PLEDGE NOW
Egyptians on Turmoil, Cairo Clashes

Violence and turmoil in Cairo as pro- and anti-government supporters clash. We fill our airwaves with Egyptian voices.

Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, including some riding horses and camels and wielding whips, march towards anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo, Egypt, Feb.2, 2011. (AP)

For so many days, they were thrillingly peaceful in the mass protest aimed at removing Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt.

Today, Mubarak’s crew moved into the streets.  Knives, clubs, horses, camels.  Riding down, beating the crowds that have been chanting for Mubarak to go. Everybody fighting. Mob chaos.

Egypt’s strongman said last night he will not stand for re-election. President Obama said a transition must begin now.  But what is actually happening now looks, suddenly, much uglier.

Our guests are all Egyptians, talking about the turmoil and their hopes right now for Egypt.

-Tom Ashbrook

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's supporters scuffle with anti-government protesters near the Tahrir (Liberation) Square, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP)

Guests:

Laura King, foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. She’s in Cairo.

Ashraf Hegazy, executive director of The Dubai Initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He grew up in Egypt and around the world. His mother was his country’s first female diplomat.

Mona Eltahawy, columnist for Qatar’s Al Arab newspaper, the Jerusalem Report, Denmark’s Politiken and Metro Canada. Her columns have also appeared in the Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune.

Farah Safaan, a 22 -year-old Egyptian student now living in New York and studying journalism at the New York Film Academy.

Ibrahim el-Hudayby, Egyptian activist and political analyst. Until two years ago, he was a young leader in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Latest news:

Pro- and anti-government supporters clash in Cairo

By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI and SARAH EL DEEB

Associated Press
CAIRO (AP) – Several thousand supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, including some riding horses and camels and wielding whips, attacked anti-government protesters Wednesday as Egypt’s upheaval took a dangerous new turn. In chaotic scenes, the two sides pelted each other with stones, and protesters dragged attackers off their horses.

The turmoil was the first significant violence between supporters of the two camps in more than a week of anti-government protests. It erupted after Mubarak went on national television the night before and rejected demands he step down immediately and said he would serve out the remaining seven months of his term.

Wednesday morning, a military spokesman appeared on state TV Wednesday and asked the protesters to disperse so life in Egypt could get back to normal. The announement could mark a major turn in the attitude of the army, which for the past two days has allowed protests to swell, reaching their largest size yet on Tuesday when a quarter-million peace packed into Cairo’s central Tahrir Square.

Nearly 10,000 protesters massed again in Tahrir on Wednesday morning, rejecting Mubarak’s speech as too little too late and renewed their demands he leave immediately.

In the early afternoon Wednesday, an Associated Press reporter saw around 3,000 Mubarak supporters break through a human chain of anti-government protesters trying to defend thousands gathered in Tahrir.

Chaos erupted as they tore down banners denouncing the president. Fistfights broke out as they advanced across the massive square in the heart of the capital. The anti-government protesters grabbed Mubarak posters from the hands of the supporters and ripped them.

The two sides began hurling stones and bottles and sticks at each other, chasing each other as the protesters’ human chains moved back to try to shield the larger mass of demonstrators at the plaza’s center.

At one point, a small contingent of pro-Mubarak forces on horseback and camels rushed into the anti-Mubarak crowds, swinging whips and sticks to beat people. Protesters retaliated, dragging some from their mounts, throwing them to the ground and beating their faces bloody.

Protesters were seen running with their shirts or faces bloodied, some men and women in the crowd were weeping. A scent of tear gas wafted over the area, but it was not clear who had fired it.

The army troops who have been guarding the square had been keeping the two sides apart earlier in the day, but when the clashes erupted they did not intervene. Most took shelter behind or inside the armored vehicles and tanks stationed at the entrances to Tahrir.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 26, 2015
Blogger and activist Pamela Geller speaks at a conference she organized entitled “Stop Islamization of America,” in New York on Sept. 11, 2012. (AP)

Two new books on free speech–one by a former New York Times correspondent, the other a Fox News contributor. They don’t see eye to eye—and tell us why.

May 26, 2015
The saola is an exceedingly rare mammal found in the mountains of Southeast Asia. (Wikicommons)

Endangered species and the search for one of the world’s rarest creatures deep into the wilds of central Laos.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 25, 2015
Violinist Regina Carter warms up in the On Point studio on Friday, October 17. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Regina Carter turns her jazz violin down home with her new album “Southern Comfort.”

 
May 25, 2015
New York Times columnist David Brooks explores a history of American moral character in his new book, "The Road to Character." Former US Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (R), is one of the subjects he profiles in his books. (David Burnett / AP)

New York Times columnist David Brooks on finding moral character in a self-preoccupied society.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment