Their chanting beat against the morning stillness as Ahmed rolled the tyre along with a steady brush of his hand.
The youngsters grinned like it was a new game, but the others knew better. This was their duty.
Tarek looked back at the pillars of black smoke rising above the buildings. He was used to seeing the streets burn, but this was different. Today, they were the ones starting the fires.
At a crossroads, Ahmed lay the tyre on the ground. The other children stood back while Tarek tipped the bottle of kerosene over it. When the tyre was lit, another plume erupted, turning the air a dirty brown.
The children looked at each other, their stained faces fierce and proud while men and women cheered them on. Victory is ours, they cried. We’ve won back the sky.