Tunisia-like riots breaking out in Egypt


north american scum
May 22, 2005
Article #1

Spoiler :
2 dead after thousands protest in rare Egypt outpouring

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Thousands of protesters spilled into the streets of Egypt on Tuesday, an unprecedented display of anti-government rage inspired in part by the tumult in the nearby North African nation of Tunisia.

Two people died in clashes between the protesters and police, according to an Interior Ministry statement. One demonstrator was killed by tear gas in the eastern city of Suez, while one policeman was killed in Cairo by rock-throwing protesters, it said. Thirty-six police officers were reported injured.

Throngs in the sprawling capital city marched from the huge Tahrir Square in Cairo toward the parliament building, according to CNN reporters on the scene.

Demonstrators threw rocks at police and police hurled rocks back. Tear-gas canisters were shot at demonstrators and the protesters threw them back.

Protest organizers said they hope to capture the regional momentum for political change set by Tunisians, who 10 days ago forced the collapse of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule.

The grievances were foreshadowed by several Egyptians who set themselves or tried to set themselves on fire earlier this month, mirroring the self-immolation of a Tunisian man whose action spurred the uprising there.

The Tunisian uprising was the most successful revolt in the region since 1979, but it is anybody's guess whether uprisings will spread to other Arabic-speaking lands.

Juan Cole, a Middle East historian at the University of Michigan, says Tunisia is different from other Arab nations. Tunisia, he said, is the "most secular country in the Arab world." Its traditions have favored women's rights, and its Islamist influence is negligible.

The United States and other governments are monitoring the demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere closely. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged all people to "exercise restraint" and supported "the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people."

"But our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," she said.

To highlight the role of police corruption, the protest organizers in Egypt picked January 25 -- Police Day and a national holiday -- to hold protests.

The protests started off small, but they grew as people came to the center of the city from bridges over the Nile River.

Police were restrained and at times were seemingly outnumbered by the protesters, who sang the national anthem and inched forward to express their ire toward the government.

Witnesses said large groups of plain-clothes police were heading to Tahrir Square.

Protesters had been expressing their anger over the rising cost of living, failed economic policies and corruption, but all those concerns were distilled into one overriding demand -- the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, in power for three decades.

The outpouring included young and old, Christians and Muslims, students, workers and business people.

"We breathe corruption in the air," said one demonstrator, who along with others said their children have no future.

At its peak there were perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 people in Tahrir Square, but that crowd later dwindled to about 5,000 to 8,000. The main road in front of parliament, Qasr Al-Aini, was closed to traffic. The square is two blocks from parliament.

"Egyptians have the right to express themselves," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki, commenting on the protests.

The Interior Ministry called on demonstrators to follow the law and avoid threatening the safety of bystanders, the public and private property.

Social media has been all-important in mobilizing and organizing protests. But bloggers and others in Egypt reported problems with electronic communication later in the day. Twitter is down or is operating slowly, activists can't access their cell phones or text messages, and opposition websites can't be accessed.

There were other demonstrations in Cairo suburbs of Heliopolis, Shubra Al-Khaima, Muhandasin and Dar Al-Salam.

One man said Egypt is not Tunisia, it's Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu, a reference to the late and much-reviled communist leader.

The Front to Defend Egypt Protesters, an alliance of lawyers who helped organize the events, said about 200 demonstrators were in the southern city of Aswan, 2,000 in the eastern city of Ismailiya, and about 3,000 in the northern city of Mahallah.

The Egyptian government did not issue permits for Tuesday's planned protests.

In an interview released Tuesday with state-run al-Ahram newspaper, Interior Minister Habib Adly warned that "the security agencies are able to stop any attempt to attend" the demonstrations and called the efforts of the "youth staging street protests ineffective."

By early Tuesday morning, more than 90,000 people throughout the country had pledged to participate in the Facebook event "We Are All Khaled Said," named after an Alexandria activist who was allegedly beaten to death by police.

The Facebook group demands raising the minimum wage, firing the interior minister, creating two-term presidential term limits and scrapping existing emergency laws that the group says "resulted in police control" over the people and the nation.

Amnesty International released a statement Monday "urging the Egyptian authorities not to crack down" on the planned nationwide demonstration.

The banned Muslim Brotherhood, the biggest organized opposition to Mubarak's regime, had stated it would not have an official presence at Tuesday's protests, but some of its members "have reportedly been summoned and threatened with arrest and detention" if they attend and protest, Amnesty International said.

Opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei posted statements supporting the protests on his Twitter account.

He also created a video statement addressing policemen that was released Monday on YouTube.

"I sympathize with you because sometimes you are asked to do things that you do not want to do," ElBaradei said.

"One day, I hope that you will regain your role as the protectors of the people; rather than protectors of ... fraud elections. I am sure that every one of you deep inside is looking forward to the day that his role will again be with the people and a part of them, rather than against them," he said.

