Tear gas on the streets of Cairo

CAIRO, Egypt — Only time will tell if Tuesday’s “Day of Rage” protests in Egypt produce the sort of long-lasting social upheaval that would threaten President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign. But whatever the long-term outcome, the protests have already moved the Arab world’s most populous nation into uncharted waters, proving that nothing in the Middle ...

MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

CAIRO, Egypt — Only time will tell if Tuesday’s “Day of Rage” protests in Egypt produce the sort of long-lasting social upheaval that would threaten President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign.

But whatever the long-term outcome, the protests have already moved the Arab world’s most populous nation into uncharted waters, proving that nothing in the Middle East may be the same again after the waves of civil unrest that drove Tunisian dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power in one breathtaking month.

For starters, there was the sheer size of the turnout, which was larger than anything I’ve seen in 13 years of covering Egyptian protests. Tuesday was the first time I’ve ever been in a situation where the protesters potentially outnumbered riot police on the ground.

Read more.

Ashraf Khalil is a Cairo-based journalist. This article is an edited excerpt of his book, Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation.

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