Posts Tagged ‘Tahrir Square’

Rebooting the Egyptian Revolution

July 8, 2013

Morsi betrayed the revolution, betrayed the people of Tahrir Square.

He changed the Constitution, gave himself sweeping executive powers, handed out jobs to his cronies, marginalised women, creeping Islamisation.

Bread, freedom, social justice. These were the minimum demands.

With the toppling of Morsi by People Power (with the help of a military coup) the Muslim Brotherhood are finished.

Applying coverage by the BBC. Not of what was happening on the street, the implied criticism, this is an affront to democracy. Implied the Western model of corrupt, unaccountable elites, alternating Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee is somehow superior.

What is democracy? 20 million people on the street calling for Morsi to go.

Democracy is not being asked once every few years (if your are lucky) to tick a box on a ballot paper, when at best what you want is a box that says: None of the Above.

Democracy is not a choice between Tories in the pocket of Big Business, LibDems who will do anything to stay in power, and Tory-Lite (otherwise known as Labour).

The closest we have to democracy is the Athenian model, direct participation by the people, open government, transparency.

The Prime Minister of Turkey should be worried.

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Tahrir Square: A Second Revolution

July 1, 2013
A protester, opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, holds a sign during a protest demanding Mursi to resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo

A protester, opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, holds a sign during a protest demanding Mursi to resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo

President Morsi has betrayed the Egyptian Revolution. A reported 15 million people has taken to the streets calling for Morsi to go. If the figures are true, the world’s biggest demonstration.

The Egyptian Army has given 48 hours notice of a coup, then a few hours later, said no, they are not plotting a coup, though a retired general speaking on BBC Radio 4 World Tonight, has said Morsi will be removed, but would not give details.

Muslim Brotherhood building in Cairo has been looted and set fire to. Muslim Brotherhood has been firing live ammunition at protesters.

A newspaper in Lebanon has reported that the No 2 in the Muslim Brotherhood, the thug behind Morsi, has had his bodyguards arrested for possession of illegal firearms and firing on activists.

  • Egyptians to Morsi: ‘We Don’t Want You’
  • Countdown to Military Coup
  • Egypt forces arrest Brotherhood leader’s guards-sources
  • Army delivers ultimatum to end Egypt crisis
  • Tahrir Square: Revolution one year on

    January 25, 2012
    Tahrir Square 10am this morning

    Tahrir Square 10am this morning

    Aerial shot of Tahrir Square

    Aerial shot of Tahrir Square

    Imbaba echoing with calls of bread, freedom, social justice!

    Imbaba echoing with calls of bread, freedom, social justice!

    Some saying this is the biggest protest in Cairo since the revolution began. Certainly possible, the numbers are staggering. — Sharif Kouddous

    One year ago we saw the start of the Egyptian revolution when Egyptians took to Tahrir Square. No matter what was thrown at them they refused to move. They toppled a US-backed dictator.

    Where now, one year on? Were the lives lost, lost for nothing?

    A military regime has taken control and shows no sign of relinquishing power.

    Thousands have been arrested, tortured, tried before secret military courts.

    Many have been killed and maimed by the military.

    Emergency Powers have been relaxed but not removed. Action can be taken for ‘thuggery’ whatever that means.

    The military is demanding power of veto over the new constitution, a secret military budget.

    The players have changed, the regime is still firmly in control.

    Elections have taken place. Muslim Brotherhood has taken nearly half the seats. A fundamentalist Islamic party calling for introduction of Sharia Law, public beheading, controls a further quarter of the seats.

    Women were at the forefront of the revolution. They account for 2% of the seats in Parliament.

    Yes there is an elected parliament. A parliament that hides behind walled off street, the people one side, parliament the other.

    Egypt: Four walls divide the ruled from the rulers

    Muslim Brotherhood take to the streets when it benefits the Muslim Brotherhood. They have not called for the overthrow of the military junta controlling Egypt, have not called for those who committed crimes against the people, those who ordered the crimes, to be arrested and prosecuted.

