Egyptian Protests

Blind_Io

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Since US sources for international information are for shit, here's the current BBC article.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12272836

At least three people are reported to have been killed during a day of rare anti-government protests in Egypt.

In Cairo, where the biggest rallies were held, state TV said a policeman had died in clashes. Two protesters died in Suez, doctors there said.

Thousands joined the protests after an internet campaign inspired by the uprising in Tunisia.

In central Cairo, police starting using tear gas early on Wednesday in an attempt to disperse the crowds.

Thousands of demonstrators remained in the city centre around Tahrir Square late into the night, vowing to camp out overnight and setting the stage for further confrontation.
There were appeals on Facebook for food and blankets for those staying put.

Activists had called for a "day of revolt" in a web message. Protests are uncommon in Egypt, which President Hosni Mubarak has ruled since 1981, tolerating little dissent.

Continue reading the main story At the scene

_50952631_jex_936219_de01.jpg
Jon Leyne BBC News, Cairo

The demonstrations in Egypt were clearly inspired by what happened in Tunisia. They were bigger than anything seen here for a number of years.

What was also most striking was the boldness and anger of the protesters. Even when the police moved in with water cannon and tear gas, they stood their ground.

The police, by contrast, appeared wrong-footed. They are unused to confronting crowds as big and determined as this.

On its own, this is not going to threaten President Mubarak's hold on power. But it must be a huge shock to him. And the protesters might just begin to think that anything is possible.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her administration supported "the fundamental right of expression and assembly" and urged all parties "to exercise restraint".

She added that Washington believed the Egyptian government was "stable" and "looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people".
The events in Cairo were co-ordinated on a Facebook page - tens of thousands of supporters clicked on the page to say they would take part.

Reports said the social networking site Twitter had been blocked in Egypt and that mobile phone networks in the Cairo area were down.

The Swedish-based website Bambuser, which streams video from mobile phones, said it had been blocked in Egypt. On its blog, it accused Egyptian officials of trying to control the news agenda.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo said rallies had been held in several parts of the capital, and the turnout had been more than the organisers could have hoped.

Police were taken aback by the anger of the crowd and let protesters make their way to the parliament building, he says.

There police regrouped in full riot gear with tear gas and water cannon and temporarily drove the crowd back. However, protesters threw stones and stood their ground, pushing the police back until they were on the run.

Protests also broke out in other areas, including the eastern city of Ismailiya and the northern port city of Alexandria.

In Alexandria, witnesses said thousands joined the protests, some chanting: "Revolution, revolution, like a volcano, against Mubarak the coward."

'Nothing to fear' In Cairo's Tahrir Square, demonstrators attacked a police water cannon vehicle, opening the driver's door and ordering the man out of the vehicle.
Officers beat back protesters with batons as they tried to break the police cordons to join the main demonstration.

Cairo resident Abd-Allah told the BBC that by Tuesday night some protesters were saying they wouldn't give up until President Mubarak had gone.

"People are behaving as if they are ready to die," he said.
"The atmosphere is very tense, it feels like a revolution. I see people who are determined, people who have nothing to lose, people who want a better future."
Reports said protesters had earlier gathered outside the Supreme Court holding large signs that read: "Tunisia is the solution."

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A poster of Hosni Mubarak was defaced by protesters in Alexandria

Some chants referred to Mr Mubarak's son Gamal, who some analysts believe is being groomed as his father's successor. "Gamal, tell your father Egyptians hate you," they shouted.

The organisers rallied support saying the protest would focus on torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment, calling it "the beginning of the end".

Disillusioned
Weeks of unrest in Tunisia eventually toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month.

Egypt has many of the same social and political problems that brought about the unrest in Tunisia - rising food prices, high unemployment and anger at official corruption.
However, the population of Egypt has a much lower level of education than Tunisia. Illiteracy is high and internet penetration is low.

There are deep frustrations in Egyptian society, our Cairo correspondent says, yet Egyptians are almost as disillusioned with the opposition as they are with the government; even the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Islamist movement, seems rudderless.

