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Thread: Massive anti-government protests erupt in Egypt

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Massive anti-government protests erupt in Egypt

    3 Reported Dead as Egyptians Protest to End Mubarak’s Rule



    CAIRO — Thousands of people demanding an end to the nearly 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak filled the streets of several Egyptian cities on Tuesday, in an unusually large and sometimes violent burst of civil unrest that appeared to threaten the stability of a crucial Arab ally of the United States.



    The protests, at least partly inspired by the toppling of the authoritarian government in Tunisia, began small but grew all day, with protesters occupying one of Cairo’s central squares. Security forces, which normally prevent major public displays of dissent, initially struggled to suppress the demonstrations, allowing them to swell.



    But early Wednesday morning, firing rubber bullets, tear gas and concussion grenades, the police finally drove groups of demonstrators from the square, as the sit-in was transformed into a spreading battle involving thousands of people and little restraint. Plainclothes officers beat several demonstrators, and protesters flipped over a police car and set it on fire.



    Protests also flared in Alexandria, Suez, Mansura and Beni Suef. There were reports of three deaths and many injuries around the country.



    Photographers in Alexandria caught people tearing up a large portrait of Mr. Mubarak. A video posted on the Internet of demonstrations in Mahalla el-Kubra showed the same, while a crowd snapped cellphone photos and cheered. The acts — rare, and bold here — underscored the anger coursing through the protests and the challenge they might pose to the aging and ailing Egyptian leader.



    Several observers said the protests represented the largest display of popular dissatisfaction with the government in recent memory, perhaps since 1977, when people across Egypt violently protested the elimination of subsidies for food and other basic goods.



    It was not clear whether the size and intensity of the demonstrations — which seemed to shock even the protesters — would or could be sustained.
    The government quickly placed blame for the protests on the country’s largest opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is tolerated but officially banned. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said the protests were the work of “instigators” led by the Muslim Brotherhood, while the Islamic movement declared that it had little to do with them.



    The reality that emerged from interviews with protesters — many of whom said they were independents — was more complicated and reflected one of the Egyptian government’s deepest fears: that the opposition to Mr. Mubarak’s rule now spreads across ideological lines and includes ordinary people angered by corruption and economic hardship as well as secular and Islamist opponents. That broad base of support could make it harder for the government to co-opt or crush those demanding change.



    “The big grand ideological narratives were not seen today,” said Amr Hamzawy, research director of the Carnegie Middle East Center. “This was not about ‘Islam is the solution’ or anything else.”



    Security officials said a soldier in Cairo, along with two protesters in Suez, were killed in circumstances that were not immediately clear. Scores of demonstrators and more than a dozen soldiers were injured in the Cairo clashes, which lasted hours and included bouts of rock-throwing by both protesters and the police.



    There were mixed signals about how the authorities planned to handle the unrest. In contrast with other recent political demonstrations in Cairo, thousands of security officers seemed content at times to contain rather than engage the protesters — especially when it became clear that the demonstrators would not retreat from Tahrir Square. In a statement, the Interior Ministry said its policy had been “securing and not confronting these gatherings.”



    But there were signs of other containment tactics: Several times Tuesday afternoon, cellphone networks appeared to be blocked or otherwise unavailable for people calling from Tahrir — or Liberation — Square. Many people had trouble getting access to Twitter, the social networking tool that helped spread news of the protests. Twitter confirmed that its site had been blocked in Egypt, Reuters reported. For much of the day, state television made no mention of the demonstrations.



    By early Wednesday morning, the police appeared determined to clear protesters from the streets, leading to more clashes.



    On a bridge, drivers stopped their cars and some joined the protesters, chanting, “The people want the downfall of the regime.” Below the bridge, owners of the feluccas that cruise the Nile with tourists unmoored their boats and set sail.



    In the days leading up to the protests, more than 90,000 people signed up on a Facebook page for the “Day of Revolution,” organized by a coalition of opposition and pro-democracy groups to be held on Police Day, a national holiday. The organizers framed the protest as a stand against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment. The Muslim Brotherhood said it would not officially participate, though some of its members were among the protesters in Cairo.



