It started around 3am. At first I thought it was fireworks. There had been fireworks all over downtown Thursday night while my classmates and I were celebrating Sarah’s birthday on top of the Happy City Hotel, and it’s a sound I certainly got used to in my years in Amman.
Then I realized that I could still hear chanting and the distant roar of a crowd coming from Tahrir Square. There hadn’t been crowds on Tahrir at 3am since I got back from Jordan, and even though the curfew has been eased a bit more, it’s still in effect from 2am-5am, and usually pretty well enforced here in the downtown.
Gunfire, some of it semi-automatic, waxed and waned through the next couple hours. There wasn’t much to see from where we live, though at one point early on my roommates saw several hundreds of people come flooding across Falaky Square, running from Tahrir. Al-Jazeera was busy talking about how the US Congress avoided a government shut-down, and Twitter only revealed to me that “protesters are being cleared from the square” amid sounds of gunfire and possibly teargas, and these videos by YouTube user Kikhote:
After the first call to prayer near 5am, things went quiet again.
This noon, I can still hear chanting on Tahrir Square and traffic is unusually light on Tahrir Street in front of our apartment. The neighborhood watch is out again. Reuters and Al-Jazeera report that some but probably not all of the military officers who joined the protests last night were arrested by Central Security and the military, who had been promising court martial for any officers joining protests last night. Also, a video has emerged of the officers’ demands:
Their demands include: dissolution of the military government, appointment of a civil governing council, removal of Tantawi from leadership of the country, prosecution of the “symbols of corruption” (Mubarak, al-Adly, etc.), and of those who killed protesters during the revolution.