Egypt Revolts: Day Five

Saturday, 29th of January, 2011
What I have seen.

I was on the streets of Cairo at 7:30 am today trying to make my way from Mohandeseen to Heliopolis through the ring road! I passed by Habib El Adly’s residence in Mohandeseen, there is always at least two police cars there, but today there was not even one policeman by his house. Neither were they guarding the banks, or any other thing.  I have only seen five policemen on my way, they were all guarding Police buildings. The police has completely disappeared from the streets of Cairo!
The ring road had burned tires, burned cars, a burned bus, even part of the fence was burned.  Carrefour was broken into, looters are stealing everything they could find there as we passed by it. A bus had stopped there to let looters go in and steal whatever they can.  It was later vandalized and burned.
Military cars and tanks were waiting by el Nasb El Teskary in Nasr City. The Nasr City police department is CLOSED, yes closed. Policemen are inside, but no one is allowed in.

What I have heard.

Yesterday looters did not only break in police departments and the NDP building, but they also broke into BANKS. There was news from a woman living in Gameat El Dowal Street in Mohandeseen that looters driving “toktoks” broke into CIB and Saudi Airlines, they took the safe outside and were trying to break it. After they’ve stolen everything starting from laptops to chairs and lamps, they’ve put Saudi Airlines on fire and turned to other shops on the street. The woman tried to call the fire department, but there was no answer!  She called a friend who works in the ministry of interior; he told her that they had high orders to completely leave the streets. It’s been said that other looters tried to break into HOUSES! When people tried to call the police, they’ve told them that they won’t do anything, saying that this has happened because of the protesters and it’s them who should protect the country!

Many police departments were set on fire and all the prisoners were set free. It’s been said that these people are doing most of the vandalizing. The police are giving them the chance to steal whatever they want, probably to scare the protesters away. 

The military is asking the protesters to go home today before the curfew to give them the chance to collect the thugs and looters. The NDP building is still on fire and the fire department won’t do anything to stop it. There’s still a chance that the fire can reach the buildings around it, including the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM!
Everyone is wondering what Mubark’s plan is, are they planning to let the thugs and looters move freely in the streets to have a reason to open fire on the protesters, or at least to scare them away? The real question is, is what we’re seeing, feeling, and sharing stoppable at this point? I think, and hope, not.

Today’s updates

Protesters are still happy to see the military tanks and soldiers everywhere. No violence at all is used, I hope it stays that way. Protesters showed the bullets that the police fired yesterday with “made in USA” written on them. They said how come they’re saying that they’re on our side when they gave the police the bullets to kill us? They showed expired tear gas bombs, some were expired in 2003!

Protesters look different today; today people from all around the country are protesting. People from all types, all social levels, both religions and both sexes, but are still very organized and disciplined. There were protesters everywhere; in Cairo (in Tahrir square, where protesters spent the night), in Alexandria, in Suez, in Ismaeleya, Aswan, Qena, Nagea Hammady, Mansoura, Damietta and many other cities.

Apparently, a lot of people died yesterday (more than a hundred). Hospitals don’t even have a place to put the corpses in their refrigerators. They were killed by the police using sticks, rubber bullets and live bullets. There was also news that businessman and drug dealer, Ibrahim Farag, killed people in a funeral with the help of the police. This man’s shop and office were burned yesterday. In Egyptian Rafah, the state security was bombed, one died and some were injured.

A lot of looting and vandalizing took place today all over the country. Shops, including Carrefour Alexandria, Radio Shack, were looted. The Children’s Cancer Hospital and other hospitals, Galaa’ Supreme Court, police departments everywhere were also vandalized and burned. Some people were able to save some of the documents and went to hand them to government officials, but couldn’t find any. ATMs all around the country are broken and the money is stolen. Some looters even tried to break into the printing house of the central bank, but luckily, they were arrested by the army.

It’s been said that some looters are even getting into homes, people are in a state of panic. The police are still nowhere to be found. The army is only protecting government buildings and museums and have promised to bring more troops to guard the whole country, but still haven’t. They’ve asked the people to help them with guarding the country. So now, everyone is having people’s committees protecting their neighborhoods. They took whatever they could find at home, from shotguns to canes to golf and baseball sticks, and went to the streets to guard the neighborhood. They search cars getting into the neighborhood and people are treating them very nicely. I personally feel very happy to see my neighbors in the streets protecting us, and I feel a lot safer with their protection than with the police. The people’s committees are even arranging the traffic after the traffic police ran away along with the rest of the ministry of the interior.