While one opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, called on Egyptians to take part in these protests, the Muslim Brotherhood has been more ambivalent.

Our correspondent adds that Egypt is widely seen to have lost power, status and prestige in the three decades of President Mubarak's rule.
 

Interrobang

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The US medias didn't report what happened in Tunisia?
He didn?t write that ... just that the Quality isn?t good.

On the Topic ... Mubarak (like many "leaders" from that region) should have been disposed of long ago by their people. The worry (for us outsiders) is of course what will happen then. Under Mubarak, Egypt was at least rather stable. Lacking in many aspects for its people ... but stable. Imagine it as a less evil version of Irak under Saddams regime. When such a Regime is overthrown, it?s always a worry what will happen in the vacume that follows. Egypt is a very diverse country. Parts of it are very modern and western-orientated, others are very tradional and religious. I?m doubtful that the county can be united without problems. To predict a civil war might be very far fetched ... but without Mubarak the People of Egypt will be facing a hell of a challange to unite their country under one banner.
 
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hajj

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Unlike Tunisia, Egypt does have rather strong islamic fundamentalists present in the country and it also has quite an importance for shipping. A closure of the Suez canal would be quite problematic, especially for the Mediterranean countries. A change in leadership is long overdue, but in a country in which the control of certain resources gives access to large sums of money without much input from the population, change is never wanted by the leaders.
 

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He didn?t write that ... just that the Quality isn?t good.

On the Topic ... Mubarak (like many "leaders" from that region) should have been disposed of long ago by their people. The worry (for us outsiders) is of course what will happen then. Under Mubarak, Egypt was at least rather stable. Lacking in many aspects for its people ... but stable. Imagine it as a less evil version of Irak under Saddams regime. When such a Regime is overthrown, it?s always a worry what will happen in the vacume that follows. Egypt is a very diverse country. Parts of it are very modern and western-orientated, others are very tradional and religious. I?m doubtful that the county can be united without problems. To predict a civil war might be very far fetched ... but without Mubarak the People of Egypt will be facing a hell of a challange to unite their country under one banner.
If Mubarak is deposed, I think the best analogy would be Iran after the Shah was deposed. Just that the Shah was far less liberal than Mubarak is.
 

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The US medias didn't report what happened in Tunisia?

US news is really bad and mostly biased to the point it is nearly useless. And that is on a good day.
 

Blind_Io

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ARAB WORLD: Protests in Algeria and Yemen draw inspiration from Tunisia uprising

ARAB WORLD: Protests in Algeria and Yemen draw inspiration from Tunisia uprising

Here's a US source because I'm too lazy to find another one right now:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/bab...n-albania-algeria-tunisia-egypt-protests.html

Activists in Yemen, Jordan, Algeria and even Albania took to the streets this weekend demanding democratic reforms in their countries.

Some expressed explicit support for the Tunisian people, calling for similar uprisings in their own countries. Others were more reserved. Jordanians directed their anger at the prime minister rather than trying to oust the royal family.

The popular demonstrations drew comparisons to the Tunisian protest movement that has captivated the world. But opinions remain divided on whether these events constitute a real threat to the ruling powers in those countries.

"The regime will always look strong until the day it collapses," Nadim Shehadi, from the London-based think tank Chatham House, told Babylon & Beyond. "It cannot look weak, because the minute it looks weak it is dead already."

Fresh protests erupted in Sanaa, Yemen, on Sunday after activist Tawakel Karman was arrested following two student demonstrations in support of the Tunisian protest movement that Karman helped organize, her husband confirmed to Reuters.

In Algiers, the main opposition party claimed that as many as 42 people were wounded in clashes between security forces and protesters on Saturday, according to the satellite news channel France24, which has reporters on the ground in the capital. Police reported seven wounded policemen and five arrests.

Several thousand people gathered in Amman, Jordan, on Friday protesting rising costs and unemployment.

Also on Friday, three protesters in the Albanian capital of Tirana were shot and killed ?? one on video ?? by government forces at a protest organized by the socialist opposition party.

The connection to the mostly Muslim Balkan nation of Albania is certainly less direct, but the role of social media, the timing of the protests and the reaction of the international community have attracted the interest of many who are following the events in Tunisia online.

So, is revolution in the air?
There have been some very eloquent "maybes" written on the subject by analysts, journalists, bloggers and other commentators. The consensus among many seems to be that a lot depends on the outcome of the Tunisian protest movement.

Shehadi said that while the protests may be connected, the events in Tunisia are an effect of regional shifts rather than a primary catalyst.

"If you look at the history of the last 100 years or so, you find that when the mood changes in the region it changes throughout," he said.

"After the fall of the Ottoman Empire when you had sort of liberal, pro-Western elites trying to create democratic institutions, you saw the same phenomenon in Cairo, Baghdad, Algiers, even Kabul," he explained. "When you started having the military take over after 1948, it started with a couple of coup d'etats in Syria and then 10 years later the whole region is [run by] colonels, from Algeria all the way to Indonesia."

Shehadi believes a similar period of change could be happening, but recent history is also full of false starts. The opposition "green movement" that engulfed Iran in the wake of the contested 2009 presidential elections did not spark revolutions around the region, as some had hoped.

I think the list of Arab nations not having mass protests is shorter at the moment.
 

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This could become quite complicated in the years to come. While more democracy may sound like a good thing there is a distinct possibility that more democracy could lead to increased islamization of the various governments involved.
 

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Adrian Hamilton: Uprisings that may not presage democracy
Thursday, 27 January 2011

The riots in Egypt, as those in Tunisia and Algeria, have given rise to all sorts of hopes that finally the corrupt and authoritarian regimes of North Africa will be overthrown and that democracy and freedom will come in their stead. If only it would happen like that.

Anyone concerned with the Middle East and the wider Arab world must have long despaired of the way that the nationalist revolutions of the Nasser era have only ended in a western-supported gerontocracy which has locked up their opponents, lined their own and their families' pockets, and reduced their countries to a state of permanently suspended animation.

Yet you can make a fair bet that the latest popular uprisings in Tunisia and its neighbours are more likely than not to lead to a new and even worse form of tyranny. Food and unemployment riots are not new, after all. We've seen them right across Africa and the Middle East in the post-war period.

Each time the uprisings occur, the West, and liberal opinion within the countries, hopes for a moderate replacement, an opposition leadership that will rise to the occasion and introduce liberty and an open economy. Almost invariably it fails to happen. The Shah is replaced by the rule of the Ayatollahs, King Idris by Colonel Gaddafi. The government is blamed. The regime is attacked but power is eventually taken by those with the organisation to wield it, usually the army.

This may not happen in Egypt or Tunisia (with oil revenues and a small population, the Libyan President can buy off trouble in a way other nations can't). One hopes not. Both have an educated middle class and the basis at least of a bureaucracy that can operate. But in both cases the existing presidents have used their time to wipe out most of their opponents, including the more responsible leaders of Muslim movements.

Precisely because President Mubarak has proved so effective in stilling opposition, it is difficult to envision just who or what could replace him if there were to be real regime change. Unions, parties, and government bureaucracy have all been nullified and corrupted. The only non-governmental network of grass-roots organisation that really works is the mosque and the madrassa.

Something is stirring in North Africa, right across the Arab world indeed. But it's not necessarily what we would wish for nor, given what we have done to support the old regimes, do we have any right to try and influence it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinio...s-that-may-not-presage-democracy-2195253.html

Where's the Arab Mandela when you need him?

By Richard Spencer World Last updated: January 27th, 2011

The Western unease would be funny were it not so serious. The French urge against a rush to judgment on the hideously corrupt regime of President Zine al Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia ? even offering to lend police support to put down demonstrations against his 23 years in power.

Suddenly he is gone, and his family are simply far too disreputable to be allowed to stay at EuroDisney, and are kicked out. Suddenly democracy is a good thing again, even in former French colonies. Then as if we haven?t learned, up pops Hillary Clinton ? first of all calling for reform in the Arab world, then for ?stability? in Egypt ? stability being universal code-word from Beijing to Brazzaville for dictatorship ? and then suddenly when the mob gets heavy the dictators are supposed to open up Facebook again.

