"I came here on Saturday to join my brothers, protest and fight those brutal officers," said Gamal Ali, a 24-year-old university graduate who sold gas masks on the square. "I don't have money, I decided to sell masks during the day and protest at night."
"The military is killing us because we are protesting that we don't have jobs. I studied business and now I am a street vendor barely making a living," he said.
Thousands of other protesters decided to keep their distance from the violent scene at the Interior Ministry, remaining at a safe distance in Tahrir Square itself, which, after hosting hundreds of political propaganda banners, had only one huge banner dictating the rules of the protest: "No stages, no political propaganda banners, one microphone for the square."
Three days earlier, protesters had expressed their anger at political figures by kicking out anyone who spoke in the name of their political parties or attempted any kind of propaganda.
Mohamed el Beltagi, secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, was carried out of the square by his assistants on Monday after being attacked by protesters who felt betrayed by politicians calling for elections to be held despite the bloodshed and continuous attacks by the police.
On Wednesday, protesters vowed to hold their ground in Tahrir Square until the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces hands over the country to a civilian ruling council. They had little good to say about the politicians who on Tuesday had met with the supreme council to discuss a new caretaker government to replace the one that resigned Monday.
"All they care about is elections and seats in parliament," said Mohamed Zinhom, a 28-year-old mechanic who was shot in the arm on Sunday. "They abandoned us and went to hold talks with our killers. How can I trust them?"
(Sabry is a McClatchy special correspondent.)
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