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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Tahrir Square’

Egyptian Reporter Defaces Subway ‘Anti-Savage’ Ad, Sprays an Opponent, Gets Arrested (Video)

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Mona Eltahawy is an extremely well-spoken, Egyptian-American journalist who has become the g0-to speaker for comments on the Middle East in general, and on Egypt and Women’s issues in particular.  A speaker who stays on message no matter what is being asked, Eltahawy’s theme is: former Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak and those who supported him are always bad, Muslims seeking to control their own destiny are always good and should be supported in the name of freedom and democracy, no matter how reprehensible their actions. Over the past few years Eltahawy has regularly been represented as an expert on such media outlets as CNN, the Guardian (UK), The New York Times and the Washington Post.

Eltahawy was arrested Wednesday evening, September 26, in a New York City subway station because she insisted free speech included her right to deface an ad espousing a message with which she disagreed – Pamela Geller’s anti-Jihad ad discussed and shown here.  She also insisted her free speech right extended to spraying toxic paint on a woman, Pamela Hall, who tried to interfere with Eltahawy’s efforts to deface Geller’s ad.  And then Eltahawy blamed Hall for interfering with her free speech rights and accused the arresting police officers of interfering with her “non-violent” protest, thereby engaging in anti-democratic activity.

It appears Eltahawy has a singularly self-focused understanding of freedom and democracy.  Given her limitations, it is problematic that so many media outlets rely on Eltahawy as an “expert.”  It is possible that given her criminal activity Wednesday evening, some will see her convoluted views of reality as casting doubts on past Eltahawy discourses.

The journalist’s inability to recognize why her activity was criminal and subverted the First Amendment, simply because Geller’s anti-Jihad ad constituted speech with which she didn’t agree, is telling.

But this isn’t the first time Eltahawy’s view of reality has been refracted through her own, narrow prism.

Eltahawy is best known for being an ardent activist for women’s rights, a dangerous and valiant effort for a Muslim.  She has written about the enormously high percentage of women who have been sexually assaulted in Egypt, as many as 80 percent, and that four out of five Egyptian women have reported being sexually assaulted.

Although Eltahawy has been highly critical and very vocal about the subjugation of women under Islam, when that view bumps up against her global recognition as an articulate spokesperson for the revolutionary Arab Spring, a disconnect takes place.

In the context of the anti-Jihad ads which she defaced, Eltahawy expressed outrage over the use of the term “savage,” to describe Jihadi activity.  In her view, the use of the word savage was an insult because she interpreted it to refer to all Muslims.  While defacing the ad, she told Hall, who tried to prevent the ad from being damaged, that she was protesting racism, and that Hall was defending racism.

But Eltahawy described Muslims who sexually assaulted and beat her last winter as a “pack of wild animals.”  So, was her anger over the use of the term savage, when she described wild, violent Muslims as “wild animals” hypocritical?  Not necessarily, because her criticism of the Egyptian police is consistent with her world view.  There were numerous reports of women assaulted by the civilian crowds, the revolutionaries, in Tahrir Square, during the Arab spring.  And it is in commenting on those assaults that Eltahawy’s hypocrisy is made clear.

Perhaps the best known, to western audiences, of sexual assaults by the Arab spring activists, is the assault on CBS’s Lara Logan.  Logan was brutally physically and sexually assaulted by those demonstrating in Tahrir Square crowds in February, 2011.

When Eltahawy was asked to comment on CTV News on the attacks on Logan, she “unequivocally condemned” the violence experienced by Logan.  However, the focus of her ire was always pointed back at the Mubarak regime, which was, she said, “known for targetting women.”

Eltahawy even went so far as to insinuate that Logan’s story was in some ways questionable, or at least an anomaly.  She also deflected the responsibility for the attack on unnamed others.

“Women I know said it was the safest area in Cairo,” Eltahawy said of Tahrir Square during the demonstrations.  But after Mubarak, the area was “open to all, so we don’t know who else was there.”

Pamela Hall is pressing charges against Eltahawy.  Her clothing and her bags were damaged by the paint.  When reached by The Jewish Press, Hall said she knew who Eltahawy was as soon as she saw her, but she was “surprised” to see her spray painting the ad.

According to Hall, using “paint is a much more serious act than slapping a sticker up and walking away.  What was she thinking?”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Thousands Protest Egyptian Election Results, Set Ablaze Establishment Candidate’s HQ

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Thousands gathered overnight in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to demonstrate against Egypt’s election results which will pit deposed ruler Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi in a runoff election on June 16 and 17, al Ahram reports.