    Today Tahrir Square celebrates, but also calls for the second phase of the revolution, the removal of the military junta.

    For brothers and sisters in Syria, the revolution has only just started. They can take heart when they see the numbers in Tahrir Square. The fate of Assad is sealed, either a bullet in the head or a criminal trial.

    Iraq faces a descent into hell, until the people come to their senses, Iran and Saudi Arabia stop meddling.

    Across the world the Arab Spring has helped to inspire the Occupy movement.

    You cannot kill an idea.

    The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell
    Egypt’s revolution: One year on
    Egypt: Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports from Cairo as Crowds Mark 1 Year of Revolution in Tahrir Square
    “In Tahrir Square”: HBO Doc on Egypt’s Revolution Through Eyes of Democracy Now!’s Sharif Kouddous

    Egypt: Four walls divide the ruled from the rulers

    December 20, 2011
    Wall number three leading to Tahrir  Sheikh Rihan St

    Wall number three leading to Tahrir Sheikh Rihan St

    walls with burnt Egyptian Institute in between

    walls with burnt Egyptian Institute in between

    Great question by @sameratrush about attacks on journalists and destruction of equipment. — Sharif Kouddous

    SCAF responds by saying they have no information on attacks on journalists, will investigate … m’ok. — Sharif Kouddous

    Clashes have largely ended. At least 14 killed, over 700 wounded, close to 200 arrested in four days. — Sharif Kouddous

    Four walls have been built to keep the people away from parliament. The military junta deny all knowledge of violence against protesters

    When you watch the video of unarmed protesters beaten by thugs remember they are armed, trained, backed, military hardware and security apparatus supplied by the United States of America.

    Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, SCAF, denies any of this violence took place.

    None of the revolutionary demands from 25 January have been met. No security or army thugs have been put on trial. We simply have a military junta without Mubarak.

    Freedom to protest
    Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters
    A third day of violence in Tahrir Square
    Image of unknown woman beaten by Egypt’s military echoes around world
    Egyptian Military Kills 14 Protesters, Attacks Journalists in Brutal Crackdown in Tahrir Square

    A third day of violence in Tahrir Square

    December 19, 2011
    wall now separates people from parliament

    wall now separates people from parliament

    street fighting centered on Sheikh Rihan street

    street fighting centered on Sheikh Rihan street

    students march from Cairo University to Tahrir

    students march from Cairo University to Tahrir

    motorcycle rider with blood-stained jacket waits to ferry more wounded to field hospital

    motorcycle rider with blood-stained jacket waits to ferry more wounded to field hospital

    Clashes continue on front lines. Surreal scene. Rocks, Molotov cocktails, water hoses, green laser pointers, chanting. — Sharif Kouddous

    For a third day Egyptian army and security thugs have been engaged in violent running street battles with peaceful protesters.

    A wall now separates the people from their parliament.

    Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters

    Egypt: Army thugs attack protesters

    December 18, 2011
    burning building

    burning building

    Tahrir Square

    Tahrir Square

    Tahrir Square

    Tahrir Square

    Thousands upon thousands entering Tahrir Square

    Thousands upon thousands entering Tahrir Square

    Army soldiers just came into apartment we are at and took cameras from us. — Sharif Kouddous

    Starting Friday morning, and for the last two days, army and security thugs have been attacking protesters, rocks have been hurled off buildings, live rounds fired, tents in Tahrir Square burnt, at least one building set ablaze.

    It was not only protesters who were attacked, the media was attacked too, cameras confiscated and destroyed.

    The Military Council must be overthrown. Why are the politicians silent?

    The Arab Spring started a year ago in Tunisia.

    A third day of violence in Tahrir Square

    Brutal crackdown by US-backed military on Tahrir Square

    November 22, 2011
    Bikes waiting to ferry the wounded to field hospitals

    Bikes waiting to ferry the wounded to field hospitals

    Tear gas manufacturer is 'Combined Tactical Systems' based in Pennsylvania

    Tear gas manufacturer is 'Combined Tactical Systems' based in Pennsylvania

    By using military courts to try thousands of civilians, cracking down on peaceful protests and expanding the remit of Mubarak’s emergency law, the military council has continued the tradition of repressive rule which the January 25th demonstrators fought so hard to get rid of. — Philip Luther, Amnesty International

    I may be mistaken but I believe this is the biggest protest in Tahrir since the revolution began without the Muslim Brotherhood. — Sharif Kouddous

    It started at the weekend when the US-backed military decided to remove a small encampment of protesters in Tahrir Square. According to reports on Eygyptian TV they had been enboldened to act by the police brutality against demonstrators in the US. Since the weekend it has escalated with dozens killed, many hundreds if not thousands seriously injured. Live ammunition is being used.

    The tear gas fired has Made in USA stamped on the side. Other tear gas in unmarked canisters appears to be much more potent than regular tear gas, causing the death of at least three people.

    People are going to the front line, get injured, are taken to field hospitals set up in Tahrir Square, then once patched up, are back on the front line.

    Rubber-coated shotgun pellets are being fired into the eyes. Several people have lost an eye. One man who lost an eye in the January uprising, has now lost a second eye.

    The Egyptian people are calling for the US-backed military junta to stand down and for an interim civilian administration to take charge until elections can be held.

    A deafening silence from the houseboy in the White House.

    photos from Sharif Kouddous
    film footage from mosireen video collective

    Paramilitary policing and police brutality from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street
    Egyptian Revolution Enters New Phase As Thousands Brave Violence to Protest Military Rule
    Egypt military pledges faster power transfer
    Volunteer clinics tend to Egyptian protesters
    How the West is already intervening in Egypt’s second Tahrir revolution

    Paramilitary policing and police brutality from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

    November 20, 2011
    A man sits in front of a police line at City Hall during an anti-Wall Street protest in Oakland, California, 25 October 2011. (REUTERS/Kim White)

    A man sits in front of a police line at City Hall during an anti-Wall Street protest in Oakland, California, 25 October 2011. (REUTERS/Kim White)

    Warning: Some may find the scenes of police brutality disturbing!

    Today (Saturday) security thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square, many were injured, at least one killed. The tear gas used in Tahrir Square has Made in US stamped on it. Supply of security and torture equipment is big business.

    But are they not getting a green light for this brutality from the US, a nod and a wink, watch what we do and follow our example?

    Earlier in the week we saw the brutal police crack down on Occupy Wall Street, press were cleared from the area, news helicopters blocked from flying overhead, local residents locked in their apartments. The camp was trashed, books and and laptops trashed or stolen.

    NYPD police brutality against Occupy Wall Street
    Only Nazis destroy books

    A couple of weeks before we saw the brutal crackdown in Portland. The irony is that Tahrir Square marched to the US Embassy to protest violence against peaceful protesters in the US.

    The worse though has been the pepper-spraying of protesters. Not the use by police in self-defence when overwhelmed by an angry mob, but the police setting upon demonstrators, then pepper-spraying them,

    In Seattle a 84-year old woman was pepper-sprayed in the face. She has still not recovered.

    84-Year-Old Dorli Rainey, Pepper-Sprayed at Occupy Seattle, Denounces “Worsening” Police Crackdowns

    I recall the Seattle WTO protests and the brutal police crackdown, out of which grew the global Indymedia network and the anti-globalisation network. Talking with a Bolivian activist some time later, she said she showed in Bolivia film footage of people being tear-gased on the street in Seattle. The locals in Bolivia had their eyes opened. They were used to violent supression of protest, but this was in the West.

    84-Year-Old Dorli Rainey, pepper-sprayed at Occupy Seattle, was there during the Battle of Seattle a decade ago. She says the police brutality is now far worse.

