The PA also bussed in the tailandeen from the northern parts of the West Bank, as is their custom whenever they are in dire need of supporters. I hurried through Ramallah today, already late for a workshop, but I didn't need to look twice to see what was going on. Traffic was horrific; the incompetent policemen had closed off a road or two and ignored traffic lights completely, waving their arms to signal the movement of vehicles. The Muqata'a was busy as Abbasshole made his fighting speech to the masses, namely that the Papers were forgeries and that he has nothing to hide. Around the Manara, a sparse crowd milled about, while some idiot shouted threats to Al Jazeera next to boy, no more than nine years old, holding up this poster:
The bigger crowd were in front of the City Center building, where Al Jazeera's offices are located and had already been broken into and vandalized. I walked on, torn between derisive amusement and irritation. Al Jazeera are no saints. In fact, some of their motives and tactics are questionable. But this is NOT about Al Jazeera, nor is it about the British newspaper The Guardian. This is about the full documentation of years and years of failed collusive negotiations between Israel and the PA. This is about bringing into light what many people have suspected about the PA, from happily offering unprecedented concessions, to killing Palestinians in order to maintain "order", to having previous knowledge-at least 6 months prior-to Operation Cast Lead, to employing their American-trained, Egyptian funded, Jordanian based "security forces" to crack down on any political dissent, etc etc. So for people to come out in support of the PA is an action befitting a gormless ogre. For people to defend the PA is unreasonable and irrational. The stage is set, the dominoes are quivering.
Speaking of which, tens of thousands of Egyptians marched through the streets today demanding the end of Hosni Mubarak's 28 year reign. It is toted as the biggest demonstration in a generation.
"We have never seen anything like this before – it is the first day of the Egyptian revolution," said Karim Rizk, one of those who joined multiple rallies in the capital. Apparently taken by surprise at the size of protests, police initially stood back and allowed demonstrators to occupy public squares and march through the streets, an unprecedented move in a country where political gatherings are strictly outlawed and demonstrations are normally quickly shut down by security forces. "We have taken back our streets today from the regime and they won't recover from the blow," claimed Rizk.
Shouting "down with the regime" and "Mubarak, your plane is waiting," protesters demanded the end of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship and said they were fighting back against decades of poverty, oppression and police torture. The protests had been declared illegal by the authorities and were met with a fierce police response, as tear gas and water cannon were fired into the crowd and rocks were hurled into the air by both demonstrators and security forces.