8th day of demonstrations: It seems impossible that the situation has changed from being something like a carnival into a civil war in less than 24 hours. The pro-democray protesters have been peaceful and only defended themselves against the violent police. They have taken care of each other; shared bread and medical supplies, guarding homes and businesses, made human chains to protect the treasurous Egyptian museum as well as civilians in vulnerable areas. They have shared advices of how to best deal with the tear gas and rubber bullets. They've been singing and chanting. That is, until pro-Mubarak protesters charged Tahrir Square today.
It's unclear where they came from, but they did bring violence with them. Climbing buildings, they've thrown stones and molotov cocktails at the pro-democray protesters and charged them with horses and camels (!), equipped with whips. As for now, the square is filled with smoke from burning tires and trees and the pro-democray protesters are doing well to keep the others away from Tahrir. The rumour says that people have been paid to join the protests and that governmental ID-cards have been found on many of the pro-Mubarak protesters. It's said that they're either paid by the government to fight off the protesters or to make chaos, or are undercover police. The latest rumours on Twitter says that vehicles without licence plates are heading towards the square, filled with dogs. People are fearing a pre-dawn or early morning massacre. And the military are just observing.
It's unclear how many have been killed so far. A couple of hours ago the official number was three and that some 650 people have been injured. The city is running out of medical supplies, which is reportedly being stopped from entering Tahrir Square by pro-Mubarak protesters.
For the first time since the protests begun, I have stayed indoors with an exception for a short walk during the late hours around the block. I had planned to have a look at what's happening around Tahrir, but was stopped 100 metres from the apartment by a civilian identity check. Of course I had forgotten my passport at home, so we went back to get it and decided to not try to attempt the more central parts this evening. I had hoped to be able to take a few pictures, but apparently journalists and photographers are again being targeted by pro-Mubarak protesters. Several have been beaten and gotten their equipments confiscated or destroyed. That won't stop me from using my words to reach out though.
The situation doesn't seem to get any better as time goes by and we've decided to attempt to leave Cairo on or around Saturday. But it will be difficult as most buses and trains have been cancelled or are fully booked. In worst case we'll have a friend drive us to some town down south, where we can catch a bus or train. Cairo isn't safe and I mourn for the people who have lost their loved ones in the battle for freedom and democracy. I wish they'll keep their strength and courage to bring this bloodthirsty and power craving dictator down once and for all. Don't let the deaths be for nothing.