Riots in Egypt

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Riots in Egypt

Postby the_bandersnatch » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:58 pm UTC

Encouraged by the success of Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution, protesters in Egypt have clashed with police today in a bid to depose current dictator President Mubarak:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/blog/2011/jan/25/middleeast-tunisia

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12272836

The BBC wrote:Police in Cairo are using tear gas and water cannon to try to quell rare anti-government protests.

Thousands have joined the protests after an internet campaign inspired by the uprising in Tunisia.

They are marching through Cairo and other areas chanting anti-government slogans, after activists called for a "day of revolt" in a web message.

Weeks of unrest in Tunisia eventually toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month.

Such protests are uncommon in Egypt, which President Hosni Mubarak has ruled since 1981, tolerating little dissent.



Jack Shenker, protester wrote:Down-town Cairo is a war zone tonight – as reports come in of massive occupations by protesters in towns across Egypt, the centre of the capital is awash with running street battles. Along with hundreds of others I've just been tear-gassed outside the parliament building, where some youths were smashing up the pavement to obtain rocks to throw at police.

We've withdrawn back to the main square now were thousands more demonstrators are waiting and a huge billboard advertising the ruling NDP party has just been torn down. Security forces are continuing to use sound bombs and tear-gas to disperse the crowd, but so far to no avail.



Hopefully these uprisings could be the start in the process of bringing better lives to millions across the countries of North Africa.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Dream » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:06 pm UTC

the_bandersnatch wrote:Encouraged by the success of Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

I hate to open the thread with hair splitting, but I think this is important: The Tunisia thing was by no means a revolution. The government fell after massive rioting and demonstration, and being a dictator, the head of state fled the country. The new government is not made up of representatives of the demonstrators, but of members of the previous administration and other elites. So it was a change of government precipitated by protest and resistance, but was not a revolution. Egypt would be walking into a disaster if it followed the same path, as the likely outcome would be another decades long, probably military, dictatorship. Egypt needs a real revolution, installing not just a new leader, but a new political and justice system.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby the_bandersnatch » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

Fair points all, but I was using the term that's widely used to describe Tunisia's uprising. In any case there's already a thread for Tunisia's events, so let's not debate that here further, though of course Egypt's events do not exist in isolation so there will be overlap.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby sardia » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

the_bandersnatch wrote:Fair points all, but I was using the term that's widely used to describe Tunisia's uprising. In any case there's already a thread for Tunisia's events, so let's not debate that here further, though of course Egypt's events do not exist in isolation so there will be overlap.

In addition, the middle class in Tunisia is far larger than Egypt, and Egyptians are oppressed more. The North African countries are oppressive and authoritarian, however they have a firmer grip on the country then Tunisia has. They'll be worried about riots and protests spreading, but it won't be a series of falling governments. The previous statement is not absolute, instead it is likely that there will be more crackdowns and maybe a bone thrown to the protesters, but I don't think another government will fall without evidence of weakness in the government or strength of the protesters.
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Protests in Egypt

Postby Mittagessen » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:33 pm UTC

After Tunesia, Egypt is on the brink of revolution. Turkish media reports Mubarak has fled the country while the police has allowed protests to occur for the first time in years. Not only in Cairo but in several cities around the country thousands are on the streets demanding democracy and human rights.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12289475
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Re: Protests in Egypt

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

FUCKING FINALLY. They deserve what they're demanding, democracy and human rights for everyone!
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Minchandre » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

I'm sure this question is going to sound flippant, but I mean it sincerely: what makes anyone think that if Mubarak falls, the replacement government is going to be any better?
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Thesh » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:11 pm UTC

The way I see it, it can't get better if the government doesn't fall. If the government does fall, it will either be better, worse, or the same afterward. If the people have full control and put in a true democracy, then it will be better. If a military leader seizes control, then any of those three can happen. I think odds are against things being worse.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby the_bandersnatch » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:10 pm UTC

And now protest have started in Yemen too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12295864

As unlikely as it is, I hope we are in the early stages of seeing a domino effect that brings down dictators across the Arab world and gives the people their a freer and more democratic system. But I doubt that will be the case, sadly.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Diadem » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:30 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:The way I see it, it can't get better if the government doesn't fall. If the government does fall, it will either be better, worse, or the same afterward. If the people have full control and put in a true democracy, then it will be better. If a military leader seizes control, then any of those three can happen. I think odds are against things being worse.

