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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Judges vs. Government Showdown

Moved on! Check TheCairoCalls

Today is set to be a decisive day in the struggle of judges against a coercive government.
Today at 10 two judges, who had the audacity to question the possibility that some judges were involved in poll rigging during last year's parliamentary elections, will face a disciplinary committee (note: they will face, not the judges who actually rigged the polls!! That's how twisted this country is).
I passed yesterday through Abdel Khalek Sarwat St (where the Judges' Club--the epicenter of the confrontation--is located). The scene there was awesome in every regard. The banners declaring the support of the Journalists' Syndication, Bar Association, and every other organization, to "Egypt's Free Judges". The writings on the walls, and on the streets ("liberated Area", "Without Mubarak, Egypt is Beautiful"). The number of central security forces trucks down there is also awesome. It is practically a war zone down there.
I happen to be working down the street from all the action today, so expect further updates, and news about what is supposed to be a very eventful day.
For background, go to Baheya's excellent post about the issue.
A video of last night's security crack down on protestors is here.

Update 1: Sirens never ceased to sound for the last half hour...will keep you updated!
Update 2: Another excellent account of yesterday's events from the Arabist.
Update 3: Well, it seems that clashes are already underway.
Update 4: A couple of ambulances are rushing towards the scene...not clear why yet (mind the scene is just next to the central ambulance facility of Cairo, so might be unrelated)
Photos are coming in. Click on the markers on the map
Update 5: The hearing was delayed (Arabic) to the 11th of May.
Update 6: Police attacked an MB protest in support of judges. Video (hattip: Waay El-Masry)
Update 7: Something to lighten up the mood.
Update 8: I went down there at around 6 PM to check. There was around 120 protestors remaining, mainly on the stairs of the journalists' Syndicate, and on the pavement of the Judges' Club (see map below). On the other side, ther was around 3000 security soldiers, around 30-40 trucks, and 4 fire engines (they use their fire hoses to disperse crowds). When I got there, soldiers were doing laps around Abd El-Khalek St. (a scare tactic apparently!!). But the clashes obviously subsided.
Update 9: Read Kifaya's account of the events (Arabic)
More photos are coming in. Click on the markers on the map

Moved on!

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