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contrary to common belief kefaia did not organize the zeitun church protest.
in fact kefaia did not organize anything since the candles protest, why this is so hard for reporters to grasp is beyond me, makes you wonder how accurate their reporting of anything is.
we arrived early to inspect the place since we had no chance to reconnaissance earlier, security forces where deployed all over Toman Bay street, five minutes later they block the two major streets that pass by the church.
in front of the church we see a small group of protesters cornered by security, I get a phone call from my mom I hear chants and slogans around her, but the protesters here are all quiet!!!
turns out we where split into at least two groups, none of us knew the area well, we had a hard time finding out where the other group was, security directed us through a long winding path when we finally arrived we discovered the two groups where only about 50 meters apart on the main street (Toman Bay).
so by the time I arrive the demo had already started, we where in the middle of a very busy intersection with big residential buildings overlooking us, families gathered in the balconies to watch us, some went down in the streets but police prevented them from joining.
We decided to use the flag of Egypt as the central visual theme of the demo, so we bought 50 small flags and a big one, I quickly distributed the 50 small flags, found out I forgot the large flag pole in the car :-(
This demos big box had the colors of the flag and the moto of the demo, we carried it around and near the end put it on top of a kiosk so it would remain visible for a while after the demo (same as we did in Sayeda).
This time Youth For Change had innovative posters and banners too (good to know we are not the only ones doing this), I'm very proud of our christian crosses and islamic star banner (manal did a good job with the colors kaman, but people still missed the point waaaa2 ;-(
I went outside the cordoned area to try an involve more people, we distributed leaflets about torture and URLs for blogs.
security tried to limit the space we had again, the few of us who where outside tried to encourage the demo to hit the street, after a few minutes of pushing security a smart amn markazi officer had the brilliant idea of giving the protesters more space on the curb instead of having them in the street.
that amn markazi officer was operating on his own, he fought with the plain clothsmen of state security and ordered them to move away from the protesters (they probably rank higher than him but he managed to enforce his will).
tab3an this absorbed the protesters tension, we had a very big space to protest in, and we suddenly got access to two buildings, some of the tenants went down to talk to us (some of them where forced out of their flats by the state security photographers who used their balconies to record all our moves).
at one point the officers decided to cut our water supply and separate us from direct contact with the audience, they tried to move the central security soldiers between us and the buildings, this lead to a small skirmish, the young protesters still boiling over what happened in lazoughly and the many new young faces from al ghad boiling over what happened in the court on tuesday jumped on the soldiers, the smart amn marakazy officer threw himself in the face of protesters and shouted at us not to touch his soldiers (that was the first time in my life I see an officer risking harm to protect his soldiers, whoever made the decision to send this guy knew what he was doing), we had to stop tab3an, but we negotiated with him and he ordered the troops back, we retained our water and audience supply.
outside few protesters where leading discussion circles with the people, after 30 minutes of discussion we got a group of National Democratic Party members two in expensive suites and one guy in a galabeya joining in the discussions and trying to convince us that there is no one on earth who can replace mubarak, that this country did not and will never have anyone better (yet somehow we are the ones who get accused of shirk), one of the protesters started pointing out at each and every male present including all the security officers and generals and saying how is he better than kol dol, he was effective and moved the people to murmur.
after failing to thwart us the NDP used a new technique, they engage you in a discussion to the point where you don't notice your surrounding then start pushing you away from protesters, we had to drag people back several times.
this is Zakareya Azmi's district, the guy is too smart to use thugs or deploy the middle finger.
one of the goals of this protest was to encourage more young christians to join us, I was told Al Kosh7 is still fresh in their minds, my crosses and stars banner was about Al Kosh7, we did attract at least one group of young christians who came down to talk to us.
they discussed the banner with me and said do you really know what happened there, do you really care? I told them the officers responsible are the same officers who tortured my dad while he was in prison, off course I care, everyone cares.
we explained how this movement is new, we explained how it is a loose coalition, they asked about the Islamists among us, and we explained how many of us disagree with them on almost everything but we share the same demands for democracy, the end of this regime and the end of torture, we explained how it is important for them to join us to balance the other forces and to make sure that whatever change we achieve reflects their concerns, how they need to accept the different views even if they completely disagree with them but they should also speak out and discuss what they don't agree with.
We listened alot and talked alot about how we organize and move, I invited them to check the blogs.
among the protesters I met two new but familiar faces, they where from shobra, from the people we talked to on the post protest discussion, I was so happy to see them with us I embraced one of them, al ghad radio interviewed them but I had no chance to hear it.
Al 3amal the islamists among us this time did a great job IMO in showing how islamists are not such a scary monster (I'm still a bit worried and I'm sure the christians are still worried but I believe they want freedom and democracy).
and to those who are wondering al 3amal are the only group that really adopted this protest and promoted it, the little speech they gave they cleared with us beforehand.
I saw my general again (ابن الوسخة مش هيحس على دمه و يحل عن المظاهرات بقى) I pointed him out again for the cameras, we chanted about state terrorism, informed him that we can see him and we are not about to forget his crimes, etc, he gave me a threatening look bas kosomien omo I'll have justice one day.
at the end of the protest while we where leaving our balconies audience cheered us, tab3an this raised morale and the girls gave a big za3'routa and we all clapped and shouted heeeeeeeeiiiiih.
after the protest dispersed we found security running in the direction of protesters, I'm not sure what happened exactly, seems security wanted us to walk in dark secluded roads to avoid binging more attention to us, some of the youth for change folks started chanting or raised their banners, so security attacked them and beat them hard, we went after them, tried to calm everyone down and get everyone into the metro so we could go home safe.
we went into one car with a bunch of youth for change, and al ghad youth, dunno who started this but we suddenly began singing kefaia kefaia kefaia, and singing sheikh imam songs, I got the big Egypt flag out and started waving it, we distributed leaflets.
it was very energetic, in the beginning we used to stop when the train stops to avoid attracting security's attention, but I thought this made us look like cowards and continued the singing until the end, we really felt free at that moment, and tab3an attracted alot of attention.
to the fucking sickos who think we do everything for media attention, there was no media in the metro, there was no one but fellow citizens, we did not care about media, or even the risks, we sang till we all lost our voices (I'm sure we sounded terrible) and we meant every word we sang.