    Norm Stamper, the former police chief of Seattle, admits he was wrong then and as a retired chief of police is highly critical of police tactics and what he terms paramilitary policing.

    Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street
    Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism

    Remember Kent State and the killing of students in the 1960s? Has anything changed?

    On UC Davis university campus the police were invited on campus by the chancellor. Students were held and pepper-sprayed into their eyes and down their throats.

    Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

    What happened next?

    Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

    Peaceful students and faculty members attacked on their own campus at the behest of the chancellor. The chancellor should at least have the decency to resign.

    Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
    Police Pepper Spraying UC Davis Students

    Homeland Security was not formed to combat terrorism but to repress and brutalise US citizens!

    Is this the democracy the houseboy in the White House is exporting to the world?

    Muslims and Christians working together

    February 14, 2011

    The Quran does not simply preach tolerance of other religions, it also acknowledges that salvation can be achieved in all monotheist religions. Freedom of choice, especially in matters of faith, is a cornerstone of quranic values. — Benazir Bhutto

    Tyrants and peddlers of hate always try to divide people, divide and conquer. But when people work together even tyrants can be defeated.

    Hosni Mubarak has gone!
    Egypt in revolt

    In the New Year we saw a Coptic Church In Egypt attacked. Last year we saw a Catholic Church in Iraq attacked. I was with Canon Andrew White a few days after the attack and he spoke of his pain at seeing his friend the priest lying in a pool of blood.

    Coptic Christians in Egypt
    Dinner with Canon Andrew White

    But when people work together there is hope.

    Muslims guarded the Coptic Churches in Egypt. When the brothers and sisters took to the streets of Egypt, flooded into Tahrir Square, they worked together, Muslim and Christian embraced on the streets. The Christians guarded the Mosques during Friday prayers. The Christians linked arms and formed a protective circle around the Muslims when they prayed in the street.

    When the Mubarak Rent-a-Thugs attacked the peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square Wednesday and Thursday two weeks ago, it was the Muslim Brotherhood who mobilised their supporters on the Friday and secured the square.

    In St George’s in Baghdad before Christmas, a Shia cleric was invited by Canon Andrew White to address the congregation. The congregation is not only Christians of all denominations, it includes Muslims too.

    Last month Canon Andrew White brought together Shia and Sunni religious leaders and they issued a fatwa condemning violence against Christians.

    Copenhagen fatwa

    The Koran teaches tolerance and that followers respect other religions. People are given a choice, all are created equal in the eyes of God. Those who try to impose or coerce are unIslamic. The Koran sanctifies those who believe in the one true God but it does not deny other religions as the route to slavation, does not say Islam is the only route. [see Reconciliation]

    Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

    What better message of hope and love can we give on St Valentine’s Day!

    Designing sustainable cities

    February 12, 2011

    Designing sustainable cities, sustainable societies, is about closing loops, a network approach. One of the most important loops we have to close is the political system. Top-down systems do not work, where the people, if they are lucky, are reduced to election fodder to keep corrupt elites in power, to provide them with fig-leaf of legitimacy. We have to close the loop and put the citizens in charge of running their cities, as they once did in Athens.

    In Tahrir Square for the last 18 days we have seen participatory democracy in action.

    Look at the number of people in Tahrir Square, there was no police and yet apart from when they were attacked by state security and Mubarak Rent-a-Thugs, there was no violence. People worked together, they looked after each other and out for each other, no one was telling them what to do or organising them. The reality was the people were more than capable of running their own affairs.

    There are examples of good governance around the world but those in power have a vested interest to keep to their old corrupt ways.

    Two examples are in Brazil: Curitiba and Porto Alegre.

    Synchronicity: I was only discussing Curitiba and Porto Alegre with a local politician today. We were discussing budget cuts and I said these should have been discussed with full participation of the public, not imposed.

    Top story in The Cities Daily (Sunday 13 February 2011).