The New York Times' incredibly courageous Nicholas Kristoff is
bearing witness to what the Egyptian protesters already know and are
telling the world, that the "pro-Mubarak" crowds attacking peaceful
protesters are government-sponsored thugs. Furthermore, hard evidence is surfacing which reinforces Kristoff's reports, that the entirety of the "pro-Mubarak" protesters consist of out-of-uniform police, common criminals released and paid to fight, and members of the state's massive security apparatus, which outnumbers the army by 2 to 1.
Kristoff posted at his Facebook:
I was in Tahrir today, and I must say that "clashes" is the wrong word for what happened. This was a violent government-sponsored crackdown using thugs.
Turning to his blog he reports:
Today President Mubarak seems to have decided to crack down on the democracy movement, using not police or army troops but rather mobs of hoodlums and thugs.
I've been spending hours on Tahrir today, and it is absurd to think of this as simply "clashes" between two rival groups. The pro-democracy protesters are unarmed and have been peaceful at every step. But the pro-Mubarak thugs are arriving in buses and are armed -- and they're using their weapons.
In my area of Tahrir, the thugs were armed with machetes, straight razors, clubs and stones. And they all had the same chants, the same slogans and the same hostility to journalists. They clearly had been organized and briefed. So the idea that this is some spontaneous outpouring of pro-Mubarak supporters, both in Cairo and in Alexandria, who happen to end up clashing with other side -- that is preposterous.
The army from all reports is standing by doing nothing, and indeed letting the hoodlums through, a move which now implicitly sides them with Mubarak.
"Why don't you protect us?" some shouted at soldiers, who replied they did not have orders to do so and told people to go home. "The army is neglectful. They let them in," said Emad Nafa, a 52-year-old among the protesters, who for days had showered the military with love for its neutral stance.
"Members of security forces dressed in plain clothes and a number of thugs have stormed Tahrir Square," three opposition groups said in a statement.
Protesters are saying they should have stormed the presidential palace yesterday and driven Mubarak out, gotten it over with. This is what comes of the US buying Mubarak more time, this is how he "leads" an "orderly transition."
And now a blogger DailyKos.com brings to light what is confirmed to be a police ID captured from a pro-Mubarak thug by anti-government
protesters, via Twitter. This clear physical evidence buttresses Kristoff's report that the attackers are all on the
government payroll, either criminals released and paid to commit
violence or police forces out of uniform.
Image here, with requested Arabic speaker commentary from Facebook.