It is all very reminiscent of ? well, of the 1980s. Not the Soviet bloc uprisings ? obviously an unmitigatedly good thing, in our view ? but of a rash of rebellions in western-aligned countries from the Philipines and South Korea to South Africa. The West was, of course, very much in favour of democracy. But applying the final shove to colourful brutes like Ferdinand Marcos and PK Botha was just too difficult to envisage, until their rule became so unsustainable they imploded on themselves.

There was one important factor which made those transitions easier than they might have been, however, and very successful in the cases of some, such as South Korea and Taiwan. That was the leadership of charismatic but, importantly, broad-minded leaders who while demanding change understood key concepts, such as babies and bathwater. Leaders like Kim Dae-jung of South Korea (who was sentenced to death but made a remarkable come-back) and Benigno Aquino (who was murdered on the eve of his triumph) were able to look beyond the conspiracies and tyrannies they had undoubtedly suffered not only to a democratic but also to a more generous future.

That brings us, of course, to Nelson Mandela, currently ailing in South Africa. South Africa is no South Korea, it is true, but as we all know the worst fears of western pessimists of a bloody revenge for the horrors of apartheid were averted, in part due to the magnanimity of men like him and Desmond Tutu who realised that our compromised foreign policy was an example, if you like, of the wider compromises that successful societies have to make.

The fragmentation and conflicts of the Arab world have buried such figures of authority and prestige under a welter of conspiracy theory, obscurantism and dogma. There are plenty of ordinary people who ? as sensible people across the world do ? feel ambiguous about America, loving its openness and prosperity, fearing its heedlessness to the families who are on the receiving end of its foreign policy blunders. It is hard to hear the first half of that balance among either its leaders ? who have prospered from American backing so mightily ? or of the opposition who would assuredly need American support to make their would-be revolutions successful.

The other week, last time I was in Cairo, I was reassured by the entirely sensible utterances of the Muslim Brotherhood on the role of Christians in Egyptian society ? until it came to the inevitable assertion that the New Year?s Day bomb attack on the church in Alexandria that killed 23 people must have been the work of Mossad, since ?only Israel has an interest in dividing Egyptian society?.

I have yet to hear anyone blaming Israel for this week?s uprising. But no doubt someone is somewhere. What is needed, instead, is someone to lay out a vision of the new Egypt, the new Tunisia, the new Libya, Saudi and Yemen.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian reformer, won a Nobel peace prize for his work for the International Atomic Energy Agency, but he is no Kim Dae-jung, and Hosni Mubarak is clearly no FW de Clerk. It?s an obvious thing to say, but where?s the Arab Mandela when you need him?

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/r...04/wheres-the-arab-mandela-when-you-need-him/

Comment responding to the above article:

An Arab Mandela would be broadminded, pragmatic, decent, tolerant, non-violent, and liberal, i.e. just the kind of person that the devout sort of Muslim makes a point of murdering for being unislamic, and a despotic regime makes a point of locking up or exiling for being a potential rival.
 

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This could become quite complicated in the years to come. While more democracy may sound like a good thing there is a distinct possibility that more democracy could lead to increased islamization of the various governments involved.

It's basicly a bad circle. The lack of a democratic tradition makes stabile, democraticly elected governments difficult, and quite often, the elected bodies get completely blocked up actually making the system work.

It happened in Weimar. And we know where that went. As this region is of geopolitical importance to us, we prefer it to be repressed and undemocratic, as long as we don't have to sail our ships around Africa and get our oil.
 

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It's basicly a bad circle. The lack of a democratic tradition makes stabile, democraticly elected governments difficult, and quite often, the elected bodies get completely blocked up actually making the system work.

Good point. It reminds me of the USSR after Gorbachev's political reforms, the elected politicians blocked needed progress for fear of losing their jobs. Outside of Israel and Turkey I don't see democracy working in the Middle East/North Africa any time soon. I think this has more to do with the Ottoman Empire than anything else.
 
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nomix

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Ironicly, I think Gorby might have moved his nation in the right direction if he were willing to deploy force. He didn't. He was too much of a humanist.
 

