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December 18 2011

December 17 2011

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Violence Erupts in Egypt After Second Round of Parliamentary Elections

Egyptians decry military regime as government cracks down on cabinet occupation

Time: 08:35 More in News & Politics

Egypt: Tahrir Square Burning

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

Egypt's Military Police set Cairo's Tahrir Square ablaze and forcefully pushed away protesters demonstrating outside the Cabinet on the first anniversary of the Arab revolution, sparked by the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. Egypt's netizens are on hand to provide witness accounts of what is happening on the ground now.

The battle #OccupyCabinet has been raging for two days: eight people have been killed and more than 300 injured as the military attacked protesters who have been camping outside the Cabinet headquarters in Cairo for the past three weeks, protesting against the military appointment of Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal El Ganzouri as the new Prime Minister earlier this month.

El Ganzouri just gave a press conference, stressing that the army would not attack peaceful protesters. Minutes later, a full offensive was waged on the protesters, pushing them away from the cabinet and clearing and burning Tahrir Square. Netizens report their witness accounts live on Twitter as I type.

OneRevolution tweets:

@nagoul1: A massacre is taking place in #Tahrir right #now! #egypt #NoScaf #MediaBlackout

And screams:

@Nagoul1: We lost the square! #Tahrir #Egypt #NoScaf

He explains:

@nagoul1: The army used live ammunition to disperse #tahrir protesters -forcing them back away from cabinet buiding to the mddle of the square.

And pinpoints his vantage point:

@nagoul1: I am three blocks away from where the action is. It was very loud.

On Twitter, Sharif Khaddous shares this image from Tahrir Square now and explains:

Sharif kouddous shares this picture of tahrir square minutes ago on twitter

Sharif Kouddous shares this picture of Tahrir Square minutes ago on Twitter

@sharifkouddous: Groups of soldiers roaming square. Some people getting beaten randomly. Tents burning. Tahrir looks like a war zone

The journalist adds:

@sharifkouddous: Army soldiers just came into apartment we are at and took cameras from us

As usual, journalists have not been spared in this attack on protesters. Hayat Al Yamani tweets that her colleagues from Al Jazeera Mubashar have been arrested too.

الشرطة العسكرية قبضت على زمايلي من الجزيرة مباشر مصر اللي كانوا بيصورو الفجر

: The Military Police have arrested my colleagues at Al Jazeera Mubasher Egypt who were filming at dawn
الشرطة العسكرية داهمت المكان اللي كنا بنصور منه الفجر واخدوا المعدات وقابضين على 3من زمايلنا

: The Military Police broke into the place we were filming in at dawn and took our equipment and arrested three of my colleagues

Bel Trew is also on the scene, tweeting live. Here are some of his frantic tweets as the chaos unfolds:

@Beltrew: Tents on fire on the midan [Square]. Army everywhere and extremely violent. Can here bangs not sure if it's gunfire #tahrir a mess

@Beltrew: Protesters being chased down corniche running between the traffic. This is ridiculous #tahrir

And Adam Makary exclaims:

@adamakary: PM Ganzouri SAID violence will not be used on peaceful protesters just ten minutes ago #Egypt

And adds:

@adammakary: The military police have taken tahrir and qasr el aini - they've got it sealed from every rooftop and every road entrance. Painful images

And he shares this image too:

Tahrir burning. adam makary shares this image of tahrir burning on yfrog

Tahrir Burning. Adam Makary shares this image of Tahrir burning on yfrog

@adammakary: This is #tahrir now, I'm speechless #egypt #occupycabinet

He explains:

@adamakary: Military police setting every tent ablaze in their vicinity, bashing cars, everything.. anything #egypt

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

December 16 2011

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Egyptian Workers Strike and March Against Regime

Workers say repression getting worse as they fight for a minimum wage

Time: 03:58 More in News & Politics
Reposted by99percent 99percent

December 15 2011

Video: Middle East Responds to Media via Webcam

Talk Back TV Middle East provides a way for people from in the Middle East and North Africa can talk back and give their take on state controlled television and mass media using only a webcam and computer.

The concept is explained on the talk back website:

You see something on TV and want to TalkBack – Pick your clip from our rich source media database, record your comments via webcam, use our simple editor to put it together, and then watch your video remix on TalkBackTV’s dual-screen player. When you’re done, hit publish and share you finished ‘Rant’ everywhere you go online. Your webcam is now a weapon of mass communication.

