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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More