News / Middle East

Tense Mood Hangs Over Egypt Ahead of Runoff Poll

Protesters take part in a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 15, 2012.Protesters take part in a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 15, 2012.
x
Protesters take part in a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 15, 2012.
Protesters take part in a demonstration at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 15, 2012.
Davin Hutchins
Cairo - Late Thursday evening and into early Friday morning, protesters began to amass in Cairo's Tahrir Square after Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court and Justice Ministry issued rulings which many believe may throw the country back into an era millions of Egyptians were trying to escape when they ousted strongarm president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising early last year.

As the country prepares for presidential runoff elections between two candidates widely considered to represent two undesirable extremes, calls are getting louder to either boycott the poll or try to invalidate it by checking both choices on the ballot slip.

Egyptians, mostly male, began making their way to Tahrir Square after a televised speech Thursday by one of the candidates, one-time prime minister under Mubarak Ahmed Shafiq, in which he hailed one of the rulings - the Supreme Court’s decision to keep him in the presidential race.
 
Shafiq was allowed to remain a candidate in the poll scheduled for this weekend after Egypt's highest court decided to overturn the Law of Political Isolation banning members of the former regime from running for office. The other candidate in the race, Mohamed Morsi, represents the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party.
 
Latest video from Tahrir Square by Davin Hutchins; follow @mevhutch
 
Another decision which sparked shock and rage among many Egyptians involved the court’s interpretation that part of the 2011 parliamentary elections were held in violation of the constitution. 
 
The decision dissolves both the People's Assembly and the Shura Council, the legislature’s lower and upper chambers, which were dominated by conservative Islamists. Parliamentary power, for now, will reside with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces or SCAF, a group of Mubarak era generals who have been ruling the country for the past 17 months.

Video by Davin Hutchins of crowd reactions to Egypt's high court rulings

Equally disturbing for many Egyptians was the Justice Ministry’s decree granting military police and intelligence officers broad powers to arrest civilians, a task usually reserved for regular police. The new powers are reminiscent of Egypt's Emergency Laws which were put in place in 1981 and remained in force until recently, and many associate them with the repressions of previous regime.
 
Addressing the measures in his speech, Shafiq tried to sound reassuring.

"All the security violations that we faced during the last 15 months will be confronted with legal security measures. When security is achieved, the foreign investments will return and our economy will move forward."
 
Whether the military will make use of these new powers remains to be seen. There was little military or police presence in Tahrir early Friday morning. But later Friday, election boycotters, Morsi supporters and opponents of military rule all plan marches to Tahrir and other public squares in Egypt.
 
Many Egyptians expressed palpable anger mixed with political exhaustion and disbelief when asked about Thursday’s rulings. Mohamed, 27, saw the hand of the SCAF behind the Supreme Court’s decision to let Shafiq compete in the poll.
 
"[Through] the resolution the military council is placing Shafiq as an imposed reality. We are not going to accept that; there is no need to vote now because we know voting isn't necessary. These people have trampled our votes and our freedom," said Mohamed.
 
Others, even though they seemed to represent the minority of those gathered in Tahrir, did express satisfaction with the ruling.

"These rulings are the best thing the court could have done because if the Muslim Brotherhood took over parliament, or wrote the constitution, or gave the country its next president, we would go back to our same situation," said a man who did not identify himself.
 
Joining a chorus of chants denouncing Egypt’s current military rulers, was another unidentified man.

"I tell the military council and Shafiq, if he is threatening the people with military forces, we are as strong as the military forces. And if they come to Tahrir Square to assault us, we will assault them," said he.

Another man, also called Mohamed, also 27, just sounded resigned.

"We did a huge revolution and it blew up in our face. We were in a dream but nothing changed and now the old system is reproducing itself."

You May Like

Sambisa Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

Islamic State Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are a notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to the Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: bahlwl
June 16, 2012 2:14 PM
The old system try to reproducing itself by force. they can't believe by democratic. they canceled the parliament. they tried to make more problems to stay to govern.

by: bahlwl from: egy
June 16, 2012 2:06 PM
The old system was not believe in there revolution.
The old system try to reproducing itself by force.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs