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EGYPT/ The masked protesters: the Black-Block

SOCIETY-HOQOOKblack bloc facebook pageBy Fanny Ohier | Hoqook

They appeared on the 25th of January in Tahrir Square, Cairo, in Alexandria and other cities throughout Egypt. They wear black hoods and only black clothes in order to hide their identity. They call themselves the Black-Bloc.

The organization originally appeared in the 1970’s in Germany. They established in order to defend the squats threatened by the German government, all dressed in black so that they would avoid easily the surveillance cameras and remain anonymous.
On their videos, you can see them waving black flags with their initials on it « BB » or a capital « A », which refers to their affiliation to anarchist movements.

Read the article on Hoqook English.

 

The Egyptian group declared it does not have a Facebook page, though when searching for it, you can find there are several “Black Block Egypt” to which people suscribe massively. (here are some of the links http://www.facebook.com/blackblocegy http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blackblocegypt/192216397587743?fref=ts )

Because they hide their faces behind balaclavas and have no precise reinvidications but their will to produce chaos and bring down the current regime, they are subject to many hypothesis. Some say they are christians, others they are muslims. But they declare they are gathering more heterogeneous people. One member of the group told al-Yawm al-Sabi news website that the Black-Block included Ultras, activists from the leftist 6 April Youth Movement, and unaffiliated young people.

As you can see on this picture, their public image is not well defined neither. The first picture shows a man wearing a Vendetta mask, and holding a firearm in the crowd, in Cairo. Whereas on the second picture, you can see a member of the Black-Bloc saving an injured child from the clashes, in Cairo.
Some protesters also declared the Black-Block members had rescued a woman from harassment, but this source was not confirmed.

 
The movement has no clear goals neither. A video they released presented their main aims to the public. «We have been trying for years to liberate the human being to bring down corruption and tyranny. So we had to appear officially to confront the fascist tyrant (the Muslim Brotherhood) with their military hand. And we strongly warn against the intervention of the Interior Ministry. In this matter, for if it confronts us we will not be complacent in response. »

Though as Black-Bloc’s dress code is the main element differentiating the group from regular protesters, they have been imitated by other people who did not belong to the movement. Young people can easily dress in black and buy a black hood on Tahrir Square then go to the protests in name of the Black-Bloc and make chaos.

Some activist also pointed out that the way the Black-Block was demonstrating, without any rules, incited to more violence from their opponents. And this presupposition was confirmed lately by the declaration of Gamaa Islamiya. On Sunday the 27th, the former jihadi group made a statement they would create a vigilante group in order to make an opposition to the Black-Bloc.

Lately, the new Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah, who was appointed by Morsi on last November 2012, declared the police and the Army shall arrest Black-Bloc members. State-run news agency MENA reported prosecution’s spokesperson’s words according to which the anarchist group was charged with “terrorist activities”. Though no more precisions were given on these activities.

The Muslim Brotherhood accused them of having tried to set fire to the presidential palace, of attacking the Brotherhood’s headquarters, blocking the railways and participating to clashes with security forces, using fireweapons.

On Tuesday night, the Semiramis Hotel close to Tahrir Square was attacked by a group of thugs. Some accused the Black-Bloc of such an act, but they declared they did not take part in the assault. As the police lacked in providing security in Cairo, such attacks repeated and the following day, once again, the hotel called for the help of protesters in defending the building against thugs.

In Alexandria, Minya, Assiut and Fayoum police officers threatened to go on strike if they weren’t given efficient weapons against those who are creating « chaos ».

 

 

 

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