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Egyptian blogger lends perspective from inside Tahrir Square

I caught up with Egyptian blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy today by phone. We've been excerpting his blog here in Photoblog for the past week. He has recently quit his job as a journalist and is participating in the anti-government protests full time. He described the air of cooperation that continues in Tahrir Square, the focal point of the protest movement.

Hossam el-Hamalawy

el-Hamalawy says while some protesters are maintaining their vigil in the square full time, others are making time in Tahrir Square a steady, but not constant part of their lives, coming and going around other obligations like work and family. He says there is a steady stream of supplies. When people join the protest they bring medical supplies, food and water to share, as seen in the photo above.

Hossam el-Hamalawy

He says a class rift is becoming more obvious, with divisions developing between upper and middle class Egyptians versus lower income and younger Egyptians. They are wary of how the protests and a possible regime shift will impact their finances, some of which depend on the status quo.

Hossam el-Hamalawy

el-Hamalawy says the protesters' camp is becoming more sophisticated, adding tarps and tents to rest under and tapping into electrical wires to recharge their mobile phones. They have entertainment to pass the time and keep morale high. Even barbers are at work in the square.

Hossam el-Hamalawy

He said while it's hard to know what's next as there’s no single protest leader to unify the movement, the next step is to hit the country's leaders financially by calling for a general strike. Imagine the effect of stopping shipping in the Suez Canal. The challenge is that workers’ unions were made illegal in Egypt decades ago, so there is little centralization to organize that kind of effort.