(Updated Nov. 24) Egyptian revolution enters new phase: Thousands protest military rule (Democracy Now! reports)
November 23, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Egyptian protesters continue to fill Cairo’s central Tahrir Square over the ruling military council’s refusal to immediately transfer power to a civilian government.
In a televised address on Tuesday, the head of Egypt’s military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said he has accepted the prime minister’s resignation and that the military is ready to relinquish power if Egyptians call for that in a referendum. But protests only intensified after Tantawi’s speech and security forces unleashed a barrage of tear gas. Over the past five days at least 38 people have been killed, thousands injured, and at least 15 journalists attacked as Egypt has witnessed the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
Kouddous has been on the ground reporting from in Egypt since the revolution began in January. "[Tantawi] essentially offered some minor concessions that were not demanded by any of the protesters in Tahrir," says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reporting from Cairo. "Many compared the speech to Mubarak’s second speech on February 1st where he made some kinds of concessions and used this kind of the tone in the hope of ending the revolution. But the response then and the response now were very similar. … But the response then and the response now were very similar. Tahrir yesterday was packed with people, really a massive, massive protest. And after the speech ended, you heard this huge reverberation from the crowd, this huge echo of Irhal, which means '‘leave.'"
November 22, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Activists in Egypt are holding their fourth day of massive demonstrations to demand an end to military rule and a transition to a civilian government. The protests continue amidst a massive crackdown and an offer to resign from Egypt’s interim cabinet.
Reports from Cairo’s main morgue said at least 33 people have been killed and more than 1500 wounded in the military government’s crackdown. The turmoil comes as Egypt is scheduled to begin holding parliamentary elections on November 28. "I can’t see how a legitimate election can take place when you have such state-sponsored brutality happening in the heart of the capital city of the country”, says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who joins us for an update from Cairo. "What many Egyptians have been seeing over these past 10 months has been that the revolution has been abused and stolen and deformed, and that the military council in Egypt has really not lived up to any of its promises in this transitional period, from human rights abuses to just their complete grip on power."
Down with military rule, down with Mubarak’s rule!
By the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt)
November 20, 2011 -- Revolutionaries have returned to Tahrir Square. Once again it is filled with young people who are impatient to bring the people who killed revolutionaries in January to justice, and to see freedom and social justice realised. The military courts have stolen years upon years of their lives. They have lost their eyes to sniper fire on the orders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and their henchmen in the Ministry of the Interior. They have been slandered by the subservient media, which has moved overnight from one master to a new one.
Social tensions have increased and the state’s response has been to mobilise thugs and military trials again protesters and strikers. The state dashed the hopes of people who hoped to see privatised companies return to the public sector, by appealing the court decision. Likewise it appealed against the decision to exclude remnants of the old ruling party from the elections, thereby confirming its allegiance to the Hosni Mubarak regime.
The dreams of these young people have virtually all evaporated, taken from them in police stations and prisons under torture. And still the list of martyrs goes on: two in Alexandria, one in Cairo and one in Suez.
Their battle is not about whether to have elections or a constitution first. Their battle is not about the second article of the constitution. Nor is it over seats in parliament. The battalions of the revolution stationed in Tahrir Square, in Alexandria, in Suez and in eight other governorates of Egypt are not sections of the elite, locked in battle over a document in order to re-divide their share of power or wealth. The spark which set this movement ablaze was kindled by the poor and the revolutionaries of Egypt, serious in their determination to bring down the system and insisting on their right to enjoy freedom and a dignified life.
For all the reasons above, the revolutionaries of Egypt deserve more than a timetable negotiated behind the scenes by the political forces in order to map out a government.
- The revolutionaries of Egypt did not entrust the revolution to the Military Council and did not agree to deliver it into the hands of the generals
- The revolutionaries of Egypt did not mandate the Military Council to rule Egypt, rather it was Mubarak who did this.
- The revolutionaries of Egypt did not agree to the extension of the Emergency Laws by Mubarak in 2009
The referendum in favour of the amendments to the Constitution which was drafted in the absence of Egypt’s toilers has not been respected by the generals, even though they chose its authors and managed the entire process. You could say that today we are now, in effect, ruled by the constitution of 1971, since the powers of the President of the Republic have been exchanged for the powers of the Military Council, without anyone having had to call a single referendum.
It is a broken system which rules by announcing a broken constitution, elaborated in pointless documents behind closed doors by figures who have not been elected by the people and who represent no-one. A repressive regime which rules by military courts, and iron and fire, and by crushing people under the tracks of its armoured cars.
The people won a victory on 11 February 2011 by forcing Mubarak to vacate his seat at the top table. They did not do this to replace him with new military Mubaraks, but to replace him with a completely new regime.
Our revolution is not complete! From the first moment, the junta has not ceased in its efforts to bend the people to its will. In defence of its own interests it has sought to turn things back to how they were before 25 January. At first this lying language was friendly to the revolutionaries, as a prelude to an increasingly brutal policy of repression, the more that public awareness increased of an alliance between the military and civilian authorities and the capitalist class, united in their effort to steal the revolution and its dreams.
We thought that the massacre at Maspero [the attack on Copts, 9 October] was the most that this brutal alliance was capable of, but the violence which it has mobilised against the revolutionaries since “The Friday of Handing Over Power”, on 18 November until the moment this statement was written, proves that this brutal repressive power knows no limits. They have dragged people in the streets, and killed them, and dragged their bodies and piled them on top of each other.
We, the Revolutionary Socialists, stationed in Tahrir Square since the first day, call on the brave masses of the revolutionaries in the streets and squares of Egypt today, to apply the lessons of the 25 January Revolution and to unite all the forces in our ‘Liberated Squares’ in a single front, which alone has the right to speak for the revolution.
We will put you on trial, killers of the revolutionaries, whether it takes a long time or a short one, as our victory, and the victory of the revolution is inevitable.
Glory to the martyrs
Victory to the revolution
Power and wealth to the people.