According to Egypt’s Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) officially announced on Monday the results of the first round, with Mohamed Mursi at the head of the pack with 5,764,952 votes, and Ahmed Shafiq second with 5,505,327 votes.

46.42 per cent of eligible voters participated in the first round.

On Monday night, Shafiq’s presidential campaign headquarters in the upscale Dokki neighborhood in Cairo were ransacked and set on fire.

“They seemed to know what they were after and they went directly to the storage rooms and set them on fire using petrol bombs,” Ahmed Abdel Ghani, 30, a member of Shafiq’s campaign, told Reuters.

The main headquarters villa did not burn, but protesters destroyed computers inside.

Graffiti on the wall outside the villa read: “No to Shafiq, no to feloul” (an Arabic word referring to the “remnants” of Mubarak’s era).

“We are sending a message to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) that we will never accept Ahmed Shafiq as our next president. He is the second Mubarak and was even in the Air Force like the ousted leader,” Aly, 24, a pharmacist, told al Ahram. “Personally I think the elections were rigged to put Mursi first, as it would have been a crisis if Shafiq was top – but, make no mistake, Shafiq is the military’s man.”

Soon the number of protesters in the square grew to thousands, led by former presidential contender and a left-wing labour lawyer Khaled Ali, who marched to Talaat Harb Square and around downtown Cairo before coming back to Tahrir Square.

“Smash Shafiq on his head,” the marchers chanted, holding Mubarak’s prime minister’s presidential campaign posters upside down with his face crossed out.

Others chanted “Down with the dogs of the military regime” and called on bystanders in balconies to join them.

One protestor held a poster saying “If Shafiq wins, we are all dead.”

Jacob Edelist

Egypt’s Rising Crescent Moon

Monday, December 12th, 2011

In Iran, Turkey, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, perhaps even Libya, and now in Egypt it is official: the Islamic crescent moon is swelling and gaining height and imposes an ever-expanding shadow over the region surrounding us. The poor, unemployed, ignorant and neglected peoples who were sick of the hell-on-earth that was their lives and the cruel rulers who oppressed them, shake themselves off, and wounded, bleeding, stumbling, they rise up and continue – despite the heavy price in blood – to run towards the green incandescence that pierces the darkness of the bitter reality from the heights of the minarets, and guides the way upwards to Paradise, where there is no poverty or deprivation, no pain or oppression, no limitations or prohibitions.


“In Those Days”


Egypt began its path toward independent modernity more than two hundred years ago, but the longer its journey towards stability and ascendancy of reason over emotion, the further it gets from this goal. During the twenties, thirties and forties, and more accurately, until the 23rd of July, 1952, Egypt enjoyed a vibrant cultural life, celebrated literary salons, many active civil movements, theater, opera, and women began to walk bare-headed in the street challenging the male hegemony and Islamic radicals.


An opera house was active in Cairo since the mid 19th century, and women performed there publicly, in severe contradiction to the dictates of Islamic Shari’a. The secular, and even the permissive culture of Europe was attractive to many of the elite, which was evidenced by the many Egyptian films that dealt with “the eternal triangle” of marital infidelity. There were those in Egypt who saw themselves as European, descendants of the Greek and Roman residents of Alexandria. But this sort of public conduct, tainted by liberalism and permissiveness, was not accepted in Islamic tradition.


As a result of the discovery of the Pharaonic graves and the deciphering of the hieroglyphs in the middle of the 19th century, their glorious past was revealed to the Egyptians, and many of them – especially the Copts – began to draw upon it and define themselves accordingly. However, according to Islam, the name “Pharaoh” is synonymous with heresy and war against Allah, therefore to define Egypt as a continuation of the ways of the Pharaohs was anathema in the eyes of Islamic radicals.


The reaction to these anti-Islamic trends began in 1928, when Hasan al-Banna gathered a group of like-minded friends (the “Muslim Brotherhood”) who were very concerned about the cultural and ethical deterioration that was spreading among the elite. They blamed the British occupation and claimed that it was under its auspices and with its encouragement that all of these evils penetrated into Egyptian society, and they formulated an active plan built on three components: a struggle to get rid of foreign occupation, a struggle to purge society of the elements of foreign culture that had penetrated it, and the imposition of Islamic Shari’a on all spheres of private, family and public life. These three principles still form the doctrine of the “Muslim Brotherhood”.


