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Atef Shahat Said starts this chapter with a vignette about participating in a protest in Tahrir Square on September 10, 2001. Then he provides (1) a historical overview of the politics of street protest in Egypt, especially in the decade before the revolution; (2) an overview of protests in Tahrir Square in relation to the development of the neopatrimonial police state in Egypt, as well as demonstrating the ways in which this history informed the 2011 revolution; and (3) a discussion of the rise of social media in political dissent, particularly in the decade before the uprising, situating it in the broader composition of political space in Egypt before the revolution. Overall, Said demonstrates how it is highly critical to analyze this history to better understand the role of Tahrir, state politics, and social media and its shifting dynamics during the uprising.

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