It sounds like there is going to be a really big protest tomorrow at Tahrir. Writing in Al Masry Al Youm English (almasryalyoum), Noha El Hennawy states that Friday, the 8th of July is going to attract thousands. Her article is linked above, but to paraphrase, people are frustrated with the SCAF. Many of the Revolution's demands went beyond simply replacing Mubarak. The people also asked for freedom, integrity and social justice in their slogans.
According to the Arabist, the Muslim Brotherhood is planning to participate in tomorrow's protests. In general, the MB, reports the Arabist, has shied away from protests. Yet Ursula Lindsey suggests that it is time for them to fall in line with the popular mood.
Well, I was just at Tahrir today, for a second interview with Abdel Ghaffr Shokr. On my way out of town, back to New Cairo, we got stuck in a severe traffic jam near Tahrir. I was actually stuck in traffic literally next to the roundabout, the Midan, for about thirty minutes, so I had plenty of time to observe.
Here is what I saw at about 3 in the afternoon on Thursday. The entire roundabout has been cordoned off by the protesters (I presume) with green and yellow plastic nylon ropes in a kind of makeshift fence of sorts. There are many tents on the square. Some are military style plain white canvas pup tents. Some are the pup tents with revolutionary slogans written on them in Arabic in black and red paint. Another popular style of tents are made out of large flags put together. The Libyan and Palestinian flag are popular choices, and one tent had a roof made out of the Chinese flag.
The square has both men and women on it. I saw a Nekabi wandering around making preparations. Many youth were in evidence, sporting Palestinian style red and black checkered headscarfs to mark themselves as revolutionaries. One tent had older men, around fifty, with younger men, around twenty, and some very small revolutionaries, around five years old asleep in a heap under the shade of the pup tent.
Banners are already up, as is a stage, and the Egyptian flag is everywhere. The square is a bit worse for the wear. It is clean, more or less, but the grass is quite trampled, and cigarette butts litter the ground.
My university has issued stern warnings.
· Anyone planning to travel to areas in Egypt outside Cairo should cancel their travel.
· When you travel inside Cairo, limit all movements to the most essential only, and plan alternative routes avoiding large gatherings.
· Avoid all rallies because of a credible risk of localized unrest.
· Exercise caution when passing by government buildings, police stations and military barracks.
· Treat members of the security forces you encounter with patience and respect, and follow all instructions promptly. Carry photographic identification and a mobile phone.
· As a reminder, please ensure that you have an adequate supply of food in your home in the event that services are interrupted.
· Keep updated on the situation by following media reports.Hold on to your hats, folks. This one could be big! I will be staying indoors with my three children myself. WMB