. The IMF in Egypt is not only seen as an imperialist instrument but also strongly connected to the regime protesters removed with the revolution. Additionally, the last weeks, many liberal politicians and lawyers raised concerns about such a deal that would affect the country for decades could be taken by a not-elected, transitional governent.

The decision to refuse the IMF-loan was according to AFP partly a response to the „pressure of public opinion“. The government revised the budget plans, the deficit for 2011/12 in the first forecast was at 11 percent of gross domestic product, now it was revised to 8.6 percent due to some changes in plans on spending. „So we don‘t need to go to this bank now“, said Radwan.

Instead, Egypt got money from some other Arabian countries: Quatar and Saudi-Arabia offered Egypt each 500 Million US-Dollar. Some of the changes in the budget plan already affect the daily life in Egypt: This week the tax on cigarettes was raised from 40 to 50 Percent, the prices of the packet increased in 10 Percent…

Update (July 7th): The IWF is still ready to „help“ Egypt, Ratna Sahay, the Fund’s deputy Middle East director, said on Friday. And she rejected accusations, that the plan the IWF had offered to Egypt contained secret conditions to force to privatizations and to end subsidies. Who‘d have expected something like this!…

Square in Barcelona attacked!

Deutsch unten / German below

The squares that seemed so far away from each other and each others problems are getting closer.
While peaceful atmosphere in Tahrir Square in Cairo, extreme heat and still fear of attacks of thugs, one hour ago the news spread that the Square in Barcelona has been attacked and cleared violently by riot police, as also shown in this video. At least 15 injured by sticks and rubber bullets, all media turned of, tents, computers and all stuff confiscated.

A lot of solidarity from Cairo, an messages back from Catalunia: Thanks a lot, we are following what’s going on in your square today…

Die Plätze die so weit voneineinander entfernt schienen, was ihre Probleme und Sorgen angeht, kommen sich näher.
Friedliche Atmosphäre zum Mittagsgebet in Kairo, extreme Hitze und noch immer die Furcht vor Angriffen von baltagiyyas – und dann, vor einer Stunde, die Nachrichte, dass der besetzte Platz in Barcelona von Riot Police gewaltsam geräumt wurde, wie in diesem video zu sehen. Mindestens 15 Verletzte durch Schlagstöcke und Gummigeschosse, alle Übertragungen in Internet abgebrochen, Zelte, Computer und alle sonstige Habe beschlagnahmt.

Viel Solidarität aus Kairo! Und Nachrichten zurück aus Katalonien: Vielen Dank, wir verfolgen was bei Euch geschieht…

picture: tppp/twitpic, riot cops in barcelona

Update1 (1am, may 28): Repeated messages on Twitter about one of the protesters in Barcelona severely injured, has been operated, now waiting for news – more good videos showing the brutality of the police here / Nachricht über Twitter, dass einer der Protestierenden in Barcelona von der Polizei schwer verletzt wurde, er wurde operiert, Warten auf Nachrichten wie es ihm geht – hier noch mehr gute Videos die das brutale Vorgehen der Polizei zeigen

Update2: Great video of people taking back the square and throwing police out!