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Ironicly, I think Gorby might have moved his nation in the right direction if he were willing to deploy force. He didn't. He was too much of a humanist.

Yep. The USSR needed major industrial and economic reforms first, the problem with his political reforms was that politicians don't like change.

In what possible way?

As part of the Ottoman empire many of these people have had many generations of imperial rule. The Western World had thousands of years to develop free governments and the social mindsets to go with them, these people have not; as a result they are struggling with democracy and tend to favor strongmen.
 

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argatoga

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Free governments didn't really start to develop before the 18th century.

Classical Athens wasn't a free government?
 

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Yep. The USSR needed major industrial and economic reforms first, the problem with his political reforms was that politicians don't like change.
Boris Nikolajevisj wanted it so much that he and the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus just decided to break up the USSR, thoroughly dismissing the results of the referendum over the subject.

The problem with Russia was trying to move from a planned marxist economy to an economy that were to be, nominally, more liberal than the US economy. All the while, leaders in the west were pushing their ideological ideas to the new Russian regime, calling it shock terapy. It didn't work. Hopefully, they won't make the same fucking mistake again, but you never know..

Classical Athens wasn't a free government?
Not for women and slaves, at least. Other than that, there were severe limits to the freedom of the democracy of Athens. For one thing, their moral code was quite intrusive and repressive.

The importance of Athens is that it is the first known example of people governing themselves. We are still talking about a government so aristrocratic that it would make the right honorable Pitt the Elder seem quite pragmatic by today's standards.
 

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Boris Nikolajevisj wanted it so much that he and the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus just decided to break up the USSR, thoroughly dismissing the results of the referendum over the subject.

The problem with Russia was trying to move from a planned marxist economy to an economy that were to be, nominally, more liberal than the US economy. All the while, leaders in the west were pushing their ideological ideas to the new Russian regime, calling it shock terapy. It didn't work. Hopefully, they won't make the same fucking mistake again, but you never know..


Not for women and slaves, at least. Other than that, there were severe limits to the freedom of the democracy of Athens. For one thing, their moral code was quite intrusive and repressive.

The importance of Athens is that it is the first known example of people governing themselves. We are still talking about a government so aristrocratic that it would make the right honorable Pitt the Elder seem quite pragmatic by today's standards.

It depends on what he meant by "free government". I'd say the Classical Greek democracies, the Roman Republic, and the Italian city states where free governments. Yes there were slaves (not as many as people think), and non voting workers and no women's suffrage, but they still provided freedom for a swathe of the population much great than a dictatorship or oligarchy.

If they don't fall under the term "free government" they still show progress towards modern governments. Modern Western democracies follow the frame work of these governments. These fore bearers of Western democracy had no equivalent in the Far East.


But "modern" Athens came under Roman and Ottoman leadership as well.

And that had an impact on the Middle East and Northern Africa how?
 

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You stated that the western world had thousands of years to develop free governments. I'm just arguing that it didn't. Absolute rule was the norm most places around the world until the 19th century more or less.

Yes monarchies and other dictatorships were most popular, but they gradually moved towards democracy. The Magna Carta and the separation of church from state for instance happened well before the modern age. The Romans and Classical Greeks were well read of. Modern Democracies didn't *poof* out of nowhere.

The American Republic for instance is an almost 1:1 copy of the Roman original.
 
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It depends on what he meant by "free government". I'd say the Classical Greek democracies, the Roman Republic, and the Italian city states where free governments. Yes there were slaves (not as many as people think), and non voting workers and no women's suffrage, but they still provided freedom for a swathe of the population much great than a dictatorship or oligarchy.

If they don't fall under the term "free government" they still show progress towards modern governments. Modern Western democracies follow the frame work of these governments. These fore bearers of Western democracy had no equivalent in the Far East.
And I agree with that.
 

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I'm watching Al Jazeera live and a police personell carrier on fire on a bridge over the Nile, they're trying to push it into the river, which would be quite a nice picture. I wish the protesters well and I hope their revolution is successfull!


update
NDP building on fire! Fun!
 
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