The moment of truth has arrived. The military junta has been trying to mollify the revolutionaries with bogus reshuffles and reforms, and it hasn't worked. Much to its chagrin, the revolution just won't go away.
On Friday, in a gesture which probably heralds an escalation of counterrevolutionary repression, the Mubarak-Regime-Sans-Mubarak for the first time publicly criticized the protesters in Tahrir Square. They claimed that the movement was driven by a "foreign agenda," and was trying to drive a wedge between the people and the army. In response, thousands of protesters in Cairo marched to the Ministry of Defense building where the ruling cabal (the SCAF) are headquartered. En route, in the neighborhood of Abbasiya, they were met by barbed wire topped barricades, rows of armed police, and tanks mounted with machine guns.
Once kettled there, they were set upon by "thugs" brandishing knives and swords, and were bombarded with stones and molotov cocktails. Scores were wounded.
The clashes went on into the night, with the army and police using tear gas against the protesters. According to some accounts, they fired into the air in the hopes of creating a stampede.
"The military are just another face of the old regime."
The SCAF claims the attackers were small business owners angry about the loss of business the protests have caused.
Well you can't say they don't have a sense of humor.
The revolution is entering a new phase. International capital will never surrender Egypt to its people, never. It is clear that the revolutionaries are not buying what the SCAF is selling, and an era of brute force is rapidly descending on that ancient land. The MoD building is the seat of state power, precisely that power which the revolutionaries demand, and that the SCAF will never concede without a fight. It is hard to imagine a resolution to this conflict will will not occasion the spilling of much blood. We can only hope the losses will not be too great.
The odds are against the revolution, they always are, but they seem resolute, inspiringly so. And, insh Allah, should they win, their victory will be ours as well. Godspeed! Vive la revolucion!
Here are some interesting reports. Don't miss Hossam's eyewitness account.
This is from the Egyptian military's site, and it's pretty much what you would expect to find there.
The guardian's story:
Here's the jaundiced account of Egypt's Independent News (It isn't):
And this one was interesting as well:
And this is good too.