“I was in Alexandria meeting some comrades on Monday of last week. I was followed by plain-clothes police who questioned the café owners about me, saying I was not from there.
Only days later we can sit in the open talking about revolution and socialism, and no one is watching.
People have lived too long under Mubarak and his cronies. He filled his government with business allies and his own family. Corruption runs through it.
The police fought hard to hold onto control. They are despised, especially by young people who experience brutality and torture at their hands.
They have been known to use torture, even on people arrested for the most minor offences. People arrested for pickpocketing have suffered electrocution, sleep deprivation and have been forced to hang by their arms with their hands tied behind their back.
Egyptian blogger Khaled Said was beaten on the head by police until he died. It sparked mass protests, forcing an inquiry.
On Facebook and Twitter a group was set up called, ‘We are all Khaled Said’.
It was these groups of young people that came together with others to call the action on 25 January. We, as revolutionary socialists, supported it.
So we are seeing an uprising that is rooted in the economic struggles of recent years and the political radicalisation of young people—around half the population is under 20.
This movement has no one leadership. We put in new leaflets every day with our message: we have to go from demonstrations to strikes—no compromises.
However the struggle unfolds over the coming weeks, it will be impossible for the regime to put us back in a box. We are changed forever.
What’s happened here can happen anywhere. Egypt is the dominant country in the region and has the weight to lead the way.”