Well, as military dictatorships go, the one in Egypt isn't so bad. Better to live in Egypt than, say, Zimbabwe or Saudi-Arabia or Iraq before Saddam's fall. Not to mention North Korea. So if the old dictatorship is replaced by a new one, the odds of things getting worse are actually quite significant. A revolution might lead to a democracy. But the odds of that are very slim. History unfortunately has very few examples of succesful democratic revolutions, and a lot of examples of democratic revolutions that ended in a lot of bloodshed and a new dictatorship.

I'm not saying it's not worth trying because it'll never get better. It's always worth fighting for. I'm just not very optimistic about their changes (without significant outside support).
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Mittagessen » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:06 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Well, as military dictatorships go, the one in Egypt isn't so bad. Better to live in Egypt than, say, Zimbabwe or Saudi-Arabia or Iraq before Saddam's fall. Not to mention North Korea. So if the old dictatorship is replaced by a new one, the odds of things getting worse are actually quite significant. A revolution might lead to a democracy. But the odds of that are very slim. History unfortunately has very few examples of succesful democratic revolutions, and a lot of examples of democratic revolutions that ended in a lot of bloodshed and a new dictatorship.


It's a bold claim to say that Mubaraks Egypt is better than Iraq under Saddam. There is not that much of a difference in the treatment of political opponents and the general population is suffering more or less the same problems no matter the country. A better investment climate for western companies doesn't make a dictatorship less ruthless or more humane. It is a common misconception that the dictators in Tunisia, Egypt or Yemen are somehow less tyrannic than the ones in Iran, Zimbabwe or Sudan when the only major differences are a less protectionist economic policy.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:12 pm UTC

Mittagessen wrote:It's a bold claim to say that Mubaraks Egypt is better than Iraq under Saddam. There is not that much of a difference in the treatment of political opponents and the general population is suffering more or less the same problems no matter the country.
That kind of depends. If you were a Sunni Arab in Iraq, you might say things were equally bad. If you were a Kurd, it'd be hard to talk through your improvised gas mask. I'm not well-versed on Egypt, but I haven't heard of Mubarak employing biological weapons on an ethnic minority. Of course, I'd hardly say that makes him a good dictator, either.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby wokattack » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:00 pm UTC

this seems to have caught the US government a bit flat-footed, if these two Reuters articles are anything to go my:

Tuesday evening the message is one of support to Mubarak's government (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70O7RC20110125)

Wednesday noon the message is that Egypt has a real chance for much-needed change (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70O7RC20110125)

Or maybe I'm reading too much into the change?

Wonder if too much calling for democracy is a bad thing in the region because it destabilizes the power structure?
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby yedidyak » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:41 pm UTC

The US gave up on spreading democracy a while ago. Now it turns out that the people want it the US doesn't know what to do - support democracy, or support the regimes they have always helped.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Zamfir » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:10 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:The US gave up on spreading democracy a while ago. Now it turns out that the people want it the US doesn't know what to do - support democracy, or support the regimes they have always helped.

Suppose the US kept the same policies they have now, but just say openly "in the Middle East, democracy is not really important to us, we'll mostly support whoever supports us"

Would that be better? I am sort of serious here. Would honesty be a virtue here, or is superficial support for democracy better than no support at all?
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby yedidyak » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:37 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
yedidyak wrote:The US gave up on spreading democracy a while ago. Now it turns out that the people want it the US doesn't know what to do - support democracy, or support the regimes they have always helped.

