In a day marked for commemorating the struggle against European colonizers, tens of thousands of Egyptians, inspired by the popular uprising in Tunisia, took to the streets Tuesday to protest the iron-fisted policies of the police state. Ironically called “Police Day,” the January 25 national holiday had been created in tribute to the heroism of 50 Egyptian policemen killed by British forces in 1952 in the city of Ismailia after they refused to surrender their weapons to their European colonizers. But today’s demonstrations spewed anger against President Hosni Mubarak’s increasingly authoritarian, 29-year-long regime.
Thousands of protesters clashed with the police in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday as anti-government activists energized by events in Tunisia sought to transform Police Day, a national holiday, into a “day of revolution.” The demonstrators quickly swelled in number as they snaked through winding streets and converged on the central Tahrir Square, where they met security forces in full riot gear and a water cannon truck. Clashes began after protesters jumped on the truck and tried to take control of it.