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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid