Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No End in Sight

I walked through Tahrir this morning at 11:30 on my way to an appointment with Mohsen (27) at his office at Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies. The security check for entry into the Square - conducted variously by an assortment of older and younger men and women - was less thorough than the night before. As always, they apologize for the inconvenience and assure that their scrutiny is to protect against weapons being brought into the Square. The crowd was surely smaller than the previous night, but certainly not sparse. Nevertheless, I presumed that I could walk through without incident.

Then came the shouts and a wave of fleeing persons coming from the artery leading to the Interior Ministry building. A tear gas cannister had been shot very near the junction, and, immediately began the now-familiar dance to efficiently transport the wounded. The alley openend, eager custodians of safety locked arms and a virtual stream of motorcycles ferried injured from the site of the explosion to a field close by.

Mohsen was a bit alarmed when he reached the office, wondering why the tear gas was so strong. He had just come from his nearby apartment where he'd finally gotten some sleep and didn't know that the fighting was as heavy as it was already. During our meeting, a young co-worked rushed in and with real alarm announced that tear gas has been shot directly into the square.

When I left the office an hour later, I could make it only part way back to the Square. The fumes were very strong, such that I had to divert away from the Square to maintain the ability to see clearly. It was obvious that the clashes has been continuing in the last hours, with so much gas residue floating so far from the Square.

No comments: