Recent History Repeated

Yesterday, without warning, Tahrir square was stormed by a hundred or so soldiers who swarmed towards the encampment in the square’s middle, closely followed by a crowd of perhaps a thousand plain-clothes cops/thugs/citizens—who knows anymore. They beat peaceful protestors, destroyed tents and then—once the majority had either fled or been arrested and dragged into the Egyptian Museum compound opposite the square—destroyed the memorial raised for the martyrs of the revolution.

By roughly 9 P.M. we had gathered some of the names of those detained and received eye-witness reports that those inside the Museum numbered around 150, being forced to lie face down on the ground while they were whipped, shocked with stun batons and beaten.

This day of army-led violence happens in the midst of numerous shootings of Christians protesting their unequal and unfair treatment as minorities and the burning of a church a few days ago just outside Cairo. Thugs were present at these attacks as well. The Christians’ calls for dignity and equal treatment under law and in society were met with bullets and other violence. Many reports from the protestors confirm that the dead were shot by the army.

As this was occurring in different parts of Cairo, a demonstration of women in Tahrir Square celebrating International Women’s Day and promoting the cause of civil rights for women in the “New Egypt” was also beset upon by thugs. Women and men standing in solidarity with them were sexually harassed (verbally and physically), heckled and ultimately attacked by thugs as the army stood aside. Calls for help and protection from women being attacked were met by casual shrugs from military police.

More aggression took place outside the interior ministry on Sunday. Protestors, seeking to search the interior ministry for prisoners and evidence of state-led violence were greeted by a salvo of shots above their heads by the army, then a rushing onslaught of plainclothes cops/thugs/citizens throwing rocks, bottles and brandishing swords and machetes.

A new pattern seems to have been established in recent days combining the reckless violence of plainclothes thugs with the systematic attacks, detentions and torture by the army and military police. The coincidence of these two aggressors is too common to suggest anything other than complicity.

The testimony of one of those held last night is below. Others face years in prison after being rushed through kangaroo-court military tribunals for vague and trumped up claims of thuggery and violence.

Testimony of Rami Essam on what happened to him yesterday on the hands of the Egyptian army:

A lot of protesters are still under arrest in a military prison pending court-martial. Their photos are being displayed on TV as “thugs arrested” in Tahrir Square. State TV is trying to portray the arrested protesters as thugs, and by this distort the public opinion and take advantage while they continue to torture the detainees. Please spread and share this news (email this to your local media and to human rights organizations)

For those who don´t know Rami Essam, remember this video? It is of him in the first days of the Egyptian Revolution, singing in Tahrir Square. How can this young man who was nicknamed “the singer of the revolution” by the Tahrir Square protesters be a “thug” attacking people as the army and state TV claim?

Video of Song

“My name is Rami Issam, I´m 23 years old. I was in Tahrir Square with the rest of the people on Wednesday, March 9th 2011. At approximately 5:30 pm we were suddenly attacked by the military and a large group of civilians armed with sticks, batons and bricks. Together they destroyed the tents, tore the banners, beat everybody who was in the middle of the square and started arresting people. A group of soldiers dragged me towards the museum´s building and handed me to army officers who tied my hands and legs up and started kicking me all over my body and face. Then they started hitting me on my back and legs with sticks, metal bars, wires, and hoses. After that they brought the electric taser that was used in demonstrations before and used it on various parts of my body, then they started using more than one taser at the same time. The officers insulted me and stomped with their feet, jumped over my back and face, and threw shoes in my face. Then they cut my hair (it was long) and put my face in the dirt before burying my body neck down.

His video testimony is being edited and will be posted soon as will a more in depth analysis of the recent state (read army) led violence.



source: Recent History Repeated |