Suppose the US kept the same policies they have now, but just say openly "in the Middle East, democracy is not really important to us, we'll mostly support whoever supports us"

Would that be better? I am sort of serious here. Would honesty be a virtue here, or is superficial support for democracy better than no support at all?


Ideally (for the US, not the people in the ME) they should support the winning side. The worst case scenario is to openly support one side and then see the other take over, as happened in Iran. If possible support viable opposition movements, if they have a realistic chance of success. Then tell the dictator that you only support the democrats because you have to for internal political reasons, but you are willing to do business with them. Then tell the democrats that you are only doing business with the dictator because you have to as he is in control, but you really would rather democracy. The problem with being honest is that you really don't want to end up backing the losers.

Of course, if the US was really pro-democracy as an ideal then its sort of obvious what they should do.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby sje46 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:49 am UTC

They apparently shut down the internet.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:53 am UTC

Yeah, things are about to get really bad there. Not like it was all that great in the last couple days.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Hawknc » Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:54 am UTC

It's appearing that way (SMS too), but reliable information is a bit scarce. The lumbering beast that is the mainstream media hasn't quite caught up with the latest developments. Twitter is on fire with discussion about it, though (#jan25 or #suez if you're looking for it).
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby sje46 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:29 am UTC

This could be a random troll, but this guy says that the small telecom he works for was forced down by the government. http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comme ... pt/c1egwxg
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby The Reaper » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:35 am UTC

protester with rock shot in Egypt, on video.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749 ... t-23989401


edit: fix'd for accuracy. Rock visible at 25 seconds.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Greyarcher » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:50 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:Unarmed protester shot in Egypt, on video.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749 ... t-23989401
Looks like he picks up a rock in the first ten seconds. How many jurisdictions would consider a rock a weapon?
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:57 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
The Reaper wrote:Unarmed protester shot in Egypt, on video.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749 ... t-23989401
Looks like he picks up a rock in the first ten seconds. How many jurisdictions would consider a rock a weapon?


In the middle of a riot, I would say just about all of them.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby The Reaper » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:58 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
The Reaper wrote:Unarmed protester shot in Egypt, on video.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749 ... t-23989401
Looks like he picks up a rock in the first ten seconds. How many jurisdictions would consider a rock a weapon?

I'm glad you can tell thats a rock. I sure as hell can't. :\
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby sje46 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:00 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:
The Reaper wrote:Unarmed protester shot in Egypt, on video.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749 ... t-23989401
Looks like he picks up a rock in the first ten seconds. How many jurisdictions would consider a rock a weapon?

I would. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most jurisdictions did. A rock can cause serious bodily harm...you'd need a big one to kill somebody, but a rock can crush a person's hands, feet, bones even if they have brittle ones. They can smash a person's teeth, blind someone...etc. This isn't to defend the shooter, btw. The guy holding the rock (are you sure that's a rock?) clearly didn't seem to be looking to throw it at anyone, and his back was to the shooter. Looks like murder to me.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:08 am UTC

Not trying to defend the police, but he was facing them. They are hard to see since they are so far away, but the police are in the background coming down the street. Police have shields and riot gear, and I don't think throwing a rock could be considered deadly force. So yes, in my opinion it was murder.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Greyarcher » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:12 am UTC

sje46 wrote:
Greyarcher wrote:
The Reaper wrote:Unarmed protester shot in Egypt, on video.
http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749 ... t-23989401
Looks like he picks up a rock in the first ten seconds. How many jurisdictions would consider a rock a weapon?

I would. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if most jurisdictions did. A rock can cause serious bodily harm...you'd need a big one to kill somebody, but a rock can crush a person's hands, feet, bones even if they have brittle ones. They can smash a person's teeth, blind someone...etc. This isn't to defend the shooter, btw. The guy holding the rock (are you sure that's a rock?) clearly didn't seem to be looking to throw it at anyone, and his back was to the shooter. Looks like murder to me.
Mm, hard to say. Are those police with shields in the distance? The video's blurry so I can't tell. But if it is, then the guy picked up a rock and turned toward them, so someone took the shot. I'm not sure what Egypt's long-lasting "State of Emergency" laws permit, but it's a plausible event if they're cracking down.

