Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A snow day in Cairo

This morning I awoke to the news that students, faculty, and staff should stay away from AUC's Tahrir campus until further notice, as violent clashes between police and protestors spread in the vicinity of Tahrir Square.

The fighting started late last night as hundreds of demonstrators, many of whom were family members of those killed in the revolution, demonstrated in front of the Ministry of the Interior building, according to reports. Shortly after midnight, the police started firing on people and the clashes shifted toward Tahrir, only a few blocks away. Rock throwing, tear gas, and rubber bullets left many injured.

At around 6 or 7 a.m. this morning -- right before I woke up for 8:30 a.m. classes -- it seems as if the fighting picked up again after a nighttime lull that at one point saw an imam at a nearby mosque broadcast support for the protestors over the mosque's loudspeakers. Following Twitter, it actually seems like the worst of the clashes are now taking place right in front of the AUC campus and a couple blocks down the road, right where AUC has a couple more buildings and a fitness center.

It seems as if the clashes are an explosion of pent up anger at the military's handling of the country's affairs, and, according to my friend Chris, who just returned from checking out the demonstrations, protestors were even calling for the resignation of the head of the military council currently leading the country.  That's some pretty serious stuff when criticism of the military is still a serious offense, with the council prosecuting those who challenge its actions. Even if those actions -- repressing demonstrations with tear gas and beatings -- are starkly reminiscent of the Mubarak era.

Needless to say, I'm safe at home right now with the AC blowing. We went up on our roof to see if we could catch a glimpse of anything, but we didn't see any tear gas clouds wafting up into the air or even traffic on the bridge to Tahrir. Here in Dokki (my neighborhood), all is well, and I'm going to use the day off to catch up on work and chill.

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