Pro-Democracy groups prepare for another million man march in Egypt, “to protect the revolution and its demands.” Starting from different parts in Cairo, the march is expected to gain strength after midday prayers.
Simultaneously Pro-Mubarak groups will be demonstrating to seek forgiveness and to give credence to Mubarak’s achievements in a near 3 decade rule.
Those marching for Mubarak would be dressed in Black, while those marching for Democracy will adorn white.
However, “It’s not the kind of revolution people were expecting or the foreign media is portraying.” writes Salman Ahmed a Pakistani working at a textile spinning factory, in the port city of Alexandria.
I have been in touch with him, and others like him, since the start of the Unrest in Egypt. The following is based on what he has shared over the last 48 hours.
“On 14th Feb 2011 some of our labor (About 200) misguided by outside forces protested for their rights in front of the factory. They detained us inside the factory and held us hostage for about 24 hours without food and water. The mob was violent and injured one of our Pakistani employees by throwing rocks.”
He adds, “they tried to sabotage the factory and vehicles.”
His messages explain that 55 Pakistanis trapped in Alexandria who were legally admitted by the previous Egyptian Government, are concerned for their safety. The protest is no longer a call for Mubarak to go. He writes: “One of the slogans these days for the protester’s is “Egypt for Egyptians”
“Yesterday I saw 15 foreign workers from Bangladesh badly beaten by an angry mob shouting this slogan. I can imagine their condition considering all the doctors and medical staff on strike”
“Law and order situation in Egypt is still volatile and with no police force on the streets and army entangled in too many places; it’s not a safe place for foreigners any more.”
“It seems that Egyptian protesters came to protest for a cause and after that cause [stood] eliminated they just want to continue the protest.”
Salman adds, that while the Pakistani Embassy has called on the Egyptian Army many times, they have received no response from their side. “One of their army officers clearly told us that army cannot protect you in this situation.”
While Salman has managed to escape from Alexandria (currently living in Cairo), he is concerned the situation could worsen for the 50 or so Pakistanis, still trapped in their houses with nowhere to escape and “no money in their pockets as banks remain closed since 28th of January.”
In his most recent communication, this Pakistani stuck in Egypt adds; “Almost all [of] Egypt is on strike. Factories, banks, Airports, Hospitals and even Police are demonstrating. They have ignored repeated calls from the Army.”
“Our [Pak] Embassy helped us a lot during the situation and gave us some contacts of high ranking officials of Army but they clearly told us that you have to resolve this situation yourself.”
What started out with one goal, has now lost direction. “It’s not the kind of revolution people were expecting or the foreign media is portraying. Some dark forces are manipulating the people power for their personal benefits.”
“Pro-Mubarak and Pro-Democracy demonstrators have organized parallel demonstrations and once again there are chances of violent clashes. Army is not doing anything except for making appeals which everyone is ignoring.”
At present Salman is safe; I cannot say the same for those still stuck in Alexandria. While most are quick to train their cameras and mic’s elsewhere as soon as the dust storm stops, I will try to keep updating on the situation as seen by regular people inside Egypt.
For updates on how this story of Pakistani’s stuck in Egypt unfolds follow this blog or my posts on twitter.com/ovaisjafar
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