November 19th 2011 will be marked as one of the revolutionary days of 2011 in Egypt. Although the revolution appeared to have ended on February 11th with the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, there have been a series of events since then that have revealed the continuous and on-going nature of the Egyptian revolution. The revolutionary process did not end; it is still happening. Since the resignation of Mubarak, events such as the Tahrir sit-in, the Israeli embassy protests, and the various violent confrontations between the police, military and protesters show that the demands of the revolution have not been met and that the transition process has not gone as swiftly or as smoothly as expected.
Friday the 19th saw a major protest in Tahrir Square against a clause in the new constitution that gives the military immunity under the law. The protest, which drew thousands, was attacked violently by the military police as well as the central security forces. These attacks, which led to several deaths and scores of injuries, led tot thousands joining those under attack in the Square. The confrontation continued for three days. By Monday the 22nd, more than 1,500 were injured and more than 35 had lost their lives. SCAF released a statement confirming its full support of the Interior Ministry and police forces. Activists called for a million-man march on Tuesday, and by noon Tahrir was already filling up steadily, despite it being a working day. The demands of the protesters were simple: the resignation of SCAF, the transition to civilian rule, and the fulfilment of demands made during the January 25th uprising, including dignity, social justice, bread, and an end to police brutality and military trials for civilians.
Less than one year after the January 25th uprising, the Egyptian people have risen up again. There is a widespread sentiment that SCAF did not do what it had said it would, and that behind the scenes they were trying to monopolize power and keep Mubarak’s system in place. The economy has been declining steadily, and as usual, it is the poor working class who suffers the most. In addition the military has slowly strengthened its grasp on Egyptian society. In March they were accused of conducing “virginity tests” on female protesters, as well as torturing detainees. Since January they have put more than 15,000 Egyptians on military trials. The lines between SCAF and the Mubarak regime have become increasingly blurred. Their actions and the slow speed of reforms have led to a situation where anger was steadily building up. The violent attacks on protesters on November 19th were the final straw.
The past few days have seen an increase in the violence. It has become clear that the police AND the military are complicit in attacking protesters. SCAF issues a statement saying it is sorry for the killing, while at the same time denying their responsibility (errrr). They have also appointed a new Prime Minister, Ganzoury, who was actually a minister under Mubarak (ERRRR). Clearly SCAF haven’t learnt much.
But are they really that stupid? Or are they playing a game we just don’t know about? Also what is the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in all of this? Did they plan these clashes so that they would win a majority in the elections and therefore control the country legitimately? Or are they being screwed over by SCAF just like the rest of us?
What is so fascinating about this revolution is the fact that no one really knows what will happen or what is happening.