Protests in Egypt
After the recent overthrow of the Tunisian government, many Egyptians have taken to the street to protest the autocratic government of President Mubarak. What began as small protests quickly organized on social media sites and began to seriously threaten the government. Members of the Mubarak family have left Egypt already amid chaos. Riots have broken out in Cairo, Alexandria, the Nile Delta, Mansura, Tanta, Aswan and Assiut. Many protestors have been carrying both the flag of Egypt and the flag of Tunisia.
Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt as a nominally elected leader since 1981 after the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Many saw the government as autocratic and corrupt. The people do not have the freedoms we in the US take for granted. In 2003, a group known as the Kafaya was started to bring democratic reforms to the country. This might be their best chance. With Hosni Mubarak aging and grooming his son to take power the future is up the Egyptian people.
Since Egypt is an ally of the US, the US government has declined to back the revolutionary protests. In the last several days alone several people have been killed. Some police and some protestors are among the dead. The police have mostly been using tear gas to disperse crowds but with social networking, they are able to quickly regroup. Some protestors have been killed by live fire from the Egyptian police.
It remains to be seen how effective these protests will be. The Egyptian people have been oppressed and restless for so long, it is hard to predict what will happen. The Egyptian government is much stronger than its African neighbor Tunisia. With the backing of the US government it seems hard to see how they can succeed. It is truly a shame that the US has been unable to back the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people due to the alliances we’ve had to form with autocratic dictators in the Middle East. Egypt’s future may be decided over the next few days, the world is watching.