The military took control of Egypt in July, 1952, and quickly tried to build legitimacy for its regime on the doctrine of “Arab Socialism”, which is also inconsistent with Islamic values, and has been in conflict with the “Brotherhood” ever since. Some of their leaders were executed, most notably their primary ideologue, Sayyed Qutb, who was hung in 1966 because he determined that the leadership of a country which is not built on Shari’a is heretical and is a valid target for jihad to be waged against it. Many in Egypt saw the defeat in 1967 as divine punishment for the hanging of Qutb.


And “In This Season”


The Egyptian constitution, which remained in effect until a few months ago, forbade the establishment of religious parties in order to prevent the Brotherhood from taking power, and so the Brotherhood turned to social action, mainly in helping the poor, and in Egypt there are many such unfortunates, to deal with everyday life. The Brotherhood are those who help the millions of Egyptians who are living in unplanned neighborhoods by supplying food, drinking water, medical clinics, education and employment. When buildings would collapse upon their residents (a common occurrence in Egypt because of the failure of corrupt officials to properly oversee of construction) representatives of the Brotherhood were always the first to arrive to rescue the wounded, before the government bulldozers arrived to clear the ruins with the wounded still inside.


The Brotherhood “sowed with tears” (all the years by the sweat of their brow) for the benefit of the many poor of the nation, and today – after Mubarak was thrown out and the Brotherhood was permitted to enter into politics – they “reap with joy” their social investment and “carry the sheaves” (the admiration among the people) with pride. It was only natural that the people, who are mostly religious and believing, who pray even in the streets, fast during Ramadan, and make the Haj pilgrimage despite the expense, would give their vote to the Brotherhood, and almost thirty seven percent voted for their Freedom and Justice Party among the third of the country that voted two weeks ago.


But the big surprise was the great support for the Salafis, who won 24.4% of the votes. The word “Salaf” in Arabic is an abbreviation of the expression “al-Salaf al-Salih”, which means “the Righteous Ancestors”. The difference between the Salafis and the “Muslim Brotherhood” is this: the Brotherhood tries to take the Islamic religion, which was established in the seventh century, and adjust it to the society of the twenty-first century, while the Salafis try to take the society of the twenty-first century and adjust it to the seventh. One may say, in general, metaphorically, that the Brotherhood are more like Modern Orthodox Jews, and the Salafis are more like the Ultra-Orthodox, who cleave to the words of Allah and Mohammad, and are stricter about women’s head coverings; therefore the faces of the women are covered with the niqab, which allows only the eyes to be seen, and their hands are covered with black gloves. When a quarter of the electorate voted for the Salafist “al-Nur” (“The [implicitly: Divine] Light”) party, it was a surprise to many.


The total number of combined votes that were given to the “Brotherhood”, the Salafis and the moderate religious “al-Wasat” (The Center) Party in nine of the 27 zones that voted, is 65.3%, almost two thirds of the voters. If this continues to be the picture after all the rounds of elections to the Peoples’ Council – the Lower House, and the “Shura Council”, the Upper House, then the combined religious forces – who were chosen strictly democratically – will be able to form a strong and stable government. But things are not that easy, especially because the world-view of the Brotherhood is different from that of the Salafis, and they might have differences over a number of issues: The attitude toward seculars and Copts; the status of women in the public sphere: media, educational institutions and the workplace; and the question of separation between the sexes has already arisen, and quite powerfully.


‘Abd al-Mun’im Shahat, one of the Salafi leaders, already expressed with great decisiveness that Shari’a will be the law of the state, and it will determine citizenship, equality and freedom. This means that the Christian Copts might lose their freedom, their status and even their citizenship, despite the fact that they – in any event, in their own eyes – are the indigenous residents of Egypt and the Muslims are the “new kids on the block”. One Salafi spokesman, Hazem Abu Isma’il, who is also a candidate for president, said this week that if he is elected as president, he will forbid the selling of wine and the mingling of men and women in the workplace and, in his opinion, the time has come that the government should prepare public opinion for the imposition of women’s head coverings. One of the leaders of the “Light” Party, Muhamad ‘Abd al-Hadi, did him one better when he declared that the Kor’an has already announced the victory of the Salafis in the elections, because it is written: “We will turn you (the believers) into leaders and inheritors (of power)”. The dangerous part of this saying is the hidden message that is contained within, that if “We (the Salafis) were chosen for leadership”, they may never yield power, even at the price of a non-democratic transformation of the government.