Public sentiment against state security forces has grown recently with alleged videos of police brutality shown on the internet. A recent report from Human Rights Watch said the problem is "epidemic," and "in most cases, officials torture detainees to obtain information and coerce confessions, occasionally leading to death in custody."

Some other human rights groups, such as the Arabic Network for Human Rights, have drawn a comparison between Egypt and Tunisia under Ben Ali, in terms of the level of government corruption and police brutality.

Adly, the Egyptian interior minister, dismissed any such comparisons, calling it "propaganda" that had been rejected by politicians as "intellectual immaturity."

But one woman, identified only as Nahla, who planned to attend the Tuesday protests, disagreed. She wrote in an online post, "I hope the [Tunisia-style] revolution will be taught in history. And that Egyptians will learn in school later about the January 25th revolution."

Article #2

Spoiler :
Egypt protests: Three killed in 'day of revolt'

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.

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."

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".

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.

Is Mubarak on his way out just like Ben Ali?
Huh, and I thought Egypt wasn't doing all that bad...

Oh wait, forgot about Tunisia :cringe:
I'm gonna laugh when wikileaks spreads more democracy in the mideast than the US ever has.
It's spreading! :banana::banana::banana:

Hope it doesn't burn out too fast.

Well, wikileaks was one of the causes for the Tunisian riots. Which inspired these.
Tunisians don’t need advice from the Twittering classes
The inspiring uprising springs from people’s aspiration for real freedom, not from Western Wikileakers revealing ‘the truth’ to Africans.

Anyone who believes in freedom and democracy will be thoroughly heartened by recent events in Tunisia. A corrupt, authoritarian leader, backed for years by Western governments, has been swept aside by people rampaging for greater freedom and economic security. It’s an inspiring moment. And yet how is it being interpreted by Western observers? As a ‘Wikileaks revolution’ or a ‘Twitter war’ – terms which expose both the Western political class’s seriously emaciated skills of social analysis and also its self-obsession, where the implication is that if hadn’t been for us media-savvy whiteys exposing Tunisian corruption, those people would never have had the tools or the know-how to rise up against their rulers.

The uprising in Tunisia shows that there is a positive aspiration in African countries for freedom. Real freedom. After 23 years of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s rule – 23 years of authoritarianism, corruption and the flimsiest kind of ‘democracy’ – protesting groups of students and workers pushed him aside in a matter of days. And despite Ben Ali’s fleeing to Saudi Arabia, the protests are continuing, with throngs of people demanding that Ben Ali’s party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (CDR), be removed from power entirely and play no role in the new unity government that has been formed. This has come as a blow to Mohamed Ghannouchi, the CDR prime minister who became president upon Ali’s fleeing, who has been depicted as something of an Aung San Suu Kyi-style hero in Western media coverage. (The Western media far prefer morally upstanding, ideally LSE-educated individuals to unpredictable groups of angry plebs.)

Indeed, many Western observers seem perturbed that the protests continued post-Ben Ali. It is striking that some reports shifted from describing the protests as a ‘Jasmine revolution’ to fretting over the potential ‘slide into chaos’. One confused-sounding journalist reports that many of Tunisia’s political classes had ‘hoped that the toppling of Ben Ali would satisfy protesters’. The still-tense situation in the city of Tunis, where according to the BBC there are ‘occasional skirmishes interspersed with scenes of celebration’, is referred to as a ‘post-uprising riddle’. But this is no riddle. These onlookers have simply failed to learn one of the key lessons of history, which is that when protesting groups of people get a sense of their own power, of their ability to shape events and mould history, they are likely to push further and harder, to seek to go beyond their initially fairly limited demands. In this sense, we should hope the protesting continues, and that the people of Tunisia wring as many democratic concessions as they can from their rulers.

If the protests have unnerved some initially quite excited reporters, they have also – implicitly – challenged the idea that it falls to the so-called humanitarians of the West to liberate Africans from tyranny. The Tunisian uprising leaves that notion in tatters, for it was Western governments that helped to keep Ben Ali in power for 23 years. Cheered as a loyal ally in Africa, a keen supporter of the ‘war on terror’, Tunisia under Ben Ali was backed by both Washington and Paris (the former colonial power). Ben Ali’s regime received an estimated $350million in US military aid between 1987 and 2009. In 2009, following Ben Ali’s re-election for the fifth time in a row with over 90 per cent of the vote, Abdul-Raouf Ayadi, vice-president of the banned outfit the Congress for Democracy, said: ‘Western countries are backing the dictatorship in Tunisia and giving it financial and media support.’ Tunisia shows that the last thing Africans need is Western interference; that only hampers their ability to take command of their affairs, by allowing the expedient desires of foreign governments to override the interests of African people.

Yet in the Western re-telling, these impressive events have been reduced to a kind of super-angry form of blogging; they have been repackaged as the streetfighting equivalent of the inane Twittering that sucks up so much of the time of today’s chattering classes and self-obsessed students. Lacking the ability to provide a serious social analysis of the make-up of the Tunisian protesters (who are largely educated young people who have had enough of political corruption), or a political analysis of the West’s role in shoring up authoritarianism in Tunis, many have simply labelled the protests a ‘Twitter uprising’ or a ‘Facebook revolution’. Their dearth of analytical nous means that they obsessively focus on the trappings of the uprising (there’s no doubt that some social-networking tools were used for the purposes of communication), rather than addressing the substance of the uprising.