    But many people said they did not belong to any particular group and were attending their first demonstration. They included Ramy Rafat, 25, who said he lived in El-Marg, an impoverished neighborhood in north Cairo. Mr. Rafat, who has a master’s degree in petroleum geology and is unemployed, said he learned about the protest on a Facebook site for Khaled Said, 28, who was fatally beaten by police officers last year.



    “There are a lot of things wrong with this country,” Mr. Rafat said. “The president has been here for 30 years. Why?”



    Aya Sayed Khalil, 23, brought her sister, her mother and her father to the protest. “I told them the revolution was coming,” she said. Asked about their political affiliation, Ms. Khalil’s mother, Mona, said, “We’re just Egyptians.”



    The marchers came from all social classes and included young men recording tense moments on cellphone cameras, and middle-age women carrying flags of the Wafd party, one of Egypt’s opposition groups. A doctor, Wesam Abdulaziz, 29, said she had traveled two hours to join the protest. She had been to one demonstration before, concerning the treatment of Mr. Said.



    “I came to change the government,” she said. “I came to change the entire regime.”



    What began as a small demonstration outside Cairo’s Supreme Court building around noon Tuesday quickly swelled. Hundreds marched through winding streets while security officers shadowed them in a moving cordon. Scuffles broke out as the officers tried to halt the march by linking arms and forming lines.



    “Freedom, freedom, freedom,” the protesters chanted. “Where are the Egyptian people?”



    By midafternoon, groups of people had converged in Tahrir Square, where they met security forces in full riot gear and a water cannon truck. Several people said the clashes began in earnest after protesters jumped on the truck and tried to take control of the water cannon.



    In front of the Mugamma, a towering administrative building in the square, young men threw rocks at the police as older demonstrators tried to stop them. Several young men were carried away from the clashes, clutching bloodied tissues to their heads.



    As night fell, the crowd grew larger. An older man with a bullhorn appealed to his more Internet-aware counterparts, asking them to spread the word about the demonstrations to railway workers and dockworkers. Many people said they planned to sleep in the square.



    After midnight, the security forces, using concussion grenades and tear gas, renewed their attempts to disperse the protesters.



    Since Jan. 14, when President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia fled his country during a popular revolt, autocrats throughout the region have fretted about responses by their own restive populations who shared many of the grievances that toppled Mr. Ben Ali: rampant corruption, injustice, high unemployment and the simple lack of dignity accorded them by the state.



    It was unclear whether the day of demonstrations would lead to any broader social unrest. “I think it is the beginning of the process,” said Mustapha Kamel al-Sayyid, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo.



    “Some of the demonstrators are still in Tahrir and said they will not leave until their demands are met by the government,” he said. “Their demands will not be met by the government, but they will not give up.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/wo...t/26egypt.html
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Photo taken by Redditor latenightcabdriver who says: "A picture I took yesterday in Tahrir Square, Cairo, at 11 PM."

    "The sign says "Leave, leave, Mubarak."
    edit: Wow, thanks for the massive support. Submitted to BBC. If you have emails of other news organizations to which I could submit this (Al-Jazeera, Reuters), please help out a fellow redditor.
    edit 2, 3:30 PM Cairo time: Facebook is now blocked in Egypt, after Twitter was blocked yesterday morning."

    "It was mostly young people, but there were some old people as well. A woman that looked 60 was marching beside me from Gamet El Dowal street to Tahrir Square, almost two hours of walking and shouting."

    "Some more, as requested.
    http://i.imgur.com/3Xdih.jpg http://i.imgur.com/ywN70.jpg http://i.imgur.com/tmRWn.jpg (the sign says "We won't die")
    http://i.imgur.com/CBc5s.jpg http://i.imgur.com/vtDlt.jpg (down with Mubarak)
    http://i.imgur.com/RXx6F.jpg (sign says "Leave with your father, Gamal")
    http://i.imgur.com/8JTPK.jpg (down with Mubarak)
    http://i.imgur.com/zctc0.jpg http://i.imgur.com/vY1Ch.jpg"

    "The scene was absolutely wonderful last night in that square. The support of the people around you gives you so much strength and courage to do stuff like what this guy is doing. Morale was so high. People were constantly coming in with supplies of water, food, and blankets. I felt very proud of my fellow Egyptians."

