As we fought droves of people, while we made our way into Tahrir square, one thing was apparent, Revolution was in the air. Throngs of Egyptians waving flags and chanting slogans united together for peaceful change marched through to Tahrir Square. As we approached our entrance, I was frisked, and had my passport checked. Contrary to my preconceptions, the civilians checking passports and clearing people of weapons welcomed me profusely as they saw I had my cameras with me.
Once we had entered Tahrir square, it was nearly impossible to move. Men and women, Muslim and Christian completely united anticipated Mubarak’s speech with baited breath. I couldn’t help but notice that on every light post a man or woman wielding an Egyptian flag shouted chants to the on coming foot traffic to increase excitement. Hordes of men carrying drums gathered throughout the square singing songs for their revolution.
Movement through Tahrir square was severly restricted soley by the shear amount of people gathered to stand for the immediate resignation of Hosni Mubarak. Signs and banners calling for Mubarak’s departure of office dotted the square as Egyptian flags flew high and anticipation boiled.
After struggling to move throughout the square, we made it to the central most point that we could. A makeshift stage with a PA broadcast songs of hope and praise for the protesters. The time was now! All of a sudden a deathly silence swept Tahrir Square, the speech was on. Not being able to speak Arabic, I drew close attention to the reactions of the audience, nothing good was happening. Men started waving their shoe’s towards the speakers in resentment to the message that was being broadcasted.
In Mubarak’s statement, he proclaimed that he would not resign until his original departure date, the emergency laws would not be abolished or even relaxed, and that he would not be influenced or intimidated by western authorities. Although he may not be intimidated by western authorities, I have heard from a secured source that Mubarak was evacuated from the Presidential Palace and flown out of the country. Mubarak’s speech had been pre-recorded, and only aired, once officials knew that Mubarak had been secured in an unknown location.
After the speech you could feel a somber wave roll over Tahrir square. There was no more cheering, there was only dissapointed men and women making their departure from Tahrir. As we made our way to the Kasr Al Nile bridge we were hearded like cattle into small corridors. Rolls of razor wire layed on the ground as makeshift barricades were trampled as dissapointed protesters made their way home. Tanks and armed military guards lined the streets often waving to protesters who greeted them. As we made our way onto the bridge, street vendors selling popcorn, nuts, sodas and waters lined the sidewalk; I was told this was Egyptian Revolution munchies.
We made our way across the Kasr Al Nile bridge and headed northbound towards the 6th October Bridge, made famous by the large protest marches. We were nearly home. As we traversed the streets, members of our group made their way to their respective homes. Around 2 am we arrived back at the apartment, I was exhausted. After nearly 72 hours of travel to Cairo, including a 20 hour layover in Frankfurt, I made my way to bed. The rest was history.
According to sources nearly 1 million people had descended on Tahrir Square, into what was one the largest events that I had ever been in attendance.