THE TIANANMEN MOMENT

February 3, 2011 – 4:22 am

President Mubarak seems to have decided to crack down on the democracy movement, using not police or army troops but rather mobs of hoodlums and thugs. I’ve been spending hours on Tahrir today [February 2, 2011], and it is absurd to think of this as simply “clashes” between two rival groups. The pro-democracy protesters are unarmed and have been peaceful at every step. But the pro-Mubarak thugs are arriving in buses and are armed - and they’re using their weapons.

In my area of Tahrir, the thugs were armed with machetes, straight razors, clubs and stones. And they all had the same chants, the same slogans and the same hostility to journalists. They clearly had been organized and briefed. So the idea that this is some spontaneous outpouring of pro-Mubarak supporters, both in Cairo and in Alexandria, who happen to end up clashing with other side - that is preposterous.

It’s difficult to know what is happening, and I’m only one observer, but to me these seem to be organized thugs sent in to crack heads, chase out journalists, intimidate the pro-democracy forces and perhaps create a pretext for an even harsher crackdown.

The pro-democracy protesters are unarmed and have been peaceful at every step. But the pro-Mubarak thugs are arriving in buses and are armed - and they’re using their weapons.

I have no idea whether this tactic will work. But the idea that President Mubarak should make the case that he is necessary for Egypt’s stability by unleashing violence and chaos on his nation’s youth - it’s a sad and shameful end to his career. And I hope that the international community will firmly denounce this kind of brutality apparently organized by the government. - Nicholas Kristof

When I get access, I tweet at twitter.com/nickkristof and post at facebook.com/kristof.

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WATCH EVENTS IN EGYPT AND THE MIDDLE EAST UNFOLD
AT AL JAZEERA ENGLISH


Click here.

There’s also a spotlight page “Anger In Egypt” with regular updates.
Click here.

Neither the BBC nor CNN or any mainstream media has been willing to cover the Egypt crisis the way this news site can.

In April 2010, Al Jazeera English was taken off air in mio TV $ingapore, according to the official Al Jazeera English website.

If it’s not allowed into $ingapore, it must be GOOD JOURNALISM.

UPDATE January 31, 2011: Al Jazeera’s Egypt office has been ordered to close by the Egyptian Government. This is the second country after $ingapore to ask Al Jazeera to leave.

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