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New force in Egyptian protests arrives on 2nd anniversary

ByMELANIE LIDMAN
January 26, 2013 21:40

CAIRO - In the aftermath of clashes on Friday night to mark the two year anniversary of the January 25 Revolution in Cairo's Tahrir Square, pundits and politicians focused much attention on a new group of violent protesters. The group calls themselves the black bloc, possibly in connection with other black bloc anarchy groups around the world. For the first time on Friday, teenagers and young people came out in force dressed head-to-toe in black, many wearing black balaclava ski masks.

The term black bloc began in Germany in the 1970s with a group of anarchists and has been used loosely in a number of other instances since then, including the anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999 and the G20 summit in Toronto in 2010.

In Egypt, members of the black bloc refused to speak to the media. “No one knows anything about them, they appeared three or four days ago,” said Adel, an Arabic literature teacher who saw them in Tahrir on Friday for the first time. “Some people think they are ‘ultras’ but they issued a statement on Friday saying ‘we’re not ultras, we’re not anyone.’” However, some wore ski masks with the insignia of the El-Ahly soccer team.

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