2 February, 2011
Groundhog day in the states. I wonder if the furry rat saw it’s shadow. We heard that in the night Mubarak and Obama made speeches but without a tv we’re left in the dark. It’s extremely frustrating getting only second-hand information. Going back today to see the result of the speech and if the Egyptian people will accept Mubarak’s terms.
Downtown was completely different than it has been in the last week. The energy was changed and reflected a kind of aggressive desperation. There was more shouting and chanting in angry voices and we were urged not to go in by helpful Egyptians and ordered not to go in by angry Egyptians. We stayed out of the main midan and walked the surrounding streets. We saw several factions of pro-Mubarak people and they seemed to be looking for a fight. The longer we stayed, the more groups we saw. Although these groups only numbered about 20, the growing number of them was suspicious. My friend suggested they had been paid by the government to insight chaos. Sure enough, a kindly Egyptian came up to us and told us that each supporter received LE 100. We were slightly mobbed by a crowd of supporters and the shift in the mob mentality was palpable. To those people we were no longer guests that they strove to protect, unlike the main bulk of protesters. We went back to the side street of Tahrir and were warned by another sweet soul that Mubarak’s thugs were coming. Additional road blocks were being set up and the military presence seemed diminished. I’m afraid that the thoughtful, organized, peaceful protest may be in danger of becoming a full blown riot. Even on the metro people were shouting and trying to the passengers wound up.
There’s no doubt that violence is a tactic by the Mubarak regime in order to fight/delegitimize the protest.