Egypt forbids more demonstrations

Posted: January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Egypt has today said it would ban more demonstrations and that it would also detain protesters. This comes in the wake of unprecedented violence against President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

Those activists who have incited the violence have again called upon Egyptians to take to the streets in an attempt to the Mubarak’s 30 year rule. During these protests three protesters and one police officer have lost their lives.

Police have engaged the protesters by firing teargas and water cannon into their midst hoping to disperse the crowds who occupied Tahrir square last night.

By daybreak this morning a relative calm had descended upon Cairo and other cities as police were deployed in force.

As the clean up teams moved the last of the debris from Cairo’s streets the state newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm arrived at newsstands with a startling warning. In red the fron page headline read: “Warning”.

“No provocative movements or protest gatherings or organisation of marches or demonstrations will be allowed, and immediate legal procedures will be taken and participants will be handed over to investigating authorities,” the state news agency MENA quoted the Interior Ministry as saying.

The 20,000 demonstrators who turned out to show their anger at Murbarak yesterday were inspired by the recent events in Tunisia which saw the people there overthrow their president. The protesters were angry about the poverty, unemployment and corruption currently afflicting Egypt.

One activist used Facebook to pass his message on posting: “To any free and honest citizen with a conscience who fears for his country, to anyone who saw yesterday’s violence against protesters, we ask you to pronounce a general strike across Egypt today and tomorrow.”

One activist group, the Sixth of April Youth, also used facebook to pass on the message for protests to continue today “and after tomorrow, until Mubarak goes”.

The activists call for the resignation of Mubarak and Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the dissolution of parliament and the formation of a national unity government.

Egypt’s population of 80 million is growing by 2 percent a year. 60 percent of the population – and 90 percent of the unemployed – are under 30 years old.

Around 40 percent of the population live on less than $2 a day, and a third are illiterate.

Washington, a close ally of Egypt, has called for restraint. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Mubarak’s government was stable and was actively seeking ways to meet its peoples demands.

“Change must happen. It must,” said a butcher in central Cairo who asked to be unidentified.

The internet messaging service Twitter, was one of the main tools used to organise the protests and the company has said it has now been banned in Egypt.

The activists appear to be determined in their aims using the internet to tell their followers: “tomorrow, don’t go to work. Don’t go to college. We will all go down to the streets and stand hand in hand for you our Egypt. We will be millions.”

Yesterday’s coordinated anti-government protests were unlike anything witnessed in Egypt since Mubarak came to power in 1981 after the death of president Anwar Sadat who was assassinated by Islamists.

The Interior Ministry has blamed the protests on the Muslim Brotherhood although the banned Islamist group has played a very small role angering its own members for not being active enough in the demonstrations.

“The Interior Ministry blamed the protest on us to give itself an excuse … for using force to disperse the people to make it appear it is not hitting the Egyptian people but the Brotherhood,” Brotherhood member Essam el-Erian has said.

 

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