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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Here Comes the Anniversary of the Revolution

It is hard to believe that it has been three years since the Egyptian Revolution.  There is considerable discussion among friends about how the anniversary will be celebrated.  The official anniversary is January 25.  But that will be Saturday, and Fridays have become demonstration days.  And last night we heard from a friend that protests and American flag burning had begun downtown on January 22!  Here is a report from that demonstration.

Demonstrators burned US flags during a protest march at Talaat Harb Square in the capital, Cairo, late on Wednesday.

They accused Washington of supporting the military-installed government and chanted slogans against the military.
That link took you to the website of Press TV, a 24-hour TV news network located in the Islamic Repbulic of Iran. 

Were these Muslim Brotherhood members or others?  I certainly don't know.  But I do know that the Brotherhood is not held in very high regard by most folks that we are acquainted with.  Consider a few paragraphs from this article:
The Brotherhood, which has won all elections in post-Mubarak Egypt, is in complete disarray, with its top leadership behind bars and hundreds of members and supporters on the run or living in constant fear.

After several approaches, some of its members finally agreed to meet up with AFP at their homes or cafes in the capital.
"Ibrahim", 23, played host at his residence in a Cairo neighbourhood, but only after assurances that his real name would not be revealed.

At the gate of his building, Ibrahim cast worried looks around him, afraid that the doorman who he suspects of being "close to the security forces" would report him for meeting journalists.

And before he started to talk, his friend Mohamed removed the SIM cards from mobile phones, saying the "security forces can tap conversations even when the phone is switched off".
That link took you to "Your Middle East," a digital newspaper published in Stockholm and staffed by a variety of independent journalists.  The article was written by Sarah Benhaida of the French news agency, AFP, who supplied the picture of the burning U.S. flag in both articles.

The current government appears strongly interested in seeing that there is little trouble here on Friday and favorable demonstrations on Saturday.  A week ago, the Interior Minister called on the citizens to turn out on the 25th:
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim called on people to take down to streets on 25 January next to celebrate the anniversary of 25 January revolution and to confront the Muslim Brotherhood plans for a counter-revolution to 30 June revolution on that day, according to Ibrahim.
Three days ago, Ibrahim announced that he was ready for any counter demonstrations:
Ibrahim also stressed that prisons and police stations have been provided with a heavy arsenal, not only automatic weapons, and orders have been given to all officers to fire live ammunition in case of any attempts to storm any prison or police station.
As for what is in the rumor mill, I can't say with any authority.  But there have been travel restrictions announced for Friday.  For example, trains from Alexandria to Cairo won't be running.  This morning, there was a longer than usual line at the gas station on our side of the street.  Perhaps people are stockpiling?  The station across the street did not have a line - perhaps just it was just a bargain price on our side.  There were two people in line at the ATM up the street - more precautionary stockpiling?

As for us, we plan to spend the 25th at an undisclosed location nowhere near downtown.  Stay tuned!


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