The Middle East Channel

Day of thugs

CAIRO — Feb. 2 actually started out as a pretty good day for the anti-government protesters still massed in Tahrir Square. The usual festive mood and sense of community reigned after another chilly night outdoors. When Internet service abruptly returned around noon, the good news spread throughout the crowd. It was taken as a sign ...

Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

CAIRO — Feb. 2 actually started out as a pretty good day for the anti-government protesters still massed in Tahrir Square. The usual festive mood and sense of community reigned after another chilly night outdoors. When Internet service abruptly returned around noon, the good news spread throughout the crowd. It was taken as a sign that the government’s grip was weakening and the tide was turning toward a resolution of the weeklong standoff with President Hosni Mubarak.

That turned out to be a gross miscalculation. By nightfall, the streets around Tahrir were littered with wounded protesters who were frightened, enraged, shell shocked, and desperately short of medical supplies.

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