s supporters started to flood across the 6th October bridge towards the square. Some were obviously secret policemen, brandishing machetes and clubs. Others had been paid up to 50 Egyptian pounds – around 5 – to wave identical pro-Mubarak placards. To begin with, the two sides talked. Then, all around, conversation quickly turned to argument and then degenerated into punch-ups. GUNFIRE Protesters chanted: “We are not going, we are not going.” Mubarak supporters replied: “He is not going, he is not going
.” Suddenly, improvised weapons were everywhere. Sticks and clubs were used to beat senseless anyone unlucky enough to fall in the melee. Photographers and reporters, welcomed by demonstrators keen to tell the world of their peaceful intentions, now
became the targets of Mubarak’s allies. The most intense battle lines were drawn up outside the Egyptian Museum, where the two sides eyed each other a rock’s throw distance apart. Repeatedly, Mubarak’s supporters charged, trying to push their way into Tahrir Square. Each time they were pushed back, but the occupiers in the square were becoming exhausted. One man fell and in moments the crowd swarmed over him, raining down blows on his body. Others – wounded by bricks and bats – were dragged back to safety by friends. Around the square dozens of bloodied people staggered away from the fighting, beate
n but refusing to give up on their dream of freedom. Suddenly, shots rang out. Terrified people scattered in all directions as soldiers tried to keep both sides away from the priceless artefacts inside the museum. During the day there were more reports of gunfire as fatigue and fear caused rumours to
spread like wildfire. By now e乐彩网快3河北 very entrance to the plaza was blocked by pro-Mubarak protesters determined to force their way in. Beleaguered demonstrators tried to observe their regular prayers while simultaneously attempting to keep their heavily-armed opponents out. The clashes were relentless, petrol bombs and rocks rained down from the air, sticks were used in hand-to-hand fighting. Women and elderly protesters wept as they observed the carnage around them. The army, neutral bystanders until now, manoeuvred their armoured personnel carriers between the warring factions. With astonishing courage, like a trained army, the anti-Mubarak demonstrators used bits of fence to form a defensive shield and push their attackers back. As a constant barrage of rocks and stones bounced off them, they responded by banging their makeshift shield in an inspiring show of defiance. For a while, they won – driving their attackers out of the square. But elsewhere as quickly as they erected barricades, their better equipped opponents pulled them down again. Then a pro-Mubarak faction forced its way on to the roof of a building overlooking the square. Seconds later demonstrators ran for cover as bricks and tiles were hurled at them from above. In streets outside, pro-Mubarak fighters whipped themselves into a frenzy of hatred before piling back to the front line. The scale of fury was
terrifying and a horrifying bloodbath for those remaining in the square seemed likely. Any demonstrators they caught were dragged to the ground and beaten. The desperate clashes intensified as the evening wore on. Automatic gunfire increased as the reformers battled their way out of the area. Tracer rounds were fired into the night sky, warning off Mubarak supporters who scattered away before regrouping. THUGS Demonstrators insisted that the thugs attacking them were drug addicts and criminals in the pay of Mubarak. The anti-Mubarak demonstrators used shields to form a defensive line and gain the upper hand for the first time. And the casualty rate continued to rise. Gangs tried to ram their way into a hotel forcing frightened residents to cower in their rooms. There was no police, no one to stop the bloodshed, no one to help those trapped. It seemed that Mubarak and his government was happy to watch a mob drunk on bloodlust do his work. Inside the square peaceful demonstrators were completely surrounded. Every surrounding street was thronged with men determined to fight their way in. The rough defences could not keep out their organised enemy. At 6.30pm a few ambulances arrived, many hours after clashes began. It was as pointless as it was late and there was no medical help for the hundreds still i
njured and trapped inside Tahrir Square. The battle continued to rage. On the rooftops, Mubarak’s supporters set fire to roofing felt and threw it on to demonstrators below. The sound of a thousand hammers filled the air as they used anything at hand to smash the street into blocks to throw. This was a battle for the soul of Egypt and last night it was not clear who was finally going to prevail.