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiL7c9uHc4w[/youtube]"I was 50 meters behind that truck, watched this as it happened. I could not believe the bravery that I had just witnessed. The guy flew into the air with complete disregard to his safety. The cop is the guy dressed in red."
    "If you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention," Heather Heyer's facebook quote.

  3. #3
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i just hope that if they do get rid of mubarak they're not going to fuck it up even worse by then going and electing the muslim fucking brotherhood.
    the only thing worse than authoritarian regimes in the muslim world is democratically elected islamist governments.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I was thinking the same thing.

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    Silver Member Working Girl's Avatar
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    Like the other posters i am taking a wait and see approach although i did see this post on the BBC from a woman who was there.

    "I plan to join protests again today after work and I know many others who want to as well. Tuesday was not just a day of anger but hopefully the beginning of the end. We need to make a change. My country is suffering - our literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world. Our president has been in power for over 30 years and is over 80 years old.
    Some worry what will happen if he goes. They worry about anarchy or the rise of the Muslim brotherhood. I am not worried about that. I am protesting for hope."

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Working Girl View Post
    "I plan to join protests again today after work and I know many others who want to as well. Tuesday was not just a day of anger but hopefully the beginning of the end. We need to make a change. My country is suffering - our literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world. Our president has been in power for over 30 years and is over 80 years old.
    Some worry what will happen if he goes. They worry about anarchy or the rise of the Muslim brotherhood. I am not worried about that. I am protesting for hope."
    i'm sorry but that sounds really naïve. i'm willing to bet money that if mubarak is ousted and free elections are held, the muslim brotherhood will be in the top 2 parties.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Well it is the Muslim Brotherhood encouraging the protests so I wouldn't be surprised if they came to power if Mubarak falls.

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Egypt's internet access is gone.
    "If you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention," Heather Heyer's facebook quote.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by minime7 View Post
    Well it is the Muslim Brotherhood encouraging the protests so I wouldn't be surprised if they came to power if Mubarak falls.

    Then pity the Egyptians.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Joe Biden says Egypt's Mubarak no dictator, he shouldn't step down

    ... and wonders what the Egyptian protesters want.


    Vice President Joe Biden spoke to the PBS NewsHour tonight with the most direct US governent comments yet about the gathering Egypt protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 29-year reign.

    Mr. Biden's comments are unlikely to be well-received by regime opponents, as they fit a narrative of steadfast US support for a government they want to bring down. About eight protesters and one policeman have died this week as Egypt has sought to bring down the heavy hand of the state against opponents. Since the US provides about $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt a year, the repressive apparatus of the state is seen by many in Egypt as hand in glove with the US.

    Tonight in Cairo, activists said that internet service was being systematically blocked, as was the use of instant messages on local cellphones, despite repeated calls from the US State Department for Egypt to allow social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to remain available to the nation's people. Egypt is bracing for a showdown tomorrow. Organizers have called for massive protests against the regime after noon prayers on Friday, seeking to build on the unprecedented wave of public demonstrations this week calling for an end to Mubarak's rule.


    Whether the protests will be as large as democracy activists hope is an open question. Overnight in Egypt, the government was doing everything it could to head them off.

    Ahead of a day that could prove decisive, NewsHour host Jim Lehrer asked Biden if the time has "come for President Mubarak of Egypt to go?" Biden answered: "No. I think the time has come for President Mubarak to begin to move in the direction that – to be more responsive to some... of the needs of the people out there."

    Asked if he would characterize Mubarak as a dictator Biden responded: “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

    He also appeared to make one of the famous Biden gaffes, in comments that could be interpreted as questioning the legitimacy of protesters' demands. Monitor Cairo correspondent Kristen Chick, other reporters in the country, and activists have generally characterized the main calls of demonstrators as focused on freedom, democracy, an end to police torture, and a more committed government effort to address the poverty that aflicts millions of Egyptians.

