News / Middle East

    Tension Rises in Egypt Between Government, Protesters

    Egyptian protesters capture two of some 30 men armed with knives and sticks who attempted to storm the protesters' tent camp set up in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, July 12, 2011
    Egyptian protesters capture two of some 30 men armed with knives and sticks who attempted to storm the protesters' tent camp set up in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, July 12, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Al Pessin

    Young people in a tent city at the center of Cairo's Tahrir Square chanted a song from the 1950s, with words updated to refer to their revolution, saying they want to return Egypt to what they see as its former glory.

    Tension rose in Egypt Tuesday with a tough statement from the interim government and a march on a main government building where the prime minister and his Cabinet have their offices.

    Jeffrey Grieco, International Relief and Development, spoke with Susan Yackee about his organization’s work in post-Mubarak Egypt.

    Young people in a tent city at the center of Cairo's Tahrir Square chanted a song from the 1950s, with words updated to refer to their revolution, saying they want to return Egypt to what they see as its former glory.  While they sang, people of all ages flowed through civilian checkpoints into the square in response to a call by activist groups for yet another large protest.

    The people complain that the ruling military council and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf are not moving fast enough to implement reforms and to put former regime members and security officers on trial.

    On Monday, the prime minister promised to reshuffle his Cabinet and appoint new regional governors by Sunday. He said he will resign if he does not achieve that.

    Later, the government announced that the Cabinet reshuffle had begun, with the resignation of the prime minister's deputy, and said meetings were under way to decide on further changes.

    Also, an Egyptian court on Tuesday convicted a former prime minister and two Cabinet ministers of corruption and sentenced them to up to 10 years in jail. The three served under ex-President Hosni Mubarak who also faces corruption-related charges and resigned in February.

    At Tahrir Square, many protesters see the government's moves as too little, too late.

    In a tent at the middle of the square Tuesday, Abdullah Noufal, the communications director of one of the main protest groups, the April Sixth Movement, says he has heard promises like the prime minister's latest one for months.  He said it is time for real action.  Noufal added that this was a popular revolution, not a military coup, and he will stay on the square until the country's new military rulers meet the protesters' demands.  And he is not alone.  At least several hundred others are living around him in the makeshift encampment, shaded by bed sheets strung between trees and light poles.

    The relaxed atmosphere in the camp was disrupted early Tuesday when, protesters say, about 30 men attacked the area, wielding knives and sticks.  They injured several people before being repulsed by the protesters.  It was not clear who the men were.

    While tension on the square is rising, the interim government also appears to be losing patience.

    In a tough statement broadcast on national television, and designed to discourage people from blocking government buildings as planned, interim council member Major General Mohsen al-Fangari warned activists not to deviate from their peaceful approach or do anything that would harm the national interest.

    Wearing his military uniform, shaking his finger and speaking emphatically, al-Fangari said the council will not give up its role until after elections, scheduled for later this year.

    He also said the council had made a move to address one of the protesters' demands, starting work on a statement of principles that will guide the process of writing a new constitution.

    At the English-language newspaper Daily News Egypt, chief editor Rania al-Malky understands the protesters' impatience on some issues, but also says they should continue to be patient on others.

    "When it comes to the trials of police officers, there is a legitimate complaint there," al-Malky noted.  "But when it comes to demanding that the trials in general be sped up, when it comes to the big demands like social justice, I think people just need to be a little bit more patience.  There needs to be a realization that things will not happen and change overnight."

    Al-Malky says the government has created a "crisis of confidence" by moving too slowly in the nearly five months since it took power, leaving many people unwilling to trust officials to deliver on their promises.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora