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Entries in Pro-Mubarak Protestors (1)

Wednesday
Feb022011

Media Becomes a Target as Egypt Protests Turn Violent

ABC News' Christiane Amanpour trying to speak to pro-government protesters in Cairo. The encounter disintegrated into an attack on her and her cameraman, with rocks being thrown and shouts of "We hate America." Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- The worst clashes in a week erupted Wednesday in Cairo with pro-Mubarak mobs rushing Tahrir (Liberation) Square in an effort to wrestle the territory from the anti-government demonstrators.

It was a dynamic change. After five days of peaceful protest, suddenly it was an all-out battle. This did not look to be a spontaneous eruption. It appeared to be deliberately orchestrated political theater, planned and organized bid by pro-Mubarak forces, taking place on a stage, Tahrir Square, in full view of the world audience. It was an apparently a bid for control of the territory that anti-government demonstrators had occupied for more than a week.

Tensions erupted on a day that had begun with some improvements. The Internet was restored and curfew hours were shortened. But even Wednesday morning, before the clashes, the jubilation of the last few days had already given way to an overwhelming sense of fear about how this is now going to go.

In Tahrir Square, protesters told ABC News reporters two things. Some were saying that President Hosni Mubarak's announcement Tuesday night, in which he announced that he would not seek re-election, was not enough and that he has to go now. Others said that although they have protested against him, they want him to leave in an orderly fashion, with dignity. A majority, it seemed, were concerned that if he left quickly, the economy and institutions could collapse, resulting in an explosion of crime and violence.

If Mubarak leaves precipitously, there could be real chaos. Mubarak's party had been sending a message on state TV regarding moves to restore law and order. The army, in a new statement on television, had urged the protesters to go home, "for the love of Egypt."

Wednesday, as ABC News journalists and crew were trying to film on the bridge into Tahrir Square, an angry mob of pro-Mubarak protesters surrounded them and chased them into their car, shouting that they hated them and America. Some of the protesters kicked in the car doors and broke the windshield as the journalists drove away.  Journalists from several news outlets, including CNN's Anderson Cooper, reported being attacked by the mob of protestors.

As night fell, nobody was certain what would come next. There are fears that now the military and the people may now be headed for a showdown. The military amended its earlier request that "everyone go home." Now they have issued an order: "Leave Tahrir Square."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio