Page 2 of 2   <      

In Suez, political anger boils over into violence

"It shouldn't happen like this. Not like this," his wife replied. "I feel like I'm in a dream."

Suddenly, there was pounding at the door as protesters begged for water and onions to absorb the fumes from the tear gas.

Gamal passed supplies to her husband, who slipped them out through the door.

Then more banging. "Please let us in! He's going to die!" someone screamed from outside.

A boy appeared faint near the door. Haddad quickly pulled him inside while blocking others from entering. He fanned the boy with a newspaper as his wife brought water. "Why are you in the street?" Haddad asked. "You should be in school. Why did you go down there?"

Haddad muttered prayers and then told the boy to take

deep breaths.

Their apartment was now a refuge on the front lines of a battle being aired on satellite television around the world.

"Suez on al-Jazeera? We weren't even on the map before," Gamal said.

Armored vehicles exploded across the street, where demonstrators were trying to break into the main police station. Thick black smoke masked the blue sky. The boy left the apartment as the anarchy continued.

From the balcony, Haddad watched as the crowd finally broke through the gates of the police station and torched the lobby. Prisoners flooded out, waving blankets and pajamas in the air. In the streets, they were greeted as heroes.

Two police officers tried to escape on a motorcycle, but they were picked off the bike and beaten.

A portrait of Mubarak was pulled out of the police station and set ablaze.

"Suez! Suez!" protesters yelled as others in the crowd went inside the station and carted off anything they could grab: heaters, refrigerators, computers, wall hangings and desks.

The battle was far from over, as one protester put it earlier in the day: "Now it is a war between the state security and the people."

<       2

© 2011 The Washington Post Company