News Photo Essay Photography

At The Sit-In, Alexandria, Egypt

Yasser Alaa, a photographer for Youth Journalism International in Alexandria, Egypt, took these photos at a sit-in in Saad Zhagloul Square in Alexandria on the evening of August 1.

He had a difficult time taking photos because of the tense and unstable situation in the square.

Upon entering, he had to show identification and allow guards to check his clothes to ensure that he had no weapons. He was questioned about his camera and the fact that he was taking photos. Some people were worried, he said, that he was with the army or police or otherwise not an ally. They feared the army would clear the square like it did in Tahrir Square in Cairo, he said.

Some of the people were shouting. Some refused to allow him to photograph their tent and others told him to stop taking pictures. He was also questioned about what organization he was taking the photos for.

The protesters began the sit-in on July 8, he reports, and have vowed not to leave until their demands for their rights –  for freedom, food and justice – are met. There are about 50 people and more than a dozen tents in the square, he reports, divided into groups such as The Free Protesters, Alex Tweet Up and others.

Some of the tents, like those in two of the photos above, were made from Egyptian flags. Some protesters are not eating and ambulances are taking weakened people to the hospital for treatment.