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Egypt: Summing up the Second Wave of Protests So Far

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

Thursday 24 November, 2011, and Egypt’s latest stage of unrest has now merged into Day six: it’s 4.33 am in capital Cairo. Supposedly Tahrir Square, Egypt, is under a truce for the night. But every ceasefire called in Tahrir over the past five days has been followed by a “Ha! Gotcha!” crackdown from police and Central Security Forces (CSF).

@mfatta7: The police violated the ceasefire in Mohamed Mahmoud. The youth will not back down now until squash the interior ministry.

The sullied white flag falls and a new volley of gas is blasted at the crowds of protesters occupying the various streets leading into the square – Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Tahrir Square itself.

This video, uploaded to YouTube by user  on 23 November, 2011, shows a ceasefire attempt between the Ministry of Interior and protestors:

In Alexandria, the unrest has been limited to marches between Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque and the suburb of Smouha, where the Security Directorate (Modereyet elAmn) is located. But despite the reportedly localised nature of the violence, at least one innocent passerby has been shot dead in the crossfire.

@RawyaRageh: Family telling us Sherif wasn't part of protest, & was just walking thru w his family when bullet hit his neck #Alexandria #Egypt #Smouha

At this point in time, the death toll in Egypt is allegedly just shy of 40 according to the Health Ministry as reported here, although this doesn’t seem to take into account the two deaths that occurred in Ismailia late on Wednesday night. Judging by Twitter reports from journalists on the ground in Alexandria and other cities, it is safe to assume that this death count is inaccurate. It’s certainly a number on the rise.

(List of Cairo’s fallen alone, as of Wednesday morning here. Numbers have most likely changed by now).

Ismailia’s non-violent protests reportedly came to a head close to midnight on Wednesday 23 November, according to this emotional call [ar] to Al Jazeera reporting at least one death from the field hospital.

Protestors on the scene also confirmed the death:

@MostafaAmin84: A 15 years old boy died in #Ismailia after security forces and army attacks on Al Mamar square

However, one man from Ismailia filmed himself driving throughout the city to prove that reports of clashes are merely hyped up rumours. All seems calm according to his footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hRfHkOf-ec

Video uploaded to YouTube by user  on 23 November.

Meanwhile, news of clashes in Tahrir throughout the night kept flowing, as CSF and police reportedly continued their attack-and-retreat dance with Egyptian protestors, blasting them with tear gas and other chemical gases that are as yet unidentifiable. The one thing that’s clear, is the unanimous reportage of the gases' disturbing effects on the protestors.

But it’s not all bloodshed and mindless violence. The youth are responding to continuous state television media propaganda claims that imply they are aimless wastrels keen on aiding “foreign hands” in destroying the country, by putting together a list of their demands.

Actor Khaled Abol Naga, acknowledged to have been active in his opposition to the former regime during the revolution earlier this year, collected these points on his blog under a post titled, ‘From now on, our demands must be commands‘ [ar].

Although today makes it a total of five days of consecutive, sustained violence in Egypt, people are going about their daily lives as normal outside of Tahrir and the other protest hotspots of Egypt.

In fact, there are a great number of people furious at the protestors for disrupting the peace so close to the parliamentary elections set for 28 November.

The financial argument is another one that comes up consistently. People are fed up with poverty and the effect that protests are having on the stock market as well as their ability to work or find work.

@Sandra_Rizk: @mosaaberizing I have work to do I can't keep up with destroying Egypt and leave my job and work.. Excuse me for that.

Moreover, the same pertinent question arises – if the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) does in fact step down, who will lead the country?

@Sandra_Rizk: @mosaaberizing don't you want the army to leave? Why would they show up and help you! I don't get what you are doing to our country!

And finally, the one question that has caused people following the news out of Egypt much bewilderment: why now? Why did the people not wait for the elections, taking place in less than a week?

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

A longer version of this post was originally published on Thursday 24 November, 2011, on Miran Hosny's blog.

Thumbnail and featured image shows mass rally in Tahrir square, Cairo, Egypt, by Nameer Galal, copyright Demotix (25/11/11).

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