International Socialist Review editor Ahmed Shawki reports from Cairo on the latest mass protests against Hosni Mubarak--and what the future holds for Egypt's uprising. This was first posted on February 2 at www.socialistworker.org . More coverage: Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal Al Jazeera live streaming from Egypt on the rising Live blogging by the Angry Arab
Ongoing mass demonstrations, strikes and riots have rocked Egypt since January 25. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in national protests on January 25 to demand an end to the United States-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. The regime has responded with brutality. By January 30, the media had reported at least 100 people had been killed. The regime has responded to the unrest by shutting down the internet — a key organising tool of the protests — across the country.
SYDNEY — "As we speak, Egypt is on fire," Arab community activist Omar Mostafa told about 50 people who attended a snap protest rally in support of the recent democracy protests in Egypt at Town Hall Square on January 29. "People are burning police stations and offices of the ruling party," he said. "[Egyptian dictator] Hosni Mubarak will go; it's just a matter of when. Democracy will win in Egypt." The crowd chanted: "Down, down Mubarak! Free Eqypt! Free, free the Arab world! Free Palestine! Free Iraq! Free Lebanon! Free Tunisia! Global Intifada! World Intifada!"
Al-Sharq al-Awsat said on July 15 the Libyan aid ship, Amaltheal (“Hope”) docked the night before at al-Arish in Egypt. The ship was bearing 2000 tons of aid supplies for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which is blockaded by Israel. The ship’s odyssey from Greece was marked by uncertainty and danger for the 21 passengers. It developed a mechanical problem that made it move very slowly on July 14. There was a question about whether its captain might try to take it right into Gaza, despite the Israeli military’s blockade.
After Israel’s May 31 raid on a civilian vessel trying to deliver goods to Gaza, Egypt announced on June 1 that it would temporarily open its border with Rafah to allow humanitarian and medical aid into the Gaza Strip. On May 31, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak responded swiftly to the Israeli navy's assault on the Freedom Flotilla, affirming Egypt's support for the people of Gaza. Israel’s ambassador to Egypt was quickly summoned by Egypt’s foreign ministry, and told Egypt condemns the violence against international activists and rejects the continued Gaza blockade.
One of the US governments most important allies in the Middle East was shaken in early April by strikes and demonstrations over rising food prices.
More than 1500 activists from the Middle East and around the world met in Cairo from March 29 to April 1 under the banner, Towards an International Alliance against Imperialism and Zionism. The conference the fifth held in Cairo since 2002 by the International Campaign against US and Zionist Occupation brought together Islamic, nationalist and socialist forces from the region, together with delegates from anti-war coalitions in Canada, Korea, Venezuela and Europe.
As the regime of President Hosni Mubarak regime in Egypt faces a growing crisis of legitimacy, expressed by protests, boycotts and industrial strikes, the government has pushed through a referendum to amend the constitution and enshrine the countrys police-state laws. On March 25, Amnesty International said the amendments will cause the greatest erosion of rights in 26 years in Egypt.