Protesters Take on State TV

by Matthew Shaffer

The WSJ has the story:

 

A massive crowd of angry protesters converged on Egypt’s state television building, as the opposition moved again to expand their presence beyond Tahrir Square.

Associated PressAn army soldier sits on a armored vehicle as antigovernment protesters hold their shoes in the air during a protest in front of the state television building.

 

The building sits just north of the square along the Nile and is a much more sensitive target than the central square or even the parliament, which protesters took over midweek.

The Maspero TV building, named after the French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero, has been the hub of state propaganda since 1960. Protesters hope that if they can succeed in shutting it down via a constant sit-in outside the building, as they have shut down Tahrir Square and the area around the parliament, they could knock the state’s main national television stations off air, depriving the government of its most effective line of communication to Egyptians.

“If they take this building, if it drops to the masses, it will be a big symbolic victory for the revolution,” said Osama Ghazali Harb, leader of the opposition National Democratic Front and editor of the prestigious International Policies journal.

Reflecting its sensitivity, the building was heavily defended. The Nileside street in front of TV building was cut off at both ends by tanks and barriers topped with metal slabs and razor wire. Behind that barrier was a razor-wire fence. Behind that, a dozen armored personnel carriers and a tank. On the first floor up from the street, there were soldiers and machine-gun nests.

The forces manning those positions appeared to be a mix of army, airborne and republican guard troops.

The military assemblage, in turn, was surrounded by swelling crowded waving flags and raising their fists in the air to chant, “Down Mubarak down.” Others yelled, “Where are the journalists? Here are the liars.”

Earlier today, Al Jazeera reported that the station had one of its anchors say, during the broadcast, “Sorry we can’t bring you more guests. Nobody can get in or out of the building.”