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A large protest is taking place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square today – and in other cities across Egypt – as Egyptians take to the streets frustrated at the slow progress on their revolutionary demands.
“Why do you want to enter the square?” The kid at the makeshift checkpoint at the entrance to Tahrir is, well, a kid, and suspicious that I have only my UK driving licence on me as ID.
“Er, I work over there,” I gesture vaguely across the square.
“You know, like, there.”
“OK, wait here.” He starts moving off, but is distracted by the arrival of a guy carrying a monstrous video camera: an argument ensues about whether he can take it in. Then someone turns up carrying a wooden chair on each shoulder, legs thrusting out at eye level. I’m late for work, and can’t be bothered to argue the toss, so slip away to find a different route.
Large demonstrations are planned across Egypt today, variously billed as Revolution First Friday, or the Friday of Persistence. In a nutshell, people are frustrated that six months after Mubarak’s ouster, little concrete progress has been made on fulfilling the demands of the revolution. The Egyptian blogger Zeinobia has a post that does a good job summarising those demands.
Various groups have come out in support of the demonstration, including the April 6th youth movement, the “We are all Khaled Said” Facebook page, some political parties and workers’ groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Salafists. Judging by the number of people pouring into the square before 11am this morning (most people will turn up after the noon prayers), it’s going to be a biggie.
There was no sign of any police or army presence. Hopefully everything will go down smoothly, and peacefully.