The Muslim Brotherhood fears for the status of Egypt in the world if they take steps such as these against the seculars and the Copts, so the radical Salafi approach might throw the ability of the Brotherhood to form a coalition with the Salafis into uncertainty. It’s reasonable to believe that the Brotherhood will try to form a wide coalition with a few of the secular parties, in order to decrease the Salafi demands, if they agree to join the coalition.


It’s important to note that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis were not at the forefront of the demonstrations that began in late January and consequently brought about the fall of Mubarak. They stood behind, and watched as the youth and the seculars, ground into mincemeat by the police and the military, succeeded to bring down Mubarak. The Brotherhood waited to see what would happen, and when the time came for elections, they were already organized enough to establish a party, present well-known and genial candidates, publish a party platform, staff polling committees and compose and finance election propaganda. They also were able to bring people – even the handicapped and the ill – to the voting booths and to “help” them vote. The ability of the Brotherhood to organize in such a short time is the result of long years of organized activities carried out for the benefit of the population.


There is a possibility that in the next rounds of elections taking place in the coming weeks that the religious parties will strengthen their position because the regions where the next rounds of elections will be held are more conservative than were those in the first round.


The Seculars and the Military


The situation of the seculars is truly tragic. They were the ones who tried over the years to advance Egypt towards modernity; they were the ones who went out to Tahrir Square to get rid of Mubarak and they were the ones who clashed with the army in recent months in order to reduce the violence used to break up the demonstrations and in order to minimize the army’s involvement in the new political life. But they spent their time fighting the army instead of setting up a party, they demonstrated in the streets instead of organizing meetings, they organized elitist organizations instead of connecting with the poor, and so, they did not meet their own expectations in the election results. All of the secular parties together, including the veteran “al-Wafd” party, achieved about one third of the seats in the Lower House, and if this trend continues in the next rounds, the Islamist majority in the Parliament might form a new constitution reflecting their own interests, values and world-view: a weakened position for the president and a strengthened parliament that could successfully challenge and oppose him, Shari’a as the basis for legislation, placing the status of the judicial system underneath Islamic law and placing the military under the authority of the elected bodies, i.e. the Islamists.


The matter of the military is especially sensitive, since the military in Egypt is an economic empire that comprises companies, shopping malls, financial institutions, enterprises and real estate; so the military will not agree to be under the authority of politicians or even elected officials. This situation might create great tension between the military and the religious parties, which will seek to fulfill the mandate of governance based on the trust of the majority of voters, and the military has a clear agenda to maintain its independence and its assets, despite the fact that the country finances it.


Future Conduct of Egypt


The most important question is how will the new Egyptian government conduct itself, when for the first time in modern Egyptian history (“Since the days of Pharaoh”, in the words of the head of the elections committee) it represents the people in a fair way. After more than two hundred years of “unanimous” decisions, i.e., the dictates of the ruler, authentic representatives are about to administer Egypt according to the cultural world-view of the electorate. But “your people have many needs” and anyone who takes a position of responsibility must give solutions to the ninety million residents of Egypt, a third of whom live in unplanned neighborhoods without running water, sewage, electricity, means of communication, suitable education and social services.


The new government will be expected to restart the economy, and if they don’t do it, and soon, they might find themselves up against a “revolution of the hungry” among those who elected them. The government must renew foreign investments in the Egyptian economy, because this is the only way to provide employment for the many thousands of graduates from universities, colleges and professional schools who enter the labor market every year in the shrinking economy, and don’t find a decent livelihood. It’s even worse for women, because of the social and traditional limitations on occupations and places in which they can work.


Another important task that stands before the new government is to bring back the tourists who, since January, have been avoiding Egypt, and as a result, millions of Egyptians whose livelihood depends on tourism, have lost the source of their income during the past year. But to the Salafis, tourism is quite problematic because the tourists do not behave according to the Islamic code: they demand alcoholic drinks, they eat food that is not “Halal” (the Shari’a version of kosher) and female tourists don’t always dress modestly. Also because in the nightclubs that tourists like to frequent, people don’t behave according to the Islamic concept of modesty, and also because of the fact that the tourists come to see and be impressed by the Pharaonic culture, which, according to Islam, was especially heretical. So the matter of tourism will have to undergo public debate in Egypt. To the Salafis there is a solution to the decline of income from tourism: Muhammad ‘Abd al-hadi, who was mentioned above, said that if Egypt can get their hands on all of the money that Mubarak’s people stole and still are stealing from the public coffers, the economic situation of the country would be much better.


