By now, images of tent cities in public spaces have become synonymous with Occupy Wall Street. Yet, before the Occupy Movement, as Arab Spring uprisings took shape in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and beyond, the Arab world was changing. In Egypt, the people revolted against censorship, unemployment, inflation, brutality, and corruption. Violent clashes echoed through the news channels. Mubarak resigned. Egypt’s socio-politcal changes became increasingly complex. Journalist Stephen Yang photographed Cairo from November 27th to December 12th, during and after the parliamentary elections, the country still “temporarily” ruled by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. He visited the protest tent cities remaining in Tahrir Square, though smaller after suffering violence at the hands of police forces — still fighting, still being attacked.
In our slideshow, Yang shares a few of his images, along with some first-person insight into the state of protestors still camping out in Tahrir Square, certain misconceptions perpetuated by the “Western mainstream media,” how an outsider journalist avoids conflict, and how Egyptian citizens self-police internal violence. It’s just one perspective, but it’s certainly a fascinating one.
“When I arrived, everyone was getting ready for the first round of parliamentary elections. Tahrir Square was still somewhat occupied by tents and people, although the crowds had dwindled since March. There were still civilian led checkpoints and bag checks. But by the time I was leaving in early December, the square seemed almost completely empty and the civilian security was gone. A lot of the frustrations seemed to be vented through the elections and the hardline protesters at Tahrir Square were losing support from the general public.”
All photographs and commentary by Stephen Yang.