On Tuesday, tens of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in Cairo and Suez, protesting the administration of President Hosni Mubarak late into the night. The protestors were gassed and beaten.
Protestors were eventually driven out of Tahrir—"Liberation"—Square around 1 a.m. by authorities using water cannons and tear gas. The Guardian has an excellent, frequently-updated record of what happened (which they'll do again today), while The Awl's Gordon Reynolds wrote an amazing first-person account of the scene:
The fire tank had not advanced more than 30 yards before a young Egyptian sprinted up the front of the vehicle and scaled up the side. He proceeded to climb up to the top of the tank, inciting ovations from the crowd... 200 protesters dropped to their knees in unison and began to pray while the rest of the crowd looked into the faces of Egyptians staring at the scene from high above in their apartment windows. "Who will be the next hero?" they chanted as they looked up. Then they burst into a new chant: "Come join us, come join us!"
Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency and hoped-for opposition candidate, told al Jazeera English, "This is the beginning of an uprising. I will be going back to Egypt soon."
This video has been doing the rounds thanks in part to a scene about a minute in, when a single protestor approaches one of the water-spewing fire trucks and stands in front of it:
It's an odd, disconcerting rhyme to the iconic image of a lone protestor facing down tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989. And, yes, we all got an inspiring image out of those protests—but they didn't work out very well for the people involved, in the end. Is this Egypt's "Tiananmen Square moment"? Let's hope not.
More pictures of the protests:
[All images via AP]