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Tahir Square calm but tense on day of protest Comment on this post ↓
July 10th, 2013 by Alex Ghawi

Military hostile

as reporter tries

to take pictures

Alex Ghawi reports from Egypt

Alex Ghawi, In the (K)now correspondent, is seen in Tahrir Square, Cairo on Tuesday, from where he filed this report. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.

After asking my guide for a ride into Cairo on Tuesday, I eventually made it to Tahrir Square [the heart of the protest movement]. The guide was  shaking, as I was, when we entered the taxi taking us there.
As soon as we got close, the roads started to get blocked and military personnel began to appear.
I was told, seriously, that I might get arrested for spying if I took photos of the military personnel. This statement was reinforced by the fact that they surrounded me and my guide six-to-one, all armed and accompanied by about 20 armored personnel carriers (APCs) with machine gunners on top. Yikes!

Protesters are camping out in and around Tahrir Square as the demonstrations continue into their second week. Photo by Alex Ghawi. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.

I asked my guide to tell them “pleeease” but he refused. We then left and trekked the 40 meters [or so] to Tahrir Square itself. It was surreal to see it not littered with demonstrators.
My guide told me that everyone had started to grow tired of demonstrations and that a new group of people was looking to start a new movement opposing all other demonstrations.
It was weird. The square itself looked like a mix between a black market and a music festival camping spot.
One step and people wanted to sell me guns; another and I almost stumbled into a man’s camping tent and with a third step I was greeted and thanked for coming to Egypt. It was very weird.
We took our time and captured a few pictures and then got the hell out of there.

On my way from Sweden to Egypt on Sunday, I went into transit in Istanbul where I met three nice British dudes.
They were very careful to warn me of Egypt and its political status while with the same breath inviting me to come with them to Iraq.
I thanked them, politely said no, and jokingly said that I would meet them in North Korea in a few months.

The streets of Cairo around Tahrir Square were calm on Tuesday, despite a major military presence. Photo by Alex Ghawi. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.

Unfortunately I realized, with hindsight, that they were likely to not perceive that I was being sarcastic.
I am in Egypt right now, sitting at the Cairo International Airport while I write this. I am about to take a flight to Sharm-el Sheikh and take it easy there.
The recent days in Egypt have been very hectic, to say the least. Everyone warned me not to go out at night or talk to other people. They said that only recently has the police force been working properly again.
On Monday I was at the pyramids where I was treated like the Messiah because I literally was the only tourist there! (Don’t add this part please)
Today I was down in Tahrir Square. It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere there.
There was a collection of about 20 armored vehicles with machine guns on the roof about 40 meters (120 feet) away from where I took all the pictures.
I tried hard to give them permission to photograph them but I they wouldn’t let me. They warned me the more I asked them for permission and I did not have as much desire to get arrested so I gave up.



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