A little after 9AM on Sunday morning, Gawker Editor-in-chief AJ Daulerio — whom I’m currently in Cairo with — woke me out of a deep hash slumber to alert me about some activity brewing on the street. Thunderous booms from tear gas guns could be heard echoing below. I splashed some water on my face, slipped on my sneakers, and jetted out the front door of the hotel. Lots of people were watching a commotion unfold down the block.
I made my way towards the action on Abd El-Qader Hamza Street — within earshot of Tahrir Square — and Egypt’s Central Security Forces (CSF), a paramilitary force, could be seen deploying personnel. CSF troops were firing tear gas and throwing back the rocks that the mostly young protesters were throwing at them. As the crowds surged, the black-uniformed CSF soldiers would fire tear gas and then charge at them, sending the protesters running back to the relative safety of the square.
This cat and mouse game went on for hours. Small bursts of chaos would erupt when a protester was taken into custody as CSF officers would surround and pummel them with their extra long clubs. As they took each person into custody and walked them down the street, regular people got in on the action too, punching and kicking the young men as they were taken away. They also cheered when the CSF sent protesters running for cover and would throw rocks as well, but with the full blessing of their paramilitary allies they were assisting.
One teenage protester was beaten so badly, he fell to the ground bloody, prompting another CSF member to deploy his shield and protect him from any more attacks, even from fellow officers. About ten minutes later, I snapped a photo of another young man who was also beaten while being taken into custody and was scolded by a CSF officer who waved his club at me. One thing that can be said about the CSF… they don’t like getting their photo taken:
Throughout the day, many of the people I spoke to, said these were just troublemakers and don’t really represent the revolution. “These are small kids,” said a shopkeeper to me. “They don’t know what they’re doing.” And you thought your kids were bad!
(Photos: Bucky Turco/ANIMALNewYork)