Our source on the ground at Tahir Square in Cairo, Egypt is telling us that Cairo police are reportedly encouraging protesters and saying they will protect the public from any Muslim Brotherhood government backlash.
Egyptians held a June 30, 2013 protest calling for the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood president Morsi.
This protest brought a promise from the military that if the “people’s demands” were not met within 48 hours, they would step in to presumeably remove the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi from power.
The streets are still packed with people and Tahrir Square is overflowing with protesters. “It’s unbelievable,” Walid Ibrahim says from Tahrir Square where he’s been camping out for three days.
Ibrahim was our guide when we visited Egypt in early April and spent 18 days in Tahrir Square during the 2011 protests.
“I’ve seen people I haven’t seen in two years [at the protest].” Ibrahim continued, “this regime is going down.”
The expectation of the general Egyptian protesters in Tahir Square is that if the Brotherhood steps down, the Egyptian high court will preside over the country until a new election is conducted.
The Brotherhood’s headquarters was reportedly overrun and looted, though Ibrahim says the the structure is now well protected and the Brotherhood is shooting protesters with bird-shot loaded shotguns.
Word on the street is Morsi and the Brotherhood are on their way out or risk arrest by the Egyptian military, but that doesn’t mean people expect them to go peacefully. Protesters expect the Brotherhood to infiltrate public demonstrations and create chaos among protesters, a tactic we saw in April.
To create chaos among protesters the Brotherhood will start skirmishes within groups that can escalate and spread. But as of Monday evening in Cairo, protesters say the scene is optimistic, excited and peaceful.
When we were in Egypt three months ago the situation was dire. People were fed up with the Muslim Brotherhood regime, frustrated by its similarities to Mubarak’s rule and ready for another change.
It looks like they may be getting that change sooner than expected.
This is the headquarters for the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo before yesterday's riots. The Brotherhood is responsible for law and order throughout Egypt.
Crime in Egypt has reached unprecedented highs following the uprising that toppled former president Mubarak from power.
Police officers sleep inside of a large transport truck near the Brotherhood's headquarters. Many Egyptians believe if they call the police, there will be no response or help.
Though Egypt's interior ministry promised Cairo's low-ranking policemen it would purchase 100,000 new 9mm pistols in February, none have so far reached the ranks.
Many 'beat cops' still carry outdated weapons like this 1958 Hungarian pistol, lack adequate ammunition, and refuse to carry issued sidearms on patrol for fear of being robbed.
This former Cairo policeman left the force after getting shot in the street by a criminal wielding a homemade gun.
Crudely-fashioned firearms are often cobbled together by metal workers, like this man, who earns extra income selling guns on the black market.
The Brotherhood permits illegal gun sales to thrive, and this market is home to Cairo's largest selection of black market firearms.
This man could do nothing when gangs came and broke the massive custom window in his family's Cairo shop. Replacing it would cost more than he can afford.
Blackouts are common in Cairo, despite rising electricity rates. This one hit during my dinner with a family in Dar al-Salam outside Cairo.
During the blackout, our host showed us a newspaper article discussing the sale of electricity by Egypt to Gaza.
There are those who don't even enjoy basic electricity, like this woman who lives in the dark in Dar al-Salaam.
Employment and tourism have all but disappeared. This shop owner tells us he sells nothing and only dusts all day.
These three men all hold college degrees but are unable to find jobs in their field. Having a family remains a distant, impossible dream.
This woman collects trash to take to a recycling centre for a living. People get by however they can.
Cairo's notorious traffic has reached new heights and gridlock is common. The World Bank estimates traffic jams cost the country $8 billion a year, or about 4% of its GDP.
The Cairo subway skips stops, suffers from power outages, and is bogged down with protesters and thugs.
Public services like road maintenance are often non-existent. This mound of dirt and rock blocked an entire lane of a major thoroughfare for days.
There are up to 50,000 homeless youths still roaming Cairo. Forced to steal and beg to survive, they significantly add to the crime problem.
Without identification the unwanted kids cannot enroll in school, receive medical care, or work. The police can arrest them at any time, and they often do.
Drug use has reached epidemic proportions. Tramadol, a narcotic-like pain reliever allegedly cut with amphetamines, is popular and easily found. We bought this strip from a Cairo police officer.
Hash is also big business for crime families here. Prices are low, demand is high and the cash it brings in funds crime throughout Cairo.
Just outside of the Supreme Courthouse, Egyptians protest the presidential appointment of a Muslim Brotherhood member as the country's top prosecutor.
Protesters are also outraged that Brotherhood president Morsi declared no court is authorised to overturn the president's decisions.
... and everything in between, are sold on the street, undercutting local retailers, and poor residents inevitably choose the cheaper option.
The lack of government oversight also shows up in Cairo's dangerous disregard for building codes and construction permits.
It's been just over two decades since a major earthquake in Egypt killed more than 500 people, injured more than 6,500, and destroyed more than 8,300 buildings in Cairo.
A major study by Potsdam University predicts Cairo can expect a major quake every 21 years. Yet flimsy structures like these have been built in the last couple of years.
The drive to start a family and have children is pervasive in Egyptian society, but young men cannot afford to marry, let alone raise children.
The Brotherhood has proposed laws reducing Egypt's legal age of marriage to 13-years-old. Some party officials indicate marriage at nine years of age is perfectly acceptable.
Temporary marriages between young women and foreigners lasting often just days have become increasingly common. Desperate parents sell daughters for as little as $450.
And the women available are no longer just eastern Europeans. Escorts visit Egypt from across the globe offering their services and may end up at hotels like the Marriott.
Egyptian women are often the only affordable choice for local men, and without wives or girlfriends who typically do not practice sex out of marriage, the demand only grows.
It's hard to believe the courage that drove Egyptians to Tahrir Square and brought down a regime produced such unthinkable results.
The square today is somewhat like Cairo itself: The strong rule and police rarely, if ever, get involved.
The protesters are long gone and it's hard to imagine any of them have the energy to do it all again.
This group of men thought we were alone in Dar a-Salaam and tried to steal our camera gear. Only when the local crime family we were with stepped in, did they get back on their motorcycle and move on.
It will take massive outrage against the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian people to reverse the damage. Public beatings and stabbings like this are unfortunately not enough to incite action for change. Egyptians are just too busy trying to survive.
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