Thursday, September 23, 2010

Anti-Mubarak Protests

Issandr comments on recent anti-Mubarak protests in Egypt and their suppression:
"I would venture that these protests are taking a slightly different significance for both participants and the security services in the current political context. For activists, they are the first major protests since the launch of the poster campaign for Gamal Mubarak last month, and may represent a revival of the trend of frequent large protests that we saw in 2005 in the run-up to the presidential elections. In this charged political atmosphere, it makes sense that activists will redouble their efforts and that more people might be drawn into participating in these protests: there is something more tangible to protest against today, since a Gamal Mubarak campaign now exists in public.

"For the police, this might indicate new instructions to send a strong message to participants that such protests (not long ago largely tolerated and kept under control) will be handled more firmly from now on. The dumping of people on the desert highway is quite unnecessarily petty, for instance, and the rough handling of MPs unusual (although it also happened last May.)"

He also muses that the succession period will see greater restrictions on Egypt's public sphere. Given that this will be a delicate time, I think that likely, though it might be obscured by what seem efforts to create a pro-reform persona for Gamal Mubarak. A wild card is what we might get out of Muhammad El Baradei and Amr Moussa.



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