Video shot by Reed Lindsay, Jihan Hafiz and Roddy Hafiz
It was the bloodiest week in Egypt since the Port Said Soccer Massacre in February.
With THREE weeks to go before the anticipated FIRST ROUND OF presidential elections, the latest death toll has renewed public outrage toward the ruling military junta.
A dozen people were killed when pro government thugs attacked a sit-in outside the ministry o defense in the abbasya neighborhood.
Protesters refused to leave the sit-in.
THE MILITARY WARNED THEY WOULD respond with force AGAINST ANYONE who ADVANCED ON THE ministry OF DEFENSE.
As usual, Friday prayer was the prelude to a larger demonstration that would culminate in the afternoon outside the army barricade. The prayer at the abassey sit in was small in SIZE but emotional. SOME OF THE PROTESTERS HAD LOST FRIENDS AND RELATIVES IN THE bloody week of violence.
SINCE MUBARAK’S OUSTER, THE conservative islamists known as SALAFIS, HAD LARGELY STAYED AWAY FROM STREET PROTESTS, INSTEAD PARTICIPATING IN LAST NOVEMBER’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS, SALAFI PARTIES WON A QUARTER OF THE SEATS OF PARLIAMENT.
BUT WHEN THEIR PREFERRED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, HAZEM SALAH ABU ISMAEL, WAS DISQUALIFIED THREE WEEKS AGO, MANY SALAFIS HIT THE STREETS, now against the military council .
NOW, THE SALAFIS HAVE JOINED revolutionaries from all walks of life, including liberals who have often been at odds with the salamis. All coming together to BATTLe GOVERNMENT SECURITY FORCES, which have routinely attacked protesters since the ruling military junta came to power last year
SOT APRIL 6: THE SALAFIS AND US WE’RE TOGETHER NOW.
AFTER THE PRAYER, MARCHES BEGAN ARRIVING IN ABASEYA, AND THE GROWING NUMBERS OF PROTESTERS MOVED TOWARD THE TENUOUS BARBED WIRE BARRICADE FENCING OFF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE.
WHEN A FEW PROTESTERS WHO JUMPED THE BARRICADE WERE BEATEN BY SOLDIERS, THE VIOLENCE BEGAN.
BOTH SIDES HURLED ROCKS AT EACH OTHERâ€¦SOME OF THE PROTESTERS TRIED TO STOP THE ROCK-THROWINGâ€¦.THEIR EFFORTS WERE FUTILE.
THE MILITARY USED A WATER CANNON, TO LITTLE EFFECT.
PROTESTERS RIPPED OFF HUGE SHEETS OF SHEET METAL FROM A WALL AND USED THEM AS SHIELDSâ€¦AND IS CUSTOM IN EGYPT’S STREET BATTLES, THEY SMASHED THE GROUND TO MAKE ROCKS.Â
FOR A WHILE, THE ROCK BATTLE WAS A STAND-OFFâ€¦INJURED PROTESTERS WERE CARRIED AWAY BUT OTHERS REPLACED THEM.
MILITARY HELICOPTERS FLEW OVERHEAD.
AMBIENT SOUND: CHANTING AGAINST THE HELICOPTER
BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER MUBARAK’S OUSTER, THE GOVERNMENT RELIED ON POLICE AND THUGS TO CRUSH PROTESTS, PORTRAYING THE MILITARY AS A NEUTRAL FORCE THAT IS THE PROTECTOR OF THE PEOPLE.
â€¦BUT THIS TIME, THE LINES WERE CLEARLY DRAWN.
THOUSANDS OF EGYPTIANS, MOST FROM WORKING CLASS BACKGROUNDS, FACed OFF AGAINST A MILITARY GOVERNMENT WITH A 4.6 BILLION DOLLAR ANNUAL BUDGET FOR ITS ARMED FORCESâ€¦more than A QUARTER OF THAT FINANCED BY THE US GOVERNMENT. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently approved the 1.3 billion dollars in military aid to egpyt’s generals. This despite claims from human right groups that Egypt’s military generals, like the mubarak regime, is brutalizing its people.
on the frontlines,THE SOLDIERS STARTED FIRING TEAR GAS. In moments, the army gained the upper hand. Pushing demonstrators back toward the abasseya neighborhood.
THOSE THAT REMAINED fighting WERE quickly OVERWHELMED BY THE BARRAGE OF TEAR GAS pouring in from all directions.
AFTER PROTESTING and occupying in FRONT OF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE FOR SEVEN DAYS, THE PROTESTERS WERE FLUSHED OUT IN A CHAOTIC RUSH IN A MATTER OF MINUTES. Vendor stands were destroyed as thousands struggled to flee the area. They included the elderly, the sick, the injured, woman, children and this woman’s young infant.