The Egyptian uprising and what’s left of it

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The Tahir Square in 2011 (source: wikipedia)

The Egyptian uprising celebrates its 5th anniversary today, but what is there left of it? It is one of the countries where the “Arab Spring” looked the most promising. It freed a real potential and many people where confident that the country’s future would be bright. But today everything is different. The army is strong and the president, a former general, has been elected with highly suspicious amount of votes. The regime rules with an iron fist and there is no opposition. Specialists agree to say that another revolution is going to happen, the question is just when.

It all started in January 2011 with the riots in Tunisia, which made it clear to the Egyptians that they too could fight their government. So they started to riot against their president Hosni Mubarak and occupied several public places, especially the Tahir place in Cairo. After bloody encounters between the police and pro-Mubarak protestors on one side and anti-Mubarak protestors on the other side, the president resigned, after being at the head of the country for 29years. He resigned in favor of Supreme council of the armed forces, which didn’t stop the riots. The intention was to stop the military rule and this despite the fact that most of the country was confident that the council would be able to hold democratic elections. Those then took place at the end of 2011 and ended with a clear victory for Islamic parties such as the “Muslim brotherhood” and the Salafist “Al-Noor”. In June 2012 presidential elections were hold and Mohammed Morsi from the “Muslim Brotherhood” won them. Many western countries were concerned by the fact that both elections were won by Islamic parties. But then on November 22nd, Morsi gave himself absolute power and made the people riot again. On July 3rd the army stepped in after month of bloody riots and arrested Morsi and many other officials of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. This under the benevolent eye of the western countries that were now relieved because the Islamic regime was no more. The army hasn’t stepped back since, their leader, General Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi, is now the country’s president and most Brotherhood officials and supporters are either in jail or dead.

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Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi (source: EPA)

Needless to say that the democratization process that looked promising at first has failed. Al-sisi reigns with a firm hand, helped by of course the army, but also the police and the media. The Egyptian security forces have learned from the mistakes of the 2011 protests and have, until now, prevented the population from rising up once again. They have put over 40.000 people in jail since 2013 and killed 2.500 people. There are also numberless cases of torture and disappearances. This creates a climate of fear and makes people think twice before they start a riot. The officials on their side, support the security forces with money and propaganda campaigns depicting them as the victims. But despite the government saying that Al-Sisi is more popular than ever, the number of terrorist attacks has grown. On a long term a violent regime always result in violent resistance. Especially the 5th anniversary of the uprising ensured many sleepless nights for Egyptian officials as they fear riots. They have taken many precautions to avoid any dissidence and arrested many people who tried to plan marches via Facebook. Nevertheless, the people start to be fed up and it is only a matter of time before they explode. Al-Sisi and his regime are safe for now but no one knows for how long.

 

 

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