Will Saturday’s Violent Events Breathe New Life Into Egypt’s Pro-Reform Movement?
An attack on peaceful pro-reform protestors in Cairo after a weeks of relative calm have ended up helping to reinvigorate and coalesce the broad coalition that's staging a sit-in in the main square. After camping out in Tahrir for the last two weeks without memorable concessions from the government, pro-reform protestors yesterday decided to try a new approach: they marched on the Ministry of Defense.
En route, the throng of protestors were assaulted with stones and firebombs by a group of people standing in front of a military blockade. Security forces then stepped in with tear gas to disperse the two groups. Al Jazeera reported that more than 231 people were injured in the clashes and at least two protestors were thrown in jail.
The march on the Ministry of Defense came on the heels of a statement by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) that the April 6th Youth Movement was sowing division between the Egyptian people and the military. In short, the scene in Tahrir and throughout the country is confused, and peoples' energies were waning in the days leading up to Saturday's renewed clashes. The estimated tens of thousands filling Tahrir on the first day of the sit-in on July 8 had dwindled to a devoted core group of protestors camped out in tents in the center of the square, as support and spirits flagged under the scorching sun. The loss of energy was palbable - so will Saturday's events breathe new life into the pro-reform movement?
Photo by Gigi Ibrahim.