Egyptian Tank Man
فتى المدرعة المصري
This footage, probably recorded on a mobile phone, quickly went viral. It shows protesters on Qasr al-Aini Street, approaching Tahrir Square, on 25 January 2011. An armoured tank uses a water cannon to try to stop the people reaching the square. A young man stands before the tank, as spectators on the balconies above praise his bravery.
Demonstrations were called for 25 January 2011, a national holiday in honour of the police, to protest against police brutality. To the surprise of many, they developed into an 18-day, national uprising against the rule of then president Hosni Mubarak.
The man in the video was called 'Egyptian tank man', recalling the student protester who had stood in front of army tanks in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China. 'Tank man' is one example of how Egyptians broke the barrier of fear that had been created by decades of authoritarian rule. There were multiple acts of bravery over the course of the 18-day sit-in and in the following years.
Probably thousands of hours of mobile phone footage were uploaded to social media during the Egyptian revolution. Citizen-generated content was an important element in documenting the revolution.
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Mostafa Fathi , “Egyptian Tank Man,” Politics, Popular Culture and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, accessed October 3, 2023, https://egyptrevolution2011.ac.uk/items/show/238.