Cairo Lawyers Union building becomes safe haven

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
February 4, 2011 10:32

“Egyptian people are like the camel, we are patient, patient, but when we lose control we are very dangerous.”

2 minute read.



Rioting in Cairo's Tahrir Square

egypt riot mob 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Attorney Ahmed El-Assiuty was alive and well in Tahrir square on Thursday morning, less than a day after Mubarak supporters raided the heart of the protest movement, inciting clashes that left at least six dead and hundreds wounded.

El-Assiuty spoke to The Jerusalem Post with a defiant tone late Tuesday night at a building housing the Egyptian Attorneys' Union office only blocks from Tahrir square, vowing that he and the dozens of his colleagues inside would fight if need be to force Mubarak from power, and that no matter how long it takes they would stay until there mission is accomplished.

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“Egyptian people are like the camel, we are patient, patient, but when we lose control we are very dangerous”

The union office was a fortress on Tuesday, and dozens of attorneys and their sons were crowded inside together watching Al Jazeera. The lawyers kept the building open for 24 hours, letting female protesters from Tahrir square sleep safely free of charge, and keeping an all-night watch on the building carrying sticks and knives in hand to keep looters at bay.

El-Assiuty said that looters were on the prowl and that they were sure that at some point Mubarak would let loose the violent repercussions, a possibility he said he was more than ready for.

“We stay until he leaves, we don't care how long it takes, he has to leave now. If we could, we would hang him in the street.”

Moments later, two scooters drove by, each with three men waving Egyptian flags and chanting “Mubarak, Mubarak”.

A young man named Ahmed Faouz said “Mubarak pay them, he gives them money and drugs; hashish, Viagra, whatever.”

The lawyers and their compatriots gave an exceptionally warm welcome to the American wandering the streets several hours after curfew, and time and again asked for an inside take on Barack Obama and Hillary Clintons' motivations in regard to Egypt and the revolution.

The fortress had the feeling of a safe haven for people who were confident they could wait out a 30-year-dictator and had no intention whatsoever of leaving.

After the Mubarak supporters charged the square Wednesday night their fate became an object of great personal curiosity and on Thursday I made a call to El-Assiuty who answered immediately, shouting “hey Bill! Come to the square, we are all here!” as though nothing had happened. He said two colleagues were hurt in the clashes, but only lightly. When the time came to fight, they broke the pavement into rocks and hurled them at Mubarak's men, and according to El-Assiuty “we still aren't going anywhere.”

Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in 
Egypt


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