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Monday, November 18, 2013

Egyptian Protesters Destroy Tahrir Square Monument Erected by Interim Government

Video showing the dedication of a monument in Tahrir Square on Monday recorded by Pierre Sioufi, an Egyptian activist and blogger, from an apartment above the square.

Just hours after Egypt’s military-led interim government tried to cement its claim to revolutionary legitimacy â€" with the dedication of a memorial to the uprisings that toppled two authoritarian presidents in two years â€" protesters swarmed the monument in the center of Tahrir Square on Monday night and defaced it, chanting, “The revolution’s returned to Tahrir.”

Video of Egyptian protesters destroying the new monument in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Monday night from the newspaper El Badeel.

The memorial, which appeared suddenly over the weekend, equated the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 with the protests that toppled his successor, Mohamed Morsi, four months ago and was officially dedicated to the “martyrs” of the revolution. As Egyptian bloggers and journalists noted, however, there was no mention of the fact that it was the nation’s own security forces, now in control of the country, who had done almost all of the killing.

The protest march that ended in Tahrir on Monday was itself a memorial, commemorating 45 protesters who were killed by security forces two years ago this week on Mohamed Mahmoud, a street leading to the square.

The battle for control of the symbolic space comes against the backdrop of a broader struggle to control the narrative of the past two years. It has included the construction of another monument to the security forces at the site of a massacre of protesters in August, and the literal whitewashing of graffiti on the walls around Tahrir.

Images posted online Monday night by the activist blogger Mona Seif and other witnesses showed protesters marching to the square. They were waving a banner displaying the face of a young protester killed by the security forces during the Morsi presidency, on the first anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, past new graffiti dedicated to the fallen revolutionaries. They also defaced the new monument with the words: “Down with all traitors: the army, the former regime remnants, the Brotherhood.”

Late Monday, the American photojournalist Cliff Cheney and several Egyptian journalists and activists documented the extent of the destruction done to the monument.

Late Monday, the Associated Press correspondent Sarah El Deeb reported on Twitter that activists were cleaning the walls around the square of graffiti to make a fresh canvas for new revolutionary paintings.

Toronto Mayor Knocks Over City Council Member at Meeting

Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto knocked over a City Council member during a council session called to debate stripping the mayor of his powers.

The embattled Toronto mayor, Rob Ford, knocked over a City Council member during a tense special session on Monday called to debate a motion that would strip him of almost all mayoral powers, according to The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper. The meeting came after a string of reports that included an admission by Mr. Ford that he bought and used crack cocaine while in office.

According to video of the incident that was quickly uploaded to YouTube, Mr. Ford knocked over the council member, Pam McConnell, during the course of what a television announcer heard on the video calls “some angry exchanges going on while the meeting was still going on.”

Mr. Ford can be seen running across a short stretch of the council chamber and then quickly turning a corner, where he knocked over Ms. McConnell, who appeared to slap at him as she fell. In shock, a second television announcer can be heard to say, “Oh my God, the mayor attacked somebody.”

According to The Globe and Mail, the incident took place during a shouting match that pitted Mayor Ford and his brother Doug Ford, a council member, against members of the public seated in a viewing gallery who heckled the mayor and called for him to resign.

Members of the crowd began shouting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” The speaker called a 10-minute break and the mayor and his brother Councillor Doug Ford began exchanging shouts with some members of the public, who moments before Councillor Ford had described as members of unions and special interest groups.

“Resign you thug,” one member of the public shouted.

The Mayor shouted to members of the public in the gallery: “You don’t like saving money. We are saving millions. You don’t like that. Is that affecting your grants? Are you a professional grant-man.”

As councillors tried to restore order, Councillor Ford shouted: “You are a disgrace. Bring it on buddy. Get the real taxpayers down here.” Then he shouted: “You are milking the system,” as Councillor Mark Grimes pulled him away.

The two brothers stood smiling when they returned to their desks.

Early in the session, The Globe and Mail reported, the mayor “seemed to mock” another council member, Paul Ainslie, who lost his driver’s license because of drunken driving. Mr. Ford gestured “in a pantomime of drinking from a bottle while driving,” before he said to the man the phrase “behind the wheel,” The Globe and Mail said.

Surveillance Video of Suspected Paris Gunman

Surveillance video recorded on Friday in the Paris offices of BFMTV, a French news channel, showed a man with a rifle threatening a senior editor before quickly departing.

As my colleague Scott Sayare reports, French police are scouring Paris for a gunman who shot a journalist at the headquarters of the newspaper Libération on Monday morning. The same man is suspected of shooting at a bank in another part of the French capital 90 minutes later, and of having menaced an editor at a television news channel late last week.

At a news conference, investigators held up surveillance-camera images recorded at the news channel BFMTV on Friday night and on a street near Libération on Monday, which appeared to show the same man, they said.

French investigators displayed surveillance-camera images at a news conference on Monday that appeared to show the same man threatening an editor at a television station in Paris on Friday and outside the offices of a newspaper on Monday following a shooting.Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters French investigators displayed surveillance-camera images at a news conference on Monday that appeared to show the same man threatening an editor at a television station in Paris on Friday and outside the offices of a newspaper on Monday following a shooting.

After BFMTV released the surveillance video of Friday’s incident, frame grabs from the footage of the gunman quickly spread online. Philippe Antoine, the news channel’s chief editor, said that the man who confronted him on Friday had dropped two cartridges on the ground and said, “The next time, I won’t miss you,” before rushing out.