Currently highlighted on their blog is a rant by Khaled Eibid on Essam Atta, a 24 year old Egyptian activist tortured and murdered by guards in the the Egyptian military prison where he was retained. The event has failed to make headlines internationally, and that his death should go unnoticed has spurred Khaled Eibid into action:

Khaleds Eibid rant honoring Essam Atta and other activists killed by the regime is in Arabic. Here is the rough translation. I can't tell what the music is. But it is perfect.

“We did not get justice for Khaled Said”
” We did not get justice for Said bilal”
” Are going to let justice flee again for Essam Atta?”

” Why the Egyptian blood so cheap ” ?

Other collaborators have added their videos on a diversity of topics. For example, Raafatology brings to the discussion the need Egyptians had to be able to vote from abroad for the recent elections like counterparts in other countries like Sudan and Iraq are able to do. At the end and after a fight, their right to vote was respected.

Khaled Eibid provides another rant on the impunity for crimes of violence the military commits against civilians. The Egyptian army assaulted civilian demonstrators after Jan25 and the judiciary system failed to be effective in getting justice for those cases. The army represses the revolution but fails to take the chance to do something positive for the country, instead taking it out against protesters, sometimes in a ratio of 15 military personnel for each civilian.

And as a short comment on the same video, Akhnaton wonders why the police don't fall back into the headquarters now, just like they did on January 28th.

December 14 2011

Egypt: Long Queues in Second Stage of Egyptian Elections

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

The second stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections started today, with Egyptians in nine provinces going to the polls.

Zeinobia, from Egyptian Chronicles, blogs about this stage saying that polling stations will be open in Giza, Bani Sawif, Monufia, Sharkia, Ismailia, Suez, Beheira, Sohag and Aswan.

She adds:

There are 3,387 candidates across the 9 governorates competing for 180 seats in this stage. “2,271 are competing for 60 individual seats while 1,116 are competing over 120 lists seats”

The elections, the first since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak, started on November 28 and are expected to continue until January 10, 2012, and are being held in three stages.

About 19 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in this second stage, which continue until tomorrow. The candidates are vying for 498 seats in the lower house. Today's and tomorrow's elections will be followed by run-off elections where neck to neck candidates will face off after a week. In this round, constituents are expected to cast three ballots, two for individual candidates and a third for a party.

Once a Parliament is in place, it will be responsible for appointing a committee which will draft the country's new constitution, which will pave the way to the presidential elections later on.

Here is a snap shot of reactions from Twitter about is happening in different provinces across Egypt today.

Journalist Rawya Rageh tweets her experience in Giza so far, complaining about the harassment the Press is facing there. She asks:

@RawyaRageh: Are other journos having difficulties reporting from inside voting stations in #Giza? #Egyelections #Egypt

And continues:

@RawyaRageh: Security this time not as cooperative.. Military asked us to move away from station, police asking us about ‘permits' #Egyelections #Giza

She adds:

@RawyaRageh: Not being allowed to film inside several voting stations in #Giza despite HEC credentials, being told state TV only #Egyelections #Egypt

Rageh observes:

@RawyaRajeh: Turnout quite low in #Giza, nothing at all like the numbers I saw in #Assiut in 1stround. Any word on other provinces? #Egyelections #Egypt

Nadia El Awady disagrees with this observation, noting long badly organised queues at the polling station in Al Haram, in Al Koum Al Akhdhar.

She tweets:

@NadiaE: There was an endless non-line of women infront of school. I'll have to try again tonight or early tomorrow #egyelections

She shares this photograph on Twitpic showing the chaos.

Long queues at polling station in al haram. photo by nadia elawady, shared via twitpic on twitter

Long queues at polling station in Al Haram. Photo by Nadia ElAwady, shared via Twitpic on Twitter

She then asks:

@NadiaE: Can someone tell me the down times for women in #egyelections? Lunch time? Evening? When do i have best chance of finding fewest women?

Other journalists are also reporting long queues elsewhere.

Steven Cook tweets:

@stevenacook: Long lines waiting to vote in Imbaba. People are in good spirits #EgyElections

Hannah Allam is in Suez and writes:

@HannahAllam: In Suez, long lines of voters, heavy army presence. #Egyelections

And it won't be Egypt, if reactions were not infused with Egyptian humour.

Amira Salah-Ahmed jokes:

@Amiralx: Come to Egypt, home of the pyramids and land of perpetual elections #EgyElections

And the Arabist adds:

@arabist: Just heard of a voter dipping his finger in the judge's coffee rather than the ink pot. #egyelections

Meanwhile, Greek blogger and Global Voices Online author Asteris Masouras collects netizen reactions to the elections in this Storify round up.

Also, for more reactions, check out the hash tag #EgyElections on Twitter.

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

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