Tahrir Square, epicenter of the earthquake that ousted Egypt’s western-backed dictator, Husni Mubarak, is quiet – for the moment.
There are banner-wavers, speakers, and youngsters milling about. But the by now world-famous square has a forlorn, leftover look, with more street people than revolutionaries. Violence crackles like static electricity.
Heavily armed riot and security police and their armored vehicles are massed nearby. In the ancient Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, I saw vanloads of government thugs waiting to attack demonstrators. I was almost arrested when I started taking photos.
Demonstrators at Tahrir showed me cans of expended tear gas that caused some deaths and many casualties. Whether they were the usual anti-riot CS gas, or the six times stronger, carcinogenic CR that can kill or blind, I could not tell. But the canisters were marked, “Made in the USA” and everyone knew it.