Photo by Felice Gelman
The internet has come back up, largely I think so that financial transactions can be processed. People are lined up at ATMs everywhere. Also out are pro-Mubarak forces, vastly smaller than the anti-Mubarak forces. The first rally I saw this morning was about 200 people in Talat Harb Sq. about 1/4 mi. from Tahrir Square. All men and very threatening. They had nothing to say other than, "We love Mubarak. He gives Egypt everything."
The group was slowly joined by some shopkeepers whose business has been hurt badly by the protests. The pro-Mubarak types seem to be trying very hard to create a confrontation, and this is what everyone in Tahrir that I talked to tells me they are worried about.
Mubarak's speech saying he will not resign, but will make some constitutional changes and will not run again has upped the ante. Protesters in Tahrir Square were outraged and told me it was an insult to the Egyptian people. Now, for example, someone from the Popular Committee for Change told me it is no longer enough for Mubarak to go into exile. He must be tried and held accountable for the 500+ deaths of demonstrators. Others felt his speech was to create a split in the united front demanding regime change.
Of course people are tired of the disruption -- no money, no fuel, no work, no pay, and having to stay up all night guarding their homes -- and are eager to bring this to an end. But, the crowd in Tahrir overnight was far larger than usual, and the crowd this morning was much larger and building. No matter what, a political process has been unleashed in Egypt that will be very difficult to turn back. The smaller demonstrations in the suburbs, the political signs on the windows of cars all point to this. As corroboration is the very observable fact that the anti-Mubarak protest is organic and grassroots. People are sitting in the streets with pieces of cardboard making their own signs and discussing the slogans as they go. The pro-Mubarak supporters are carrying Egyptian flags and pre-printed signs.Now pro-Mubarak protesters have broken in to Tahrir and have started attacking demonstrators with stones and sticks. It's getting very ugly. This is what the protesters have been fearing for days.