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Cairo report: Back to the Square

University Post contact will try, again, to sneak past ring of Mubarak supporters

Yesterday had University of Cairo graduate, Saleh Fekry Mohamed, attempting in vain to reach the contested Tahrir Square. In an hour’s time he will leave his flat to try again, armed with bottles of water and food for fellow pro-democracy protesters, and a recharged mobile phone.

Until then he reflects on the escalation of violence in Cairo to the University Post.

»Until yesterday Wednesday 2 February it was peaceful. But then, suddenly, the area around the square was surrounded by these people with knives and swords. They were pro-Mubarak supporters, and they were threatening people and taking people’s money,« he says.

Read an earlier interview with Saleh from the contested Tahrir Square area here.

Stopped by Egyptian army

Saleh himself, a Cairo university friend of a University of Copenhagen student from Slovenia, has been holding out at the Tahrir Square for over a week, with intermittent returns to his home for supplies.

Wednesday he managed somehow to sneak past the suddenly appeared lines of pro-Mubarak supporters.

»The pro-Mubarak supporters were intimidating. I was scared,« he admits, adding that »luckily, they could not recognise who was who.«

At the Square he was stopped by an Egyptian army cordon, and was unable to proceed.

»I have a good friend in the Square, and I have been trying to reach him since but with no luck,« he says.

Check out Saleh’s photo report here

Mubarak will manipulate

Other media report Thursday that gunfire has been heard around the Tahrir Square killing several people. Egypt’s health minister says five people have died in fighting between pro- and anti-government protesters.

Saleh, like many others in Cairo has access to CNN and BBC world news at home, and can follow events unfold. He notes the difference between the international and the official Egyptian TV coverage of the event. The government-supportive Egyptian TV urges pro-democracy protesters to go home.

»But I believe we have to finish what we have started. If we allow Mubarak to stay his term, he will use these extra months in power to use the media against us,« he says.

Not here to fight

Now Saleh prepares for what could be a dangerous walk through the streets.

»To be honest I don’t know whether I will break through,« he says, before adding:

»But if I do, I feel safe when I am in the square among people who have been peacefully demonstrating. Until yesterday there was no violence, there was singing, dancing. We are not here to fight,« he says.

Check out Saleh’s photo report here

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