Friday, 3 June 2011

Riots in Ramses

I just got back from the inauguration of the Solidarity with Arabs Revolution forum at the Commercial Club near Ramses. I captured a couple of very interesting speakers on my flip. Passion for the Egyptian revolution amongst the international delegates was infectious.

I left at around 9.30 p.m. planning to walk to Ramses when I found out that a riot was going on there. I was told by someone standing outside the conference hall that it was related to a bus driver who'd apparently died in police custody. It triggered a riot. I saw security forces dressed in riot gear rush to the scene. I was surprised to see them, but apparently they're back. I could feel tension and excitement mount in the air. A couple of freelance journalists tried to run closer to the scene to get some shots. I sensed the riot was going to spread, so I decided to leave. My battery had run out and I felt it would be a mistake to walk into a situation like that without proper precautions. The other thing was, this was the first time I'd experienced a riot in Egypt. I hadn't been here during the 18 day uprising and I hadn't built the kind of immunity that Egyptians would have built by now.

I walked to the metro station, paid LE 1 for my ticket and decided to get into the women's only compartment. As I stood there, the only unveiled woman in the compartment, I felt like Cairo had really changed since I last used  the metro over 15 years ago.

I also felt like this was going to be an eventful summer.

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