The Reaper wrote:I'm glad you can tell thats a rock. I sure as hell can't. :\
I'm mostly judging from context. It is blurry, but I figure a rock is a better guess than anything else in that situation.


Looks like Egyptian protesters won't have as much luck as Tunisians. That's to be expected though. Eh. We'll see.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby The Reaper » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:43 am UTC

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/ja ... rce-action
Egypt is taking care of those pesky British as well.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Thesh » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:53 am UTC

I don't think the protesters are going to give up easily. Whether or not they manage to do anything, this is going to continue for a while. I suspect it will get bloodier the longer it goes on.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/ ... me=topNews

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including at least eight senior officials of the opposition group and its main spokesmen, were rounded up overnight. A security source said authorities had ordered a crackdown on the group.


Murdering protesters, blocking internet, and rounding up opposition leaders is just going to anger the protesters.

EDIT:

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/ ... -new-egypt

But already I have started getting reports from citizen journalists that government-hired thugs will make sure that nothing about tomorrow is peaceful. They say that in several low-income parts of Cairo and Alexandria, government-hired thugs were seen to be splashing petroleum over parked cars. This to prepare for protests in which they'll light vehicles on fire when the time is right for them.

They've also heard rumours that the intelligence services will release a separate group of thugs under the name Akhwan al- Haq, or Brothers of Truth, a trumped-up extremist group, that will charge through the streets with swords and caustic acid to splash on the protesters - thus placing all the blame of a peaceful uprising gone violent on a certain kind of Islamic extremism.


Take it for what it is, unconfirmed rumors. I guess we will find out soon enough if this is true.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Diadem » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:02 pm UTC

Wow, these protests really seem to be snowballing out of control. I never imagined that possible a few days ago. Which is why this kind of momentum is so important. Because many Egyptians wouldn't have thought it possible either. But now they they've seen that is it, more and more people will join the protests.

I just hope hope hope that something good will come out of it, and that it won't be another Iran.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

At the moment, Egyptian security forces and military seem to listen to orders, and quite willing to be violent . If that doesn't change, it won't be like Tunisia
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Diadem » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:18 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:At the moment, Egyptian security forces and military seem to listen to orders, and quite willing to be violent . If that doesn't change, it won't be like Tunisia

That's the key thing isn't it. Once protests gain enough momentum though police will become less willing to follow orders, less willing to use extreme violence, and more likely to actually switch sides. Very few policemen actually enjoy shooting at their neighbours, and peer pressure starts working against them once enough people join a protest. I won't pretend to know enough of the situation to make a guess as to how near that point is. But it's certainly a possibility.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:11 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
Zamfir wrote:At the moment, Egyptian security forces and military seem to listen to orders, and quite willing to be violent . If that doesn't change, it won't be like Tunisia

That's the key thing isn't it. Once protests gain enough momentum though police will become less willing to follow orders, less willing to use extreme violence, and more likely to actually switch sides. Very few policemen actually enjoy shooting at their neighbours, and peer pressure starts working against them once enough people join a protest. I won't pretend to know enough of the situation to make a guess as to how near that point is. But it's certainly a possibility.

Yes, it could always happen. But there are also tried methods to prevent this cycle.

A important one is to make sure the local soldiers are always from another part of the country, and I have heard Mubarak is pretty good at that. That's a big part of what went wrong at the Tiananmen protests in 1989. The local soldiers were reluctant to use force, which encouraged the protesters. It was weeks before rural troops were brought in, and by then the protests were massive and required mass slaughter to stop. If there were distant troops present from the start, they probably would have enforced martial law before the protests had grown that big in the first place.

Another one is to make sure the security forces, especially the secret police, are unpopular. And again, Mubarak seems good at this. It's a lot easier to beat people who hate you back in return, and who will at the very least fire you from a good job if their revolution succeeds.

