Arab Spring: Take Two Nov22

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Melissa Dewberry

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Arab Spring: Take Two

Update November 22, 2011

Human Rights – Egypt’s civilian Cabinet offered to resign on Monday amidst three days of violent clashes in Tahrir Square, but the action has failed to satiate the protestors who are deeply unsatisfied with yet another round of military rulers.

The Health Ministry and a doctor at an improvised field hospital on the square said at least 26 people have been killed and 1,750 wound the melee. The latest violence occurred as activists sought a “second revolution” to force out the generals who have failed to stabilize the country, salvage the economy or bring democracy.

Throughout the day, “young protestors demanding the military hand over power to a civilian government fought with black-clad police, hurling stones and firebombs and throwing back the tear gas canisters being fired by police into the square, which was the epicenter of the movement that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.”

The strife has worsened the disarray among Egypt’s political ranks, with the powerful Muslim Brotherhood “balking at joining in the demonstrations, fearing that the turmoil will disrupt the elections that the Islamists had hoped to dominate.”

Thus far demonstrators have forced two concessions out of the ruling military council and the Cabinet, but neither were enough for a cessation of the protests.

The council issued an anti-graft law that bans anyone conviction of corruption from running for office or holding a senior government post, a measure that will prevent senior members from Mubarak’s government from participating in the new regime.

Hours later, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf submitted his resignation to the council, a move that was anticipated due to his government’s perceived inefficiency.

Read more at AP.

Update November 21, 2011

Human Rights – With all of the police brutality viral videos flooding the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and the news, it’s sometimes hard to tell which PD is the perpetrator of the events…is it NY, LA, Oakland, University of Cali?

Well, it took us a minute to figure out the location of this video, especially with the police acting–well American, but according to Gawker–it is definitely Cairo and, as they point out, the Arabic-language is a dead giveaway.

Still, with the police dressed in riot gear as they “beat protesters with batons” and “drag a protester by the hair through the streets,” it does look awfully familiar, don’t ya think?

“The strangest scene comes at :58, when a copy who’s beating a protester lying on the ground hands his baton over to some guy dressed in black, who gets his own whack in before returning the baton,” says Gawker.

And, of course, the police in Cairo were using rubber bullets and tear gas–which also sounds familiar…

At any rate, there have been mixed reports of the actual death toll, with BBC reporting nine deaths and AP reporting 11, but there is no doubt that a violent uprising is taking place, and it is beginning to rival the riots from Feb. Especially in light of the reports that over 1,000 have been injured in the “crackdown.”

And of course, if the cops in Cairo run out of tear gas and rubber bullets, I am sure the University of California cops that got suspended would be more than happy to ship some of their pepper spray over.

Read more at Gawker, Gawker and TowelRoad.

Update November 20, 2011

Human Rights – At least 11 protesters have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in, what some are calling the worst conflict since the uprising ended on Feb. 11, that is currently raging through the streets in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

As the conflict in Cairo rages through day two, Egyptian soldiers and police set fire to protesters’ tents and fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds in an attempt to drive away the thousands of people demanding that the military rulers transfer the power to a civilian government.

“This is what they (the military) will do if they rule the country,” one protester screamed as he ran from the oncoming forces.

With only a week to go until the first elections since the ousting of Honsni Mubarak in February, the military who took over the government, “promising a swift transition to civilian rule,” seems reluctant to turn over the power as promised. The “pro-democracy protesters who led the uprising have grown increasingly angry with the ruling generals, and suspect they are trying to cling to power even after an elected parliament is seated and a new president is voted in.”

The military-backed Cabinet said in a statement that “elections set to begin on Nov. 28 would take place on time and thanked the police for their ‘restraint,’ language that is likely to enrage the protesters even more.”

“‘We’re not going anywhere,’ protester Mohammed Radwan said after security forces tried unsuccessfully to push the crowds out of Tahrir, the epicenter of the uprising. ‘The mood is good now and people are chanting again,’” he added.

Many Egyptians are also concerned about the upcoming elections. “Specifically they worry that the stalwarts of Mubarak’s ruling party could win a significant number of seats next parliament because the military did not ban them from running for public office as requested by activists.”

And many feel that the military’s failure to ban Mubarak’s lackeys from participating in the elections is due to the loyalty they feel for their Mubarak, their mentor.

According to a statement read on state TV, “The council doesn’t intend ‘to extend the transitional period and will not permit by any means hindering the process of democratic transition.”

“We have a single demand: The marshal must step down and be replaced by a civilian council,” said protester Ahmed Hani. [...] “The violence yesterday showed us that Mubarak is still in power,” he added.

“Clashes also took place in the city of Suez east of Cairo, the coastal city of el-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula, the city of Alexandria and Assiut in southern Egypt.”

Read more at AP.

Original Article November 20, 2011:

Human Rights – Two people have been killed and more than 600 injured in brutal clashes between protestors and security forces in Cairo and Alexandria.

The violence erupted as police moved to prevent a long-term sit-in following a huge demonstration in Cairo against the military leadership on Friday.

Some protestors “lobbed rocks and a police vehicle was set on fire.” The spate of violence comes a mere week before parliamentary elections are scheduled to begin.

Protestors – primarily Islamists and young activists – have been holding demonstrations against the proposed draft constitution that they believe will allow the military to hold too much power after the civilian government is elected.

Many Egyptians are becoming increasingly annoyed at the lack of meaningful reforms by the ruling military council following the ousting of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February.

Saturday’s violence began as police moved to dismantle tents erected by demonstrators in Tahrir Square who had camped out for the night. Following a call to clear the square, thousands of protestors returned and the clashes erupted, with police firing rubber bullets as cars were set on fire.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf called on the protestors to clear the square and a statement from the cabinet said “What is happening in Tahrir is very dangerous and threatens the course of the nation and the revolution.”

Ominous black smoke rose over Tahrir after protestors flipped an armored police van and lit it ablaze. At the same time, similar demonstrations took place in Alexandria and Suez.

One of “those wounded in Cairo died in hospital, while a protester was killed in Alexandria during violent confrontations outside the offices of the interior ministry. AFP quoted a security official as saying a number of arrests were made.”

Read more at BBC News.