Many committees have arrested thugs in their neighborhoods and yesterday others were arrested while trying to loot the Egyptian Museum. Most of them were police who went home, changed their clothes and came back as thugs. Others were prisoners that were set free when the police departments were burned. They used police cars, ambulance cars, and normal ones. The thugs and looters were also found trying to steal shops and homes in very poor neighborhoods, like Mansheyet Naser. This made everyone even more sure that these thugs are the government’s and are there to scare people and keep them busy trying to protect their homes.
The new curfew starts at 4:00 pm and ends at 8:00 am. They’re trying to lock us at home, but the whole country defies the curfew anyway.  The military says that whoever’s out in the streets after the curfew will put himself in danger. Hundreds of thousands of protesters are still in the streets of Cairo and other cities though. The military told people to stay at home to try to arrest the looters after the curfew, but of course no one listened to them.

 There’s an unconfirmed piece of news: there is a dispute between Samy Anan head of the military, who came back from the USA yesterday after the demonstrations increased, and the government on how to treat the protesters. Apparently, he refused to open fire on the protesters, looks like the military is on our side.  And again, there is another unconfirmed news that Mubarak was going to resign yesterday when the national TV said that Fathy Soroor, head of the parliament, is giving a speech, and then some deal was done with the USA and he decided not resign! 

It’s impossible to know rumors from real news with no internet connection, which is still cut-off completely. Mobile phones are back, but SMS and BBM aren’t. I also think that international calls from mobile phones are blocked.

There was gunfire heard in many prisons all over the country and many of the prisoners were set free and are now walking free in the streets. Of course, that was expected, the police have disappeared! They have given them the chance to run away, that is if they’re not the ones who opened the doors for them.
NDP headquarters and the building next to it are still on fire. This is very scary, let’s hope the fire doesn’t reach the Egyptian Museum. The army tried to fight the fire, but their cars weren’t strong enough to stop it (the building is huge). The fire fighting department is still nowhere to be found!

Looks like Egypt will be closed tomorrow; the stock market will be closed, banks will be closed, all types of works are closed tomorrow, even the dorms are being confiscated. I don’t think there will be any shops open, we’re lucky enough to have saved food before January 25th

There’s was news today and yesterday about some protesters striking around the headquarters of the ministry interior in downtown Cairo and snipers are killing them! A journalist called Al Jazeera and said that she saw seven being killed by snipers. Nobody knows why the army isn’t stopping this.

On the government side, Ahmed Ezz resigned from the secretariat of the NDP, but is still a member of the party. Omar Soliman, the head of the intelligence office, is our very long awaited vice president. I’m hoping he’s worth the 30 years of waiting, but I doubt it. There were days when people liked Omar Soliman and saw him as a good candidate for presidency, but later everyone knew that he was Israel’s best friend. Not only this, there were many rumors about him doing the CIA’s dirty work of torturing prisoners. He also knew about the Gaza barricade and supported it. But I believe we would’ve still accepted him now as president, but not Mubarak’s vice president. He’s proven to everyone that he’s part of the regime and will always support it. And of course, people demand the removal of the regime, that’s what tens of thousands are still chanting in Tahrir. Unlike Egyptians, the Obama administration is very happy to know that Omar Soliman is now the vice president.

The new prime minister is Ahmed Shafiq, the former minister of civil aviation in Nazif’s cabinet. What good is he? He built the airport’s terminal three, which is as good as a terminal in any European airport. This man is also known for his rudeness; he has sent an SMS to 6th of April Youth Movement (that they put on their website) with the worst swear words anyone could think of.  And last, but not least, he’s part of the regime, and always will be. He was never accused of corruption, but simply, if someone is clean, he will not want to work with Mubarak’s regime. Shafiq is the type of person who’s very good in acting; he can make anyone like him and accept his point of view. I wonder if he’ll be able to do so in his new position.  The U.S. didn’t like this step though, they said that Mubarak can’t say he’s changing the government then bring someone from the same party. It is also worth mentioning that both Soliman and Shafiq are military generals and are Mubarak’s friends. Is this some kind of bribe for the military? What about the people? These two generals were liked once by the people, but of course are not today. Protesters started chanting against Omar Soliman.

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