An economic recovery may emerge, but only if the demonstrations cease and the new government is seen by the world as “reasonable”, despite its Islamic nature. The peace agreement with Israel will also play a role in reinvigorating the economy. Abrogation might create an atmosphere of conflict, and even if war doesn’t break out, this murky atmosphere will discourage investments and tourism. For more than a generation, the peace agreement has been the cornerstone of US-Egyptian relations. Since the signing of the agreement in Washington in 1979, the US has given Egypt billions of dollars in aid and food, mainly in order to preserve the agreement. Any attempt to violate the agreement is likely to cause harsh a American response and possibly even termination of aid, including the essential military aid.


There are other issues that the Egyptian public will have to decide upon: One of them is the status of Tahrir Square, meaning, has the era of “al-millioniyat”, the huge, spontaneous, media-grabbing street demonstrations ended and has the era begun when elected institutions decide the fate of the country? On one hand, people must not be silenced, because the right to public protest is a basic right, defended by law, but on the other hand, decisions must not be left in the hands of street groups of one sort or another, whether small or large, who managed to organize themselves via Facebook.


The Tahrir issue represents another challenge to the new system: formulation of a new constitution which will have to resolve complicated questions including the status of the Islamic divine “sharia” law vs. the status of civil “man made” law; the division of power between the parliament, the government, the president and the judicial system; the place of the army in the institutions structural hierarchy and its role in keeping public order; the mechanisms needed to balance between the right of the parliamentary majority to run the state and the rights of the minority. Disputes about these questions have already started, and it will be very difficult to find good solutions.


What’s Next?


An article titled “Wake-up Call,” written this week by Munir Bashawi, a Coptic emigre in Los Angeles, demonstrates the feelings of those who are fearful of the Islamic movements. In his article he writes (my additions are in parenthesis, M.K.): “The infuriating nightmare is over and now we face the bitter reality. The thing we most feared has come true, since the Muslim Brotherhood are just around the corner, and is now closer than ever to taking power. Whether from naiveté or wickedness, there were those who thought that we suffer from paranoia or a phobia regarding the Brotherhood and they claimed that we give more importance to them than they actually deserve, because they are nothing but a trivial minority that the previous regime demonized in order to justify its staying in power. The strange thing is that we haven’t heard one word of apology from those people who made claims against us or even an acknowledgment of the mistake they made in evaluating the (actual) strength of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Presently, there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. We must cope with reality and see how we can overcome it.


First, we must wake up in order to learn what mechanisms the Brotherhood used to reach their goals. This mechanism is that anything is permissible as long as it brings them closer to their desired goal, in other words, the ends justify the means. The irony is that this radical religious group sees democracy as a foreign, Western principle that should be rejected, but if a certain component of democracy, the voting booth, can bring them to victory, then from their point of view, there is nothing to prevent them from using it as a ladder to climb on, in order to reach their goal, and then roughly kick it away. They used this strategy in order to achieve their objectives, and we must use the same strategy against them. The liberals, the Copts, the moderate Muslims and every Egyptian who values freedom must not abstain from the obligation of voting. Everyone must unify behind one list that can win and not waste their votes. I know that there is more awareness of this than before, but we must invest an additional effort so that everyone, without exception, can fulfill their civil duty and vote. (This was said because there were calls by secular groups to abstain from voting, in order to harm the validity of the elections).


Second, we must wake up in order to reveal the fraud that they perpetrated and to expose their schemes. They don’t understand what real democracy is, because it is more than voting booths. Democracy is not consistent with alienation from the other, or taking over elections committees and preventing others from taking part. Likewise, democracy cannot subsist with the purchasing of votes with money or food, with legal transgressions that should apply to everyone, because they broke the elections law in the light of day when they continued to distribute election propaganda within the 48 hours before the elections (when it is forbidden to distribute propaganda), and to distribute fliers to the public that were standing in line in front of the voting booths. All of these are illegal acts.


Third, any collusion between them and state officials must be widely publicized, so that it can be stopped in any way possible. For example, it was clear that a scheme exists not to accept the votes of Egyptians living abroad, most of whom are Copts and liberals, by using tricks that were intended to deny them the right to vote or not to bring the voting slips to the embassy. Of the nine million (who have the right to vote from abroad) only a few thousand were able to vote, and from these, only a few hundred were accepted as legitimate votes. Within Egypt many voting places were shut down in areas where it was thought that the public would vote against the Islamists. Likewise, there were many irregularities when the votes were counted, and these things influenced the outcome of the elections. It is important to bear in mind all of these things in order to bring them to court. And if the legal authorities don’t act fairly, then there is no alternative but to return to Tahrir Square.