I won't pretend to predict the future, but I think an important difference is that Mubarak knows he's unpopular, and always has been. The situation in Tunisia seemed to surprise everyone, including the protesters, Ben Ali and the police and army. But keeping the masses down is pretty much in the standard job description of the Egyptian army.

EDIT: apparently, Egypt has been under martial law continuously since 1967. That's at least an indication of how the army sees its role in the country. Still, we have to wait and see what really happens.

EDIT AGAIN: Al-Jazeera has lots of last-minute impressions of the events in different parts of Egypt. There seems to be large clashes between protesters an security forces in several places in the country.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby AJR » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:05 pm UTC

The Al Jazeera English live stream is spectacularly odd at the moment - the protests can be heard in the background, and the police are apparently in their building. You can sometimes hear doors opening & closing, and conversations in Arabic, in the background on the stream.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby sje46 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:09 pm UTC

Fire fire, burning bright!
Spoiler:
National Democratic Party building (ruling party)
Image
I think this is the NDP too, might be a police station in suez. I'm not sure.
Image
Image

Picture below is a police transport video. First they tried to knock it over the bridge, then the set it on fire.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby savanik » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:51 pm UTC

Updates:

Most BGP route advertisements for Egypt have been dropped. Out of about 3700 routes, only 83 remain open, all of them to the Noor Group, which are apparently vital to financial transactions for their economy and highly controlled. Effectively, this means about 80 million people are without internet access of any kind.

This also appears to have affected Syria's internet access. Either that, or they've turned it off themselves. There's various claims on both sides.

And finally, Jordan is now having massive protests as well. Iraq also has some protests going on, but they seem much more limited in scope?

I'm not sure what we're observing at the moment. A cultural revolution by youth? Or economic protests by the middle class?
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby dubsola » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:58 pm UTC

AJR wrote:The Al Jazeera English live stream is spectacularly odd at the moment - the protests can be heard in the background, and the police are apparently in their building. You can sometimes hear doors opening & closing, and conversations in Arabic, in the background on the stream.

Absolutely amazing. Watch this if you aren't already, it's incredible
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Deep_Thought » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:00 pm UTC

Doesn't look like the protesters are backing down then. I am stunned by their bravery in many ways. It would take an awful lot for me to head out on the streets against that kind of force. These protests also demonstrate why it is a spectacularly bad idea to give any government a kill-switch on the Internet, or indeed any form of public communications infrastructure.
savanik wrote:I'm not sure what we're observing at the moment. A cultural revolution by youth? Or economic protests by the middle class?

Little bit of both maybe? I'm not an expert on the area by any means but from what I've read there's simultaneously an awful lot of social repression and economic mismanagement/corruption/outright theft.
Last edited by Deep_Thought on Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:01 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:01 pm UTC

dubsola wrote:
AJR wrote:The Al Jazeera English live stream is spectacularly odd at the moment - the protests can be heard in the background, and the police are apparently in their building. You can sometimes hear doors opening & closing, and conversations in Arabic, in the background on the stream.

Absolutely amazing. Watch this if you aren't already, it's incredible



Yeah, I stumbled it across it and sent it to my friends only to find they stumbled across it. So far it's been utterly amazing. Infinitely intense and totally crazy.

When I found the stream I had not slept for a bit over 24 hours and now I can't go to sleep, I have to watch this.
Death is the final sorrowful parting from which there is no return. But hope is not yet lost, for there is a simple incantation, a spell of transmutation that brings about the reversal, that permits escape from the infinite well.

"I was here with you"

That is my golden truth.
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Re: Riots in Egypt

Postby Deep_Thought » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:03 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Yeah, I stumbled it across it and sent it to my friends only to find they stumbled across it. So far it's been utterly amazing. Infinitely intense and totally crazy.


I've got it on in the background. They just stopped for prayers and then started protesting straight after again! Oh, and now the Arabic version of Al-Jazeera has been taken off air in Egypt.
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