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A day of tear gas and onions as chaos rocks Cairo

 An Egyptian protester flashes the V-sign as riot police use water canon against protesters in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Egyptian anti-gove...
 Anti-government protestors gather outside the ruling National Democratic Party headquarters, as it is engulfed by flames in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan...
 Fires burn in the National Democratic Party ruling party headquarters, after it was set alight by anti-government protesters, in downtown Cairo, Egyp...
 An Egyptian Army soldier riding in an armored personnel carrier is surrounded by anti-government protesters near Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Frida...
 An anti-government protester is backdropped by a fire set up by protesters near the Tahrir Square, in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011.  ...
 An Egyptian Army armored personnel carrier is surrounded by anti-government protesters near Tahrir square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, ...
 An anti-government protester burns furniture outside of a looted building, near Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Egyptian activ...
 Police and unidentified people are seen in the streets during a demonstration in Suez, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Tens of thousands of anti-govern...

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt Protest

An Egyptian protester flashes the V-sign as riot police use water canon against protesters in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Egyptian anti-gove...

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt Protest

Anti-government protestors gather outside the ruling National Democratic Party headquarters, as it is engulfed by flames in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan...

Mideast Egypt Protest

Fires burn in the National Democratic Party ruling party headquarters, after it was set alight by anti-government protesters, in downtown Cairo, Egyp...

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt Protest

An Egyptian Army soldier riding in an armored personnel carrier is surrounded by anti-government protesters near Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Frida...

Mideast Egypt Protest

An anti-government protester is backdropped by a fire set up by protesters near the Tahrir Square, in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. ...

Mideast Egypt Protest

An Egyptian Army armored personnel carrier is surrounded by anti-government protesters near Tahrir square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, ...

Mideast Egypt Protest

An anti-government protester burns furniture outside of a looted building, near Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Egyptian activ...

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt Protest

Police and unidentified people are seen in the streets during a demonstration in Suez, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Tens of thousands of anti-govern...

Canisters of tear gas spiraled through the air, leaving thin white trails of peppery smoke in the sky before they skidded onto the asphalt and sent protesters fleeing.
Demonstrators answered with rock, bottles, streams of toilet paper and an unusual call for help.
"Onions! Onions! We need onions!" the crowd called up to onlookers on balconies, who tossed the vegetables along with cans of Pepsi.
They seemed to be following a "Demonstration To-Do list" published by an independent paper this week that included instructions to wash your face with soda and sniff onions if you're tear-gassed.
After a few minutes of recuperation, young men jogged through the crowds, waving their arms overhead and shouting for people to get back into the march.
"We're used to it now!" one man laughed, wiping his eyes, and pulling his wife further to the front of the demonstration. "Hit us a few times and we just get immune."
But security forces took advantage of the maze-like style of the downtown core, blocking streets and squares, waiting for protesters to get closer then pumelling the groups with rubber bullets and more tear gas.
A main complaint of Egyptians about themselves has been their lack to unite and organize. On Friday, many surprised themselves.
Young men and women guided crowds towards downtown. Older women walked with their daughters and grandaughters, chanting "Down with Mubarak!" and "Down with the regime!"
Some men grabbed piles of garbage and destroyed road signs, setting them on fire and making large bonfires in the middle of the streets.
The smell of burning garbage mingled with the tear gas, onions and vinegar.
Along with rocks, bricks, and empty tear-gas canisters, the streets were littered with the paper-thin leaves of red onions, and empty bottles of soda.


Updated : 2021-07-31 18:15 GMT+08:00