Fourth, it is true that we are suffering from a serious disaster, however, even though we lost the battle, we have not lost the war. Many battles await us, because the elections for the parliament are not over yet. There are additional phases and there are repeat elections in many areas [where the victory between two candidates was indecisive], and there is still hope that it will be possible to change the original results. After the People’s Council (the Lower House) there will be the campaign for the constitution, and we must insist that it will be written by a special committee of legal experts, who will represent all of the communities, religious and ethnic minorities, and not by the turban-wearing members of the new People’s Council. The constitution, by its very nature, must defend the minorities from the tyranny of the strong majority and must not help the majority to crush the minority. Plus, we have before us another battle, the election of the president of the country, which I hope will be postponed so that things can calm down and laws can be determined that will assure a more informed and legitimate choice.


The most dangerous thing that can happen now is that we will become sunk in despair, that we will not take off the gloves, that we will declare defeat before the match is even over. No! There is no need to give Egypt up so easily to the blackbirds who wish to return her to an era of ignorance and darkness. I feel that Tahrir Square will remain with us for a long time to come. If the parliament building turns into a stage for the Islamists, the rest of the people will have no other place for their voice to be heard other than the Square. And if anyone has a doubt about the legitimacy and effectiveness of Tahrir Square, he should recall that this square is where the whole revolution started …”

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Protests Erupt in Egypt, 37 Dead

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s de facto head of state since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, has failed to quiet raging protests which have now claimed 37 lives across the country.

In a televised address to the country on Tuesday, Tantawi promised presidential elections in June, six months sooner than initially planned.  Egypt’s first free parliamentary elections are expected to begin on Monday.  In his speech, Tantawi told citizens that the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces – the military organization which governs Egypt – would be coming to an end, and that power would be returned to civilians.

Yet demonstrators were angered that Tantawi suggested a referendum on whether to end military rule sooner, which they saw as an attempt to divide Egyptians fearful of continued violence into distancing themselves from protestors, according to Reuters.

Clashes between protestors and police erupted throughout the night, resulting in more deaths since the renewed protests began 5 days ago.  Riot police fired teargas and rubber bullets at protestors in Tahrir Square after being attacked with rocks.  Though police have denied using live ammunition, most of the dead have displayed bullet wounds, according to medics.

Malkah Fleisher

100,000 gather in Tahrir Square

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

As the Muslim Brotherhood and other Egyptian Islamic parties met with Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) today demanding the military steps down by June, 100,000 protesters gathered in Tahrir Square. The largest gathering this week.

In a scene reminiscent of Hosni Mubarak’s last speech, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi said in a televised broadcast that the army does not seek power.

His speech was met with boos and jeers.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Egyptian cabinet resigns

Monday, November 21st, 2011

With Egyptian parliamentary elections just ahead on November 28th, the Egyptian cabinet resigned today in response to the dozens of civilian casualties since Friday from clashes between Egyptian security forces and civilian protesters in Tahrir Square. The military have indicated that they plan to hold off accepting the resignation of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf until a replacement can be found. While Al Jazeera is reporting that the military accepted the resignations.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said it is important that Egypt move toward democratic elections, and US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland called for “free, fair elections,” and hoped the electoral process would remain on schedule.

The protests began last Friday when 50,000 people, predominantly Islamist, protested the lack of transition to a civilian government.

The makeup of the protesters has since changed, and now it is primarily the secular protesters who have returned to the square to face the violence and demand an end to the military rule. Over 30 people have been killed, and more than a 1000 injured since this round of clashes began.

The Egyptian military have been running Egypt since Mubarak was ousted during the original Tahrir Square demonstrations. No date has been set yet for presidential elections, at which point the military are supposed to turn over control of Egypt to the civilian government.

The protesters are demanding presidential elections by April 2012.

Shalom Bear

Violence continues to rock Cairo

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Since last Friday’s gathering of 50,000 protesters, predominantly Islamist, against the current military rule of Egypt, violence continues to rock Tahrir Square, with reports of at least 20 killed and 1700 wounded – according to the Egyptian Health Ministry.

Egypt is set to hold parliamentary elections on November 28.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/violence-continues-to-rock-cairo/2011/11/21/

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