Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Joys of a Police State- #6April


As I walked to the bus this morning, I noticed that there was almost three times more police presence downtown than usual. Not only was the riot police out with their huge vans for rounding up people but also very intimidating looking officers with brand new uniforms and AK-7 paid for by U.S. tax dollars were standing every few feet down the street. These guys weren't the usual scruffy street kid wearing a hand me down police uniform that I usually see on the street. They stood erect with brand new embroidered uniforms and serious looks on their faces as they held on to their guns. Plain clothes cops also watched the street from their cars. My first thought was that someone had called a bomb threat to AUC.  Later in the day, I received an email alert from the U.S. embassy:

Date:   April 6, 2010
To:     The American Community
From:   Embassy of the United States, Cairo

Subject:        Warden Message No 12: Demonstrations in the Downtown Area-April 6, 2010.
This warden message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Egypt that demonstrations are planned by opposition political groups for today, April 6, commencing as early as 9:00am.  According to reports, the opposition rally will gather near Abdin Palace and proceed through the Tahrir Square area and culminate in front of the People’s Assembly complex.  Although there is no information on the number of protesters expected, any gathering will likely cause significant traffic disruption along and near the anticipated route.  There is already a heavy police presence, and any gathering has the potential for confrontation and violence.

U.S Citizens are advised to avoid the affected area.  Americans should anticipate lengthy traffic detours, delays and disruptions, and should plan their routes and travel times accordingly.  The American Embassy reminds all U.S. Citizens that even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  In addition, due to the large police presence, the U. S. Embassy reminds U.S. Citizens of the Egyptian Government prohibition on photographing police and security activities which are considered sensitive national security element

Demonstrations are illegal under Egypt's three-decade old emergency law. Usually, I'd be out with my camera documenting the days events but even I am showing restraint. AP reports that "security forces were especially sensitive to members of the media attempting to record the demonstration and went after them. Several heavyset plainclothes policemen tackled and beat an American freelance photographer when he tried to take pictures of the rally, taking his camera and briefly detaining him when he asked for it back....Media crews were also attacked and photographers' cameras were confiscated."


Anonymous said...

please be careful.

Jean said...

Please, Americans in Egypt, take as much videos and pictures as u can for every protests you witness in egypt. Even though they may try to take the camera, you can protect yourself with your American passport coz the security forces in egypt are not allowed to detain americans, especially for more than some hours. You will have a very important material that you can sell to media all over the world. Some egyptians managed to take pictures and broadcasted them on youtube. But, we need your help coz the egyptians have less rights than you in egypt. So, please help by taking videos. You have tiny and small cameras and wonderful techniques in the US. If you get them, u can take pictures without even being seen by the security.

thank u

Malikha said...

Dear Frenchie: Help!! I am looking for a hair salon that can give me a Halle Berry short short cut. Any Ideas where in Cairo I can find one? Oh, do you know where I can possibly purchase hair texturizer for a curly perm look? lol! Your hair partner, Malikha

Frenchie said...


My roommate has a short, pixie cut. it's very sexy! she recommends:

Beauty Salon Butterfly
23 A Rd. 206
Maadi, Cairo
02-25195375, 010-5000422

Anonymous said...

Guys am from nigeria, presently in cairo and in desperate need of hair texturizer.does anyone know where I can get one? The people here are quite hostile.

Frenchie said...

You can find them at city stars, the huge mall and most of the pharmacies in maaadi.

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