Sunday, January 30, 2011
Waseem Wagdi, Egyptian protester at the Egyptian Embassy in London, 29/01/2011
Waseem Wagdi, an Egyptian living in London talks about recent events in Egypt.
Egyptian Embassy, London.
The 2011 Egyptian protests are a continuing series of street demonstrations taking place throughout Egypt from January 2011 onwards, with organizers counting on the Tunisian uprising to inspire the crowds to mobilize. The demonstrations and riots were reported to have started over police brutality, State of emergency laws, unemployment, desire to raise the minimum wage, lack of housing, food inflation, corruption, lack of freedom of speech and poor living conditions. The protests main goal is to oust President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power for more than 30 years. While localized protests were already commonplace in previous years, major protests and riots erupted all over the country starting on 25 January, known as the "Day of Anger", the date set by Egyptian opposition groups and others for a major demonstration. The 2011 protests have been called "unprecedented" for Egypt, and "some of the most serious civil unrest in recent memory" in the country.
Hosni Mubarak presidency:
President Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt since 1981. His government, which has been criticized in the media and amongst NGOs, is supported by the United States because of his "persecution of the Islamists generally supportive of Israel." As a result, the initial reactions to Hosni Mubarak's abuses by the U.S. were muted, and most instances of socio-political protest in the country, when they occurred at all, rarely made major news headlines.
While in office, political corruption in the Mubarak administration's Ministry of Interior has risen dramatically, due to the increased power over the institutional system that is necessary to secure the prolonged presidency. Such corruption has led to the frequent imprisonment of political figures and young activists without trials, illegal undocumented hidden detention facilities, and rejecting universities, mosques, newspapers staff members based on political inclination.On a personnel level, each individual officer can and will violate citizens' privacy in his area, using unconditioned arrests, common torture and abuse of power, depending on simply brute force, rather than law, to enforce order in the officer's designated area. This has resulted in the common belief that "A policeman is more dangerous than a criminal".
The rise to power of powerful business men in the NDP in the federal government and People's Assembly led to massive waves of anger during the years of Ahmed Nazif's government. As a result, frequent laws and bills are passed, with undergiant monopolists (such as Ahmed Ezz's) influence serving personal and corporational financial interests rather than public's. Transparency International (TI) is an international organization addressing corruption, including, but not limited to, political corruption. In 2010, TI's Corruption Perceptions Index report assessed Egypt with a CPI score of 3.1, based on perceptions of the degree of corruption from business people and country analysts, with 10 being highly clean and 0 being highly corrupt. Egypt ranked 98th out of the 178 countries included in the report.
Khaled Mohamed Saeed died under disputed circumstances in the Sedi Gabr area of Alexandria on June 6, 2010. Multiple witnesses have testified that Saeed was beaten to death by the police,
On 25 June Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, led a rally in Alexandria against alleged abuses by the police and visited Saeed's family to offer condolences.
About 40 percent of Egypt's 80-million population lives on or around two dollars per day, and a large part of the population relies on subsidized goods.
In Egypt, at least six cases of self-immolation have been reported, including a man arrested while trying to set himself on fire in downtown Cairo. Abdou Abdel-Moneim Jaafar, a 49-year-old restaurant owner, set himself alight in front of the Egyptian Parliament.
Scale of protests:
Thousands were protesting in the capital of Cairo on the 25th of January, with 15,000 alone occupying Tahrir square; 20,000 in various locations across Alexandria, 200 demonstrators were in the southern city of Aswan, 2000 in the eastern city of Ismailiya; and about 3000 in the northern city of Mahallah.
Posted by IMA at 5:42 PM