    Biden urged non-violence from both protesters and the government and said: "We’re encouraging the protesters to – as they assemble, do it peacefully. And we’re encouraging the government to act responsibly and – and to try to engage in a discussion as to what the legitimate claims being made are, if they are, and try to work them out." He also said: "I think that what we should continue to do is to encourage reasonable... accommodation and discussion to try to resolve peacefully and amicably the concerns and claims made by those who have taken to the street. And those that are legitimate should be responded to because the economic well-being and the stability of Egypt rests upon that middle class buying into the future of Egypt."

    Egypt's protesters, if they're paying attention to Biden at all, will certainly be wondering which of their demands thus far have been illegitimate.

    Joe Biden says Egypt's Mubarak no dictator, he shouldn't step down... - CSMonitor.com
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Biden is such a retard.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Isn't Egypt one of the US' only allies in the Middle East? Can you imagine what'll happen if a new more radical Islamic govt. rises up from this revolution? I really hope the people won't allow some extremists to take over their govt. especially cause they're all protesting for change.

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    This is going to be a domino effect to the whole of the region from the Maghreb (north Africa) to the middle East. The problem with these countries there is a huge part of the population who are young and unemployed and with corrupt and dictatorial regimes. It was building up to this for a long time. I mean in several countries like Tunisia, Algeria and in Morocco you had several people setting themselves on fire due to the economic situation there last year and this is the culmination of that.

    I am not sure if the Muslim Brotherhood will take over - I hope not but I do think they will definitely be a part of a new Government but it will be interesting but there is noises of protests in Algeria, Libya and Yemen as well as some countries in the middle east which will follow. This really feels like when the Eastern Block/Soviet Union failed in 1989.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    this is going to sound horrible and politically incorrect but these countries are better off with authoritarian governments like mubarak's (and ben ali's, in the case of tunisia), or authoritarian kings like morocco and jordan, than as democracies. what's going to happen in egypt if mubarak falls? they will elect the muslim brotherhood. in morocco, the king regularly sends troops to the borders with algeria to keep islamist militants out of morocco, where they go to rouse people up against the government and in favour of anti-western, heavily islamic regimes. the day they topple the (admittedly authoritarian) monarchy, morocco will go to islamist hell.

    do you think egyptians are going to oust mubarak and then elect the pro-western, pro-democratic, secular mohamed elbaradei - educated, pro-west, who was once the director-general of a UN agency and a nobel peace prize laureate? of course not. they'll elect the muslim brotherhood, for years the country's strongest opposition force. and that will suck way worse than anything mubarak could ever do.

    so yeah, biden's right to be defending mubarak... but he shouldn't. because by openly showing the US' support to mubarak, he's only lending credibility to his opposition as 'true egyptians' (i.e. anti-west and anti-US)...
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    I don't necessarily agree that the Muslim Brotherhood will take over although if Mubarak does flee - they will probably be part of a coalition of sorts. From what I know about Egypt - I don't think the people will actually tolerate a Saudi styled religious government. The people who are protesting want a real democracy and real opportunities to get out of poverty or have more rights. I mean, people setting themselves on fire and deep poverty and rising food prices with a corrupt elite who are filling their pockets and ignoring the economic problems - something is gonna give.

    And the problem why the Muslim Brotherhood has garned so much support from a section of the population is due to this suppression. They have grassroot support - same thing with Hamas and Hezbollah - if there is a real chance to actually form a real democracy and it might be wishful thinking but I really hope this is the case, support for those types of organisations will diminish. Poverty breeds ignorance and fear and they feed and spread that. But the scary thing you have to watch out for is Saudi Arabia. The King is aging and is rumoured to be dying/really ill and if he goes- than that country might implode and the very Wahhabism/Salafist version of Islam they have been funding/spreading amongst the Muslim world will probably go and bite the House of Saud.

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