According to Australian based Marxist journal LINKS, on Friday, April 8, one of the largest protests in Egypt since the ouster of Mubarak took place. Unlike earlier protests, Egypt’s armed forces, and in particular Field Marshal Tantawi – the head of the Supreme Military Council, were the “focus of much of the anger displayed.”
The protesters, included some rebel army officers, who spoke out about corruption in the armed forces and called for an end to the rule of the Supreme Military Council, who have been in charge of the country since Mubarak’s resignation.
To counter the demonstration, the army waited until late at night, blocked off all entrances to Tahrir Square, then attacked the crowd with tazers and batons, arresting many, including many of the rebel soldiers. There was extensive use of live ammunition, mostly it was fired above the heads of the crowds, but reports of fatalities have been circulating. So far, the Egyptian ministry of health has confirmed one dead. Reuters has reported two.
Around dawn, after fighting running battles around downtown Cairo through the night, the protesters retook the square, driving the soldiers out, trashing and burning army vehicles, then using them, along with the barbed wire and movable barriers abandoned by the army, to build barricades and cordon off the square. They then began putting up tents to create a permanent occupation of the square.
“This is what democracy looks like.”
This should help boost Egypt’s now nearly non-existent tourist trade.