News / Africa

Egypt's Cabinet Submits Resignation, Tahrir Square Protests Surge

Protester runs for cover during clashes with Egyptian riot police, Cairo, Nov. 21, 2011.
Protester runs for cover during clashes with Egyptian riot police, Cairo, Nov. 21, 2011.
Elizabeth Arrott

Egyptian state television reports that the country's interim cabinet resigned Monday, following three days of anti-military protests and a fierce security crackdown.  Authorities say at least 22 people have been killed and more than 1,700 others wounded in demonstrations that have spread to cities across the country in what some analysts are calling Egypt's "second revolution."  

The offer by the civilian political leadership to step down has barely affected the mass protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square or other demonstrations across the country.  Throughout the day, as the crowds surged and battles with security forces grew more violent, the focus of anger was on the military.

“No Tantawi," said a protester. "No Tantawi.  No Tantawi.  I will say for Marshal Tantawi everybody in Egypt says, ‘Go!  You should be go!’”

Protesters say the interim government has served only Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The current crisis was sparked by the deputy prime minister, Ali al Selmi, who proposed that the military's political influence be part of a new constitution.  The idea offended the protesters and the military subsequently abandoned the proposal.  But the violence has escalated.   

“Mr. Tantawi is a soldier," said a protester. "Soldiers have a place - to keep us and to fight our enemy outside Egypt, not to direct their guns to us here inside the country."

The violence was sparked by a crackdown Saturday on a few hundred people who stayed in Tahrir Square after a predominantly Islamist rally the day before.

Long-time dissident and publisher Hisham Kassem says Egypt's security forces know no other way to respond.

“Our police force and even the military elements that support them or help them are not trained to break up a riot properly," said Kassem. "They either withdraw or it’s excessive use of force.  In fact, they have been trained under [former Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak to use force excessively and unnecessarily.  So it’s become a standoff.”

Many in the crowds took part in the uprising that brought the military to power in February.  Frustration has been mounting for months at delays in what the military initially promised would be a six month transition period, but is now set to last until 2013.

Authorities say the next key step in the political process, parliamentary elections, will begin next week.  Representative government was one of the key demands uniting protesters in the January uprising, which encompassed fundamentalist Muslims, Coptic Christians, secularists and political movements ranging from conservative to liberal.

But the euphoria of earlier this year has been missing in this round of demonstrations.  Publisher Hisham Kassem holds out hope that if the elections go ahead - and he says the military wants them to take place - some of that optimism could return.

“If they stay much longer, they’re going to be facing much more violence, and they’re aware of that," he said. "And none of them are really interested in staying in power.  Like they said, 'We know how to run a military.  We don’t know how to run a country.'  And with the election of a parliament and a president, a new hope, a new grace period will be given to the people.”

But as the crowds grow and protesters call for a "million man" rally across Egypt on Tuesday, anger is rivaling optimism.   

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid