Protests continue for the second day in a row in Egypt, despite a ban issued earlier today by the Ministry of Interior. The popular movement seems to have reached a new level today as reports coming out of the seaport town of Suez, speak of the use by the police of live ammunition. A witness called Aljazeera tonight from the city describing “very violent clashes and unprecedented use of force by anti riot police.” He also spoke of “total chaos and dozens killed”. This account has not been independently verified but the picture is pretty reminiscent of the situation in the Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid where, in the wake of the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed man who desperately set himself on fire to protest for his dignity, an uprising started 4 weeks ago and swept across the country leading to the toppling of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. If reports of killings of civilians are confirmed, Suez can well become Egypt’s Sidi Bouzid. The city has a particular place in the country’s popular imagination: it has always been the outpost; the city that has paid the heavy price during the campaigns that Israel waged against Egypt.
The Tunisian Revolution wouldn’t have succeeded without Tunisian people’s courage and sacrifices during their four weeks of relentless, now historical, uprising. Social media has played an undeniable role in coordinating protesters’ efforts in what Sami Ben Gharbia, co-editor of Nawaat.org and director of Global Voices Advocacy, calls a cascade of information, which eventually convinced more people –the middle class in particular– to join the movement.