Egypt: Opposition creates a well functioning ministate within Tahrir sqare
|Makeshift barricades protect the opposition enclave in Tahrir Square. Via NYBooks|
Tahrir square has turned into an enclave. The army won't touch them, they erected barricades of scrap steel. There are piles of rocks to throw at whomever might attack. They have sophisticated security. There are lots of volunteers to tidy the place up.
Over the past week, Tahrir Square has been transformed from a bustling urban center into a fortified campground inhabited by thousands of well-organized anti-Mubarak demonstrators. It includes sidewalk first aid clinics and stations for charging cell phones, and the protesters respond to threats by blowing whistles and clanging metal rods. The alarm prompts scores of men to race to the entrances to the square, where rocks for stone-throwing are stockpiled in preparation for possible battles.Via FP:
I entered the Tahrir Square on Friday morning to find that it had been transformed. Formidable metal barricades walled off every one of the many roads leading into the square. The protesters had apparently cannibalized two construction sites in the area. Men patrolling the edges wore hard hats. An arsenal of rocks and concrete chunks lay in a pile, waiting to be thrown. On Qasr el-Nil Street, a few doors down from After Eight, one of Cairo's poshest and most popular nightspots, a medieval trebuchet had been assembled -- which, given the mounted cavalry charge the protesters had endured on Wednesday, seemed entirely fitting.Via OnIslam:
The protesters had received reinforcements as well. Despite the previous day's attempt to cut them off from the rest of the city, at least one entry point through downtown's Talaat Harb Street had remained in the hands of the Tahrir protesters, enabling fresh cadres, food, and medical supplies to enter. In just a partial reconnaissance of the square, I saw three different makeshift medical clinics, each stocked with fresh supplies.
As the days moved on trash collecting went viral in Tahrir square by what seems to be anyone and everyone. Youth in designer clothes would be picking up the litter being broomed by the less economically fortunate, with those young and old being touched by the scene and joining in. People there seem to have suddenly developed a sense of ownership to their country that goes beyond the complexities of the political sphere and down to one of the more minute details of daily life: keeping your own home clean.
An ad-hoc phone operator at one end of the square started to provide services to a lined-up clientele wanting to make calls or charge their mobile phones. The only major mosque in the area, Omar Makram mosque, started to serve lined-up worshippers wanting to wash up and pray. Even a nearby gas station on branching-out Bostan street started to experience the line phenomena as people waited to go to the toilet. Waiting in turn no longer seems to them as a liability to getting rightly served.