Egypt

In September, Green Left Weekly spoke to Mamdouh Habashi and Dr Muhammad Hesham, members of the Egyptian Socialist Party (ESP), about developments in Egypt since the popular uprising overthrew dictator Hosni Mubarak on February 11. The ESP is one of several new parties formed since Mubarak's ouster. A longer version of this interview can be found at ThawraEyewitness.blogspot.com. * * * What is the role of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF, who has been in power since Mubarak's ousting)?
The statement below was released by in Australia on October 14. * * *
Walking around downtown Cairo on October 10, everything felt relatively normal ― if, perhaps, a little more tense than usual for post-January 25 Cairo. That is, until I came across the wrecks of burnt out cars on the Corniche el Nil in Maspero, just north of Tahrir Square, being pulled apart by enterprising young men.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians reclaimed Tahrir square from police on September 9, demanding an end to military trials of civilians and for judicial freedom. Security forces withdrew from the square on the day before. It had been under guard since a sit-in was broken up on August 1. Groups of youth immediately started organising the September 9 rally. They marched through the streets of downtown Cairo demanding an end to the rule of the military council and calling for Cairo's residents to join the protest.
After the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in February, a new chapter in Egyptian history is being written and its authors are the people themselves. Anything could happen and everything is up for grabs given the profound political, social and economic crisis in which Egypt's neoliberal system finds itself in. See also:
Egyptian scholar and researcher Samir Amin spoke with Hassane Zerrouky on the Arab revolts that have broken out this year, for L'Humanite. The interview was translated by Yoshie Furuhashi for www.mrzine.org . Abridged version appears below. What's happening in the Arab world six months after the fall of dictator Ben Ali in Tunisia?
Protests at Cairo's Tahrir Square and other cities across Egypt on July 8 drew hundreds of thousands back to the streets to "save the revolution". The protests are part of the ongoing struggle to press for democracy in the aftermath of the popular uprising that overthrew dictator Hosni Mubarak in February. The protests, labelled “Friday of Justice for Revolution Martyrs” by the Facebook group We are all Khaled Said, has also been dubbed “Persistence Friday” in the media.
The revolutionary struggle for democratic and economic freedoms continues to grow in Tunisia and Egypt in the aftermath of the ousting of dictators Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. Western powers are working to block these struggles — just as they supported the fallen dictators until the very end. Vast sums of money have been pledged by the United States, European Union and the Group of Eight (G8 — the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Russia and Japan) to aid what British Prime Minister David Cameron termed “democracy, freedom and prosperity” in the Middle East.
As many as 1 million people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square and across Egypt on May 27 for a “Friday of Anger”. The huge march showed the revolution that ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak in February has reached a new stage. The demonstrations were called by left organisations in defiance of Egypt's military rulers — as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and liberal groups that were part of the mass protests against Mubarak in February.
“To continue this revolution, Egypt must go to Palestine.” These were the words of Akram Ismalii, a student from Cairo University who marched along side his classmates in downtown Cairo for the Third Palestine Intifada rally on May 15. The day marks al-Nakba ("the catastrophe"), as Palestinians call the anniversary of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. It was rumored it would be a 1 million-person march, but the protests led by pro-Palestine demonstrators may have disappointed in size, but delivered in passion.
The streets of Cairo have been the frontier for a range of demonstrations over the past two weeks. A Day of National Unity between Christians and Muslims was held on May 13. More than 200,000 people lined the streets of downtown Cairo to celebrate. Egypt has previously been home to harmonious relations between Christians and Muslims. However, sectarian tensions have been increasing – spurred by the burning of two Coptic Christian churches by Salafist groups on May 6. See also:
Shortly after the end of World War I, Australian troops bloodily suppressed a popular independence revolution in Egypt. This overlooked episode in Australia’s military history has never prompted much national soul-searching — but it should. The war in which some 60,000 Australians died was supposedly fought for liberal democratic values and the right of peoples to pursue national “self-determination”. Episodes like the Egyptian revolt suggest that a squalid imperial reality underlay the noble rhetoric, which is why it has been relegated to obscurity.
The Egyptian army has violently cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the night of April 8, BBC.co.uk said the next day. Medical sources said two protesters were killed and the health ministry said 71 were hurt. Protesters were demanding greater changes from the interim government that took over after dictator Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February, including demands that Mubarak be made to stand trial. Protesters re-occupied Tahrir Square on April 9, BBC.co.uk said.
The much-feared secret police and intelligence service that protected the regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by arresting, torturing and even killing opponents has begun burning documents and evidence that could incriminate them. This comes as calls escalate to abolish the force altogether and bring its officers to justice. Hundreds of protesters surrounded the main office of Amn al-Dawla, the State Security Police, in 6th of October City, on May 5 to try to stop the burning of files. Protesters shouted: “Justice, justice for they fired bullets on us.”
There was another win for “people’s power” in Egypt when interim prime minister Ahmed Shafiq resigned on March 3. Shafiq was sworn in by the overthrown dictator Hosni Mubarak and is closely associated with the old regime. He was replaced by former transport minister Essam Sharaf, who was asked by the military government to form a cabinet in the lead-up to elections scheduled for later this year.
Hidden beneath the spectacular street battles that forced Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak out of office was a trigger that exists in dozens of countries throughout the world — food. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. Commentators have focused on the corruption of the dictatorship, or the viral effects of the Tunisian uprising or what appears to be akin to an Arab political awakening. But the inability of the Egyptian regime to ensure a steady flow of food staples should also be viewed as a critical factor driving this seemingly spontaneous movement for freedom.

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