The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Pictures from yesterday's Protest Violence

Yesterday, the groups that comprise Kifaya launched a protest against President Mubarak's candidacy ahead of elections on 7 September.


Pictures are in this album.

For the second time in shortly over two months, security quashed the protests violently. Plain clothed security employees beat and arrested the movement's leadership. Some have been released while others are being held at a military base called el-Darrasa (according to Kifaya sources).

At a sit-in today at the Public Prosecutor's office, he informed those striking that he had no knowledge of those detained. This means that not only has violence been used against peaceful male and female protesters but that the regime is using extra-judicial means to process the detained.

Where is Condi now?

As Wael Khalil said as a gang of six security personnel led him away, "Welcome to Mubarak's fifth term."


Someone phoned and asked the difference between 25 May and yesterday. The answer, in my view, lies in the perpetrators and style of the repression.

On 25 May, rent-a-thugs paid by some MPs and licensed by the security services wreaked havoc by beating anyone and everyone deemed to be from Kifaya. Journalists and photographers (and overtly Westerners) were left alone. The rent-a-thugs were highly undisciplined. When they attacked it was akin to letting a lion out of a cage. The rent-a-thugs could not easily be controlled or stopped once they were unleashed. I remember seeing the thugs of the 25th fighting with security when the latter tried to halt the attacks.

Perhaps, the powers that be (or at least this power center of the regime that thinks violence against protesters works) saw this 25th May-type violence as dangerous or uncontrollable. It is here they tried to rectify how violence was conducted.

Yesterday's thugs were clearly in the employ of the security services. Several said to journalists and on-lookers that they were police. There were no arguments between plain-clothed and uniformed security as they took orders and directives from their bosses. They were disciplined and more targeted when they went for people. They also could be recalled easily - hence it was less out of control (if violence can be). Yesterday's thugs also had an arrogance about them regarding journalists and photographers. They were much more aware of cameras and being filmed than the rent-a-thugs of 25 May. In this sense, yesterday's perpetrators were like trained attack dogs. They could be released to bite but also had masters that could end the violence on a moment's notice.