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Jul 15, 2011

The July 8th Protest Movement in Egypt

The July 8th protest by millions of Egyptians has been referred to by some of the protestors as the beginning of the New Revolution. Such cynical remarks are attributed to the fact that Prime Minister Sharaf and the Egyptian Higher Military Council have been moving slowly to implement the demands that were set by the protestors. Five months have passed and the previous President Hosni Mubarak and his sons Jamal and Alaa have not been tried by the justice system. Rumors have continued to spread that the reason behind all of this is that Hosni Mubarak is sick and under medical observation in Sharm el-Sheikh. There were also other statements made publicly by the Minister of Health that Mubarak is in stable condition. Such a statement allows Mubarak to appear in court. The press is speculating that he is fighting cancer and a German physician will be coming to Egypt to examine him. In addition, the attorney Mr. al-Deeb, who is appointed to the defense of Mr. Mubarak, has also been making frequent statements that Mubarak is not in an acceptable position to appear in court. All sorts of tactics have been used during the previous five months to justify the delay of Mr. Mubarak’s trial. Similarly, delaying Anjouan:le président renversé attendu à La Réunion tactics have been used to delay the trial of the previous Minister of Interior, Habib al-Adli, for crimes committed against protestors. Furthermore, the investigations and trials of hundreds of high-ranking officials of the Egyptian Security and Police Department have been moving slowly.

If Mubarak, al-Adli and others were found guilty, their punishments would be the death penalty for crimes committed against the protestors. These delaying tactics of bringing to justice members of the previous regime were the focus of the protest on July 8th who felt that this specific demand as well as other was not fulfilled

It seems to me that the delay is attributed to the influence of some of the officials from the previous regime who are counting on time to bring relief to the ex-officials of the Mubarak regime. However, the young protestors are showing no signs of backing down.

The protestors are still demanding a clean sweep of the civil service, the judiciary institutions, the security and police department and the removal of all remnants of the Mubarak regime. They are also demanding that the trials be sped up to safeguard the revolution. The protestors have not forgotten the 850 (if not more) people who were killed in cold blood. They rightfully feel that the accused should pay for it.

Nevertheless, the continuous protests in many Egyptian cities began to produce some results according to some Egyptian newspapers. Al-Shorouk paper reported (7/13/2011) that the Ministry of Interior ended the services of 505 police generals, 82 colonels, and the transfer of 4,000 officers. According to the Minister of Interior, such actions were taken in response to the demands of the protestors. The delay in the implementations of the protestors’ demands reflects more negatively on the Egyptian Higher Military Council who are not moving fast enough. Speculation revealed that the Military Council has been relying on the support of the Muslim Brotherhood Party, who are the most organized and largest political group in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood, who were not the initiators of the January 25th Revolution, have been trying to hype the revolution and claim the credit for its success. For that reason and others, they have been hesitant to join the protestors’ movement and in some cases they stated that publicly, but caved in during the last hours. This is one of the major factors that led to a rising conflict within the Muslim Brotherhood’s elderly leadership and the younger members who always defied orders and joined the protests.

The reliance of the Military Council on the Muslim Brotherhood for direct or even indirect support will not succeed. Many millions of young people, the poor and middle class groups, are behind the protestors and supportive of their demands. After all, the objective of the revolution is to create new institutions, politically, economically and socially, that will meet the needs of the vast Egyptian population. I am of the optimistic type who predicted the incoming revolution nearly two years in advance and will predict again that the future of Egypt looks more promising than ever before.

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