Cairo uprising: no signs of letting up

Three more people have reportedly been killed in Cairo street battles. Clashes between protesters and police near Tahrir Square have flared up with renewed intensity as clouds of tear gas linger overhead.

­RT’s correspondent Paula Slier at the scene says dozens have been injured in the last few hours. “The situation is going from bad to worse”, Paula tweets on her blog.

She reports there are many injured people and ambulances are struggling to get through crowds with chaos and confusion in the street. “Looks like police firing live ammunition in Mohammed Mahmoud Street,” she also tweeted.

 More than 300 protesters have reportedly been arrested by police.

RT’s correspondent reports that fires are burning as protesters surge forward throwing Molotov cocktails at police. Huge crowds continue to clash with military forces in Mohammed Mahmoud Street, which links Tahrir Square with the Interior Ministry building. Protesters are throwing stones at security forces. 

Paula Slier says that soldiers are trying to disperse demonstrators with tear gas. According to her reports, some troops are trying to stop security forces from firing tear gas, which is “incredibly strong”.

 Paula reports that this tear gas smells very different to the type used back in February and “creates some unusual burning sensations.” She says that there are stories that some of the protesters who have inhaled large amount of tear gas are coughing up blood.

People say it is the riot police who are firing the tear gas
People say it is the riot police who are firing the tear gas

Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa has called on police to lay down arms and to stop firing at  protesters and civilians. His calls have been echoed in the international community where countries are urging both sides to show restraint and calm.

According to Paula Slier, people also keep arriving at Tahrir Square, with bigger crowds than yesterday.

 Volunteer protesters are trying to maintain control at the square by checking passports and IDs.

Demonstrators are calling for a "Million Man march" on Friday, Paula tweets. 

This comes 24 hours after Egypt's ruling military council pledged to stage presidential elections and transfer power to a civilian government by July 2012. But people seem to be reluctant to believe that the military is serious about making any kind of real changes.

However, as Paula Slier reports, outside Cairo city center, life is pretty much the same as usual. The majority of Egyptians do support what is going on there, she says, but some are skeptical whether or not the protesters will be able to achieve their goals.

Political analyst and author Dr Omar Nashabe told RT that while Egypt is facing high unemployment and troubled economy the ruling military is continuing with the same practices that were used by the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak.

This revolution is from the Egyptian people and today in Tahrir Square the Egyptians are saying that they want a change, a better government. They don’t want just the removal of specific individuals. They want a change in the whole system,” he said.

The political analyst believes that as Egypt is at the heart of the Arab world, the events on Tahrir Square could “push other people all around the Arab world to actually move towards rebelling against this standard of living that does not meet the minimum level to protect human dignity.”

The interests of the Egyptian people do not always meet the interests of the West, Nashabe pointed out. “It suits the Americans specifically to have a military council government in Egypt that will maintain American policy and will protect American interests, especially when it comes to Israel.”

Ramzy Baroud, editor of the online magazine the Palestine Chronicle, believes that there is a complete lack of trust in Egypt at the moment.

“There is a double lack of trust here – of the military council and of the remnants of the Mubarak regime, but also of all political parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Ordinary Egyptians are conscious and wary of the strong bond that unites the military with the US government. “They are now certain that the military cannot be trusted in leading Egypt in its post-revolutionary phase.”

The brutality of the latest crackdown on protesters shows “that the life of ordinary Egyptian has never been revalued since the revolution.

They are still being considered kind of unimportant, irrelevant, immaterial beings,” he said.