The 18 Days of Tahrirby
On January 26 Tahrir Square was under occupation. Hundreds of riot police bearing shields and batons formed cordons along the perimeter to prevent anyone suspected of being a demonstrator from approaching. Traffic was light, an unusual scene for one of Cairo’s busiest intersections. On the sidewalks, queues of young, scruffily dressed thugs received instructions from police to attack any crowd that dared assemble. The large, boisterous protest that had filled the square the previous night -- January 25 -- had been violently dispersed by security forces, as the interior minister, Habib al-‘Adli, warned that no further demonstrations would be tolerated. His command was enforced harshly.