The current Egyptian protests appear to be escalating out of control. Away from hotspots such as Tahir Square, in Egypt, ordinary Egyptians struggle to maintain a semblance of normality.
The country and its people have had a tumultuous year. The Arab Spring had a period of euphoria when Egypt managed to oust long standing leader and dictator President Mubarak. Now part of the population are sick and tired of the long wait for free and fair elections. They have taken to street protests but this time those involved are on the offensive.
The protests began as a means of showing the Egyptian military that they must relinquish their hold on power. With links to the old regime most people felt that they offered little if any change to the previous regime. Egyptians fought hard in early 2011 and are note prepared to accept second best.
The fear now is that Egypt could end up torn apart. Religious difference are rising to the fore and could spell danger. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Military and Egypt currently, has addressed Egyptians on state TV. His promises have done little to stop the violent protests.
At least 37 people have been killed and hundreds injured in this recent spat. There are reports that tear gas being used has been mixed with chemical agents and that live ammunition is is now being used. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has told the Egyptian authorities to stop this. He said,
"I call on the Egyptian authorities to respect the right of peaceful protest and immediately to cease the use of violence against protestors, including live fire and the use of gas. All those who are responsible for such disproportionate violence against peaceful protesters must be held to account. I also call for the release of all those detained for peacefully expressing their views and urge the authorities to make good on their promises to end to military trials for civilians.
I recognise the commitments made by Field Marshal Tantawi yesterday evening. We and many other countries have consistently called for a clear, rapid timetable for transition to civilian-led democratic rule in Egypt. For such a transition to succeed, it is critical that parliamentary elections are transparent, fair and credible, and held in a secure atmosphere which allows Egyptians to express their political will freely. The UK remains committed to supporting the transition to democracy in Egypt in any way we can"
As is always the case with such protests there is an element of the crowd that are simply hooligans. The protesters have reacted with more force and aggression than in early 2011. They have today stoned the riot police and there are reports of Molotov cocktails being made and thrown.
Tahir Square is an important place for both the protesters and the authorities. It proved vital in the downfall of Mubarak. Will it see the end of this military regime?
In spite of the increased violent reaction of Egyptian police the number of protesters continues to grow.