A million person protest has been called for in Tahrir on 22 November, and reports are that numbers today exceed those of the protest that took place on Friday. Today’s march is called a day to save the nation.
Chanting seems unceasing as people call over and over again for the end of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) that came to power after the resignation of Hosni Mubarak on 11 February 2011.
The injured are being moved through a human corridor to makeshift field hospitals. One doctor interviewed on al-Jazeera explained that the tear gas being used appears to be more potent and dangerous than during the 25 January uprising. The symptoms of those affected are deadly serious and field doctors report an unexpectedly high fatality rate from the gas.
Nevertheless, the numbers in Tahrir are swelling. Marches originating from different areas of Cairo are arriving to the already packed square. An army officer who has joined the demonstration is being embraced and cheered.
The crowds are waiting for a rumoured address from Tantawi as the parallels with the protests against Mubarak seem to become more vivid. It is unlikely that anything but a substantial offer from Tantawi will appease the protesters. Each of Mubarak’s speeches only served to incite the protesters further as he offered too few concessions far too late and also failed to apologise for the violence used against the protesters.
So far Tantawi and his SCAF seem to have repeated the mistakes made by Mubarak. Tantawi’s address will suggest whether he will continue to follow Mubarak’s path. And we know how that path ended.