Back in Cairo’s Tahrir Square

February 10, 2011, 12:42 AM UTC

In Monday’s Postcard, Amany Eid, an Egyptian woman who was never politically active before, wrote about joining the demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Now we see that Eid is just one of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians who are finding their voices for the first time in their lives. Yesterday’s demonstrations in Tahrir Square were the largest yet and were relatively peaceful, thanks in part to the Egyptian Army.

While it isn’t the army’s intention to help the youth-driven uprising gain ground, Kissinger Associates’ Jami Miscik explains, some of its actions are helping them continue the protests in a mostly violence-free setting. That leads to the swelling of their numbers.

Eid, who participated in the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring program last year, was back with the masses at Tahrir Square yesterday. Here is her report. – Patricia Sellers

The numbers have increased to the extent that we cannot walk without bumping into people. We had to walk sideways.

Previously, Army checkpoints were to make sure that the protesters do not have weapons or explosions going into Tahrir. Their role now is also to prevent the pro-Mubarak protesters from entering into Tahrir to avoid clashes with the anti- Mubarak protesters.

Yesterday I went into Tahrir from another direction and went through the “citizens checkpoint,” where citizens check IDs and look for weapons. There is a physical search as well.

A friend of a friend is a police officer, completely anti-regime. He wanted to come and protest as well as donate medicine. At the checkpoint, he showed them his ID; it has your occupation on it. It said “police officer.” They asked him to leave Tahrir (as big as it is) or he would be escorted by the Army! (No police patrols or officers are there in Tahrir.) He left, to avoid being thrown out or beaten! He did not utter a word to us or even say goodbye. It was sad.