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Egypt protests: An endgame seems to be approaching, but whose?

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The BBC had camera equipment taken. CNN reported that a mob attacked a car of its reporters trying to film near Tahrir. The Washington Post and New York Times reported the detention of journalists with their organizations. An Al Jazeera reporter was beaten in Alexandria. A reporter from this paper decided to stay home after her driver told her he'd been visited by the military, who told him to call them immediately if they decided to go out and do some reporting.

What's happening with foreign reporters is a side show compared to the conditions that Egyptians are grappling with. Food prices are soaring in Cairo and other cities, the banks remain closed, and thousands of demonstrators have been hurt in the events of the past week. The situation is now finely pitched for tomorrow, when demonstrators have vowed to hold another mass rally pushing for Mubarak to stand down.

Prelude to a broader crackdown?

Was the intimidation of the press and human rights groups today prelude to a crackdown? Many think so. Activists in Cairo believe the violence has been engineered by the state to justify a crackdown, to frighten average Egyptians from joining protests, and to exhaust the protesters into leaving the streets and Egypt's autocracy intact, though likely with a new man at the helm.

At today's press conference, new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq repeatedly apologized for yesterday's violence, where soldiers stood aside to allow hundreds of men armed with sticks, knives, and machetes to storm the square, leading to an hours-long battle of Molotov cocktails and brute force that ended with thousands injured and at least ten dead.

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