A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Clearance of Tahrir Square

The Egyptian Army and Central Security Forces moved into Tahrir Square today and forcibly cleared the remaining demonstrators camped out there. Most of the major political movements left the square after Friday's demonstrations, and the remaining protesters, representing "martyr's families" and some leftist grousp,  had been expected to clear the square last night prior to the start of Ramadan. But when hardliners refused to leave, security forces moved in and evicted them forcibly. Accounts can be found in English here, here, and here. Photo above from the last link.

I doubt that this is going to be treated as that big a deal by all but the most radical among the revolutionaries, because most had already decided to leave during Ramadan, and shopkeepers on the square have been frustrated at the continuing sit-in. On the other hand, up to now the Army has declined to move against non-violent protests. Certainly compared to what has been happening in Syria, this is not that heavy-handed, and clearly many Egyptians were becoming frustrated with the diehards. So far as I can tell, no deaths have been reported; there were many injuries and arrests, however.

An Added Note: I'm seeing some complaints that the troops are "having a picnic" in the square, as if rubbing it in. But the soldiers have been fasting all day too, so it doesn't surprise me that they are breaking their fast (it's past iftar in Cairo now) at their posts.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

A whiff of grapeshot, Egyptian style. Demonstrators should thank their stars that we have had considerable influence on the Egyptian army. The contrast with the actions of the regimes in Libya and Syria is stark.