Egypt protests enter third week

2011-02-08 09:25

Egypt’s anti-regime protests entered their third week today with thousands of demonstrators still camped out in Cairo’s main square demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

They passed a cold night under blankets and the tracks of the army tanks that form a perimeter around Tahrir Square, but were determined to press on with their campaign, many of them chanting slogans as the sun rose.

“I’ve been here for five days, and my family is coming today,” smiled Mohammed Ali, a 47-year-old engineer from Fayoum south of the capital, as he sat by the square with friend thumbing through the morning papers.

“We will stay until Mubarak goes,” he declared, as the protests entered their 15th day and the occupation of the square its 12th.

Behind him hundreds of the square’s daily visitors filed through checkpoints manned by well-armed Egyptian troops, who search for weapons but do nothing to prevent supporters from supplying the vigil with food and medicine.

Inside the military cordon, which is backed by squadrons of tanks, lines of volunteers from the protesters’ popular committees perform a second search and identity check to protect against police spies or provocateurs.

“Patriotic songs about the country used to sound exaggerated, but we own the country now,” said 34-year-old doctor Issam Shebana, who travelled back from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to man a makeshift open-air clinic.

“Yesterday, one man in his 60s said: ‘We were cowards. We kept quiet all these years, but you’ve done it.’ It’s inspiring. It’s a rebirth,” he said.

“I never thought I’d sleep on asphalt with rain on my face and feel happy.”

Shebana and a colleague, 24-year-old Doctor Mohammed Imed, said they had not treated any wounds from unrest for two days but that colds and flu were spreading among the population sleeping rough under plastic sheeting.

There had been little in the way of gastroenteritis or dysentery, however, as the protesters were trying to keep the square clean and well-wishers were bringing a steady stream of good food.

“Every day they give us concessions, a little bit more, and eventually they’ll have nothing left,” Shebana said of Mubarak’s embattled government, which has invited opposition groups to help it draft constitutional reform.

“Mubarak must leave, then parliament goes, then cabinet goes. We want an interim government to supervise elections. Then the people will leave the square, but if the government cheats, we will come back,” he said.

Nearby a small boy of no more than four years old sat on his father’s shoulders surrounded by a few hundred young men.

The infant lead the chant, demanding Mubarak go, and the crowd roared in response.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.