Foreign Dispatch: Echoes of Tahrir Square
Egyptian Security stands shoulder to shoulder; riot shields in front, standing at attention circling Tahrir Square. I watch from my hotel balcony overlooking the traffic-clogged hub. Every few hours, more forces march in from side streets for the changing of the guarding of this square — now one of the symbols of the Arab spring.
The protestors driven out on the first day of Ramadan find no unguarded space to re-stake a tent. Many recent protestors had said they were families of those killed in the same spot by pro-Mubarak thugs during January and February’s 18 day uprising. They said they wanted to stay until his trial was ended and they saw justice served.
The Egyptian military, now fully in charge and serving as the interim government until autumn elections are held, decided to end the protest.
But as a blistering August sun sears the dried-out remaining grass in Tahrir Square during the long summer days of this Ramadan fast, few people venture out to challenge the security forces or demand their recently fought-for right to be heard.
The streets remain mainly empty except for the incessant echo of tinny car horns in Cairo traffic
The hundreds of thousands who came out demanding human rights, dignity and Mubarak’s departure now seem just a ghostly specter in the memory of my minds’ eye.
The Military – which has been in charge as Egypt’s’ leaders since the 1950’s says it will turn over power to a civilian government after elections. President Hosni Mubarak’s formerly forbidding stature has been reduced to an image of an ill 82-year-old man lying on a hospital gurney in a courtroom cage.
As I gaze over Tahrir Square looking up to the dusty hillside surrounding the city of 18 million it’s still unclear what may happen next. Either to Mubarak, or to Egypt.