There is a strong streak of paternalism in this view of the fury in Tunisia. This can be seen most clearly in the labelling of the uprising as ‘the world’s first Wikileaks revolution’. Some claim that ‘the whistleblower website played a major role in stirring up public anger against Ben Ali’s corruption’, by publishing internal US cables that compared Ben Ali and his siblings to the mafia. Even the much-respected Foreign Policy website says Wikileaks was ‘a trigger and a tool for political outcry’ in Tunisia. The idea that Tunisians needed St Julian of Assange to unveil to them the corrupt, undemocratic shenanigans of their own rulers is bizarre. As one more critical account points out, ‘Tunisians have been documenting abuses by the Ben Ali regime and the first family for years’. Various civil society groups and political opposition movements were compiling reports on Ben Ali, and circulating them in the face of often draconian censorship, while Assange was still at a start-up company and writing demented documents about evil corporatist governments mind-controlling the masses.

The idea that this was a ‘Wikileaks revolution’, an uprising brought about by a revelation of the truth by wise men in the West, is more than just another example of media self-obsession and self-congratulation – it is an updated version of the White Man’s Burden. This is the White Wikileakers’ Burden, the notion that it falls to media-savvy folk over here to open the eyes and energise the hearts of enslaved brown people over there. Tunisian authoritarianism was backed for years by Western governments as part of the fantasy politics of saving the world from African chaos and Islamic fundamentalism – and now a Tunisian uprising is depicted as simply a physical extension of the fantasy politics of bedroom-based bloggers and leakers who seem to believe they can liberate people at the push of a button. The people of Tunisia come out of this uprising well; Western politicians and observers do not.
Mubarak ain't going anywhere. He's got a better grip on the country than Ben Ali ever did.

Additionally, we don't want him to. Tunisia looks (at this early stage) to be on track to a decently liberal democracy. In Egypt, the next most powerful force after Mubarak's party is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is all kinds of fundamentalist.

And yeah, I agree with Cheetah that the emphasis on technology in the Tunisian uprising is unwarranted, and frankly a little rasist.
If this rebellion will help set Egypt on the path to democracy, I support it.

Now I wonder what Obama will do... more than likely considers the status quo better and will support a brutal ally, further disillusioning the Muslims of the world.


Though the point has been made fundies could be swept to power in the chaos. Oh, what a lovely choice, secular dictator or religious dictators.
Mubarak ain't going anywhere. He's got a better grip on the country than Ben Ali ever did.

Additionally, we don't want him to. Tunisia looks (at this early stage) to be on track to a decently liberal democracy. In Egypt, the next most powerful force after Mubarak's party is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is all kinds of fundamentalist.

And yeah, I agree with Tunisia that the emphasis on technology in the Tunisian uprising is unwarranted, and frankly a little rasist.

The rest, i can't argue with. Disagree that the technology didn't play a role, but to each their own.

The bolded though, I don't see. Enlighten me?
I'm gonna laugh when wikileaks spreads more democracy in the mideast than the US ever has.

GOD DAMN IT, MR, that's what I was going to post! :mad:

Wikileaks has done more to start the Democratic Domino Effect in the Middle East with a few bucks of bandwidth than the US did with trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.
Awesome, hopefully they'll hang the butthole this time.
I always prefer the firing squad. At least since I read about Ceaucescu.

@Mr Dictator: I'd suggest Miles is refering to the apparent thought that the Muslims just can't think up democracy on their own without our superior, Western values reaching them through our technological innvations. It certainly seems that way to me with a lot of the reports I've read on Tunisia.
In Egypt, the next most powerful force after Mubarak's party is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is all kinds of fundamentalist.

If Mubarak can be overthrown, so can, ultimately, the Muslim Brotherhood, if they subject Egyptians to comparable levels of misery.
The bolded though, I don't see. Enlighten me?

As far as I can gather, it's similar to the traditional racist narrative that non-whites are by nature effeminate and passive and required the Promethean touch of whites and white know-how to progress.

Wikileaks is one of the causes but it's one of very many, and a relatively minor factor at that. When one overemphasize the role of the likes of Wikileaks, Twitter and Anonymous in the Tunisian Revolution, at the same time one overlooks the contribution of the far more important social and political factors within Tunisia.

I hope these riots send Egypt back to the path of the Pharaoh. :egypt:

But Mubarak is the Pharoah.
IMHO Egyptian rule will remain stable (at least until Mubarrak's death).

The focus should have diverted at least a week ago to Lebanon, which is probably going into islamization, and the Cristian "pocket" in Lebanon will possibly need a new home..

Tunisia should still be carefully dealt with to ensure that some kind of normal rule is attained there, instead of another psycho.
Top Bottom