Conflict & Justice

Egypt's Nighttime Chaos Gives Rise to 'Bizarre No Man's Land'


A policeman takes position during clashes with supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi inside a room of al-Fath mosque in Cairo August 17, 2013. Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi exchanged gunfire with security forces inside a Cairo mosque on Saturday, three Reuters witnesses said. The gunmen opened fire on security forces from a second floor window in the Fath mosque, where hundreds of Mursi supporters have been taking refuge since protests turned violent on Friday. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST RELIGION) - RTX12OO2



After several days of deadly violence, Egypt seems to be coming alive again with pedestrians filling streets in the country's main cities during daylight hours.

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But in the evening, it's another matter, says David Kirkpatrick, the Cairo Bureau chief of The New York Times.

"The night is really becoming a very dangerous and chaotic scene here in Cairo," Kirkpatrick says. "The streets are deserted of unarmed civilians but populated with a mix of army and police checkpoints and self-appointed vigilante groups, some of which rob passersby and may themselves be armed."

Kirkpatrick notes another sign of Egypt's current tumult: Today, the lawyer for the former dictator Hosni Mubarak says his client could be released by the end of the week.

An Egyptian court ruled that Mubarak could no longer be held on a corruption charge involving embezzled funds for presidential palaces.

Kirkpatrick says it's too early to say whether Mubarak will be a free man anytime soon.

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    Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is wheeled out of the courtroom after his trial in Cairo June 2, 2012. An Egyptian judge convicted Mubarak of complicity in the killings of protesters during the uprising that ended his 30-year rule and sentenced him on Saturday to life in prison. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR32ZFT