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Egypt's Tahrir Square activists fight back against military propaganda

Armed with projectors and damning video, Egypt's activists combat state media.
Egypt media military tahrirEnlarge
An Egyptian protester holds a sign reading 'Soldiers are liars' during a demonstration against the country's military rulers in Cairo's Abbassiya district. Activists are now using "military liars" as a name for their guerrilla media campaign to combat army propaganda. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

The projection screen is draped across the base of a statue in a busy intersection. About 100 people are gathered around, watching violent images of army and police brutality broadcast to whomever passes by. 

It's "3askar kazeboon," or "military liars," a media campaign organized by some of Egypt's most dedicated revolutionaries to combat the military propaganda aired on state television and that paints the activists as destructive thugs.

Armed with projectors and damning footage, the kazeboon organizers hold impromptu screenings of films compiling photos and video of army and police beating protestors since they assumed power in Feb. 2011, spliced with statements made by Egypt's ruling generals denying culpability. 

With nearly daily events in neighborhoods across Cairo and also in other cities in Egypt, the activists say they want to refocus their efforts from Tahrir to educating people outside the square. But the results have so far been mixed. 

In several neighborhoods, kazeboon organizers say, they have encountered paid thugs who used rudimentary weapons to attack the screenings or tear down the projector. In other areas, kazeboon is booted by local residents who say the activists just want to sow chaos in Egypt. 

More from GlobalPost: Is Egypt's military worse than Mubarak? 

At a screening tonight, in the upscale neighborhood of Zamalek where locals are less likely to be hostile to the event, the audience is small, and it feels less like an information campaign than an attempt to mobilize for the upcoming anniversary of Egypt's uprising last year, on Jan. 25, 2012.

The video was short, and the crowd quickly began marching and chanting loudly against the military government. Most looked like they already belong to the young revolutionary crowd. 

But appearances can be deceiving. A young policeman, who wore a coat over his uniform to escape recognition, stood at the back of the audience smoking cigarettes. 

"I asked him to come here, to see that these young people are not the enemies of Egypt, and to see what his colleagues and the army are doing," the policeman's friend, Mustafa, said.

The policeman, who refused to speak but normally patrols nearby, became nervous about being recognized and quietly, but hurriedly, slipped away.  

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-casbah/egypt-propaganda-tahrir-square-military-kazeboon