“It was Revolution II without MB and Salafys. No police and no army were there to protect us. We did it !! We protected ourselves, our churches, our mosques and our revolution.”
– Proud Egyptian
One of the tactics that SCAF is accused of using, is waiting until displeasure has peaked and then making a concession to buy themselves more time. This happened with the constitutional referendum, again when top regime figures were thrown in jail, and most recently with the announcement that Mubarak is facing murder charges.
To hear more about the situation on the ground, listen to the latest in a series of interviews (in English) that Mideast Reports has done with Dr. Nihad Heliel and Dr. Ashraf Mansour in Alexandria. Nihad is the director of the Middlebury College language program in Egypt and Ashraf is a political scientist at the University of Alexandria. They both plan to attend the May 27 rally; their first trip to Tahrir.
Here is a list of demands for the May 27 demonstration which was found on a flyer in Tahrir Square (see picture for Arabic):
First: The economic demands:
-Minimum and maximum limit of wages
-Redistributing wealth to save the country from economic crisis.
-Impose progressive taxes.
-Prosecuting corrupted businessmen and confiscating the assets they got illegally.
Second: The political demands:
-The return of police force extensively
-Prosecuting Mubarak on the charge of treason based on the confession of field marshal Tantawy that Mubarak gave his orders to the army to kill the protesters.
-Legal and human rights supervision on the newly found national security apparatus and to prosecute all the officers involved in murdering the protests and their torture.
-Disbanding the municipals.
-Disbanding the security central force or merger it in the army.
-Enforcing the voting rights of Egyptians abroad in elections.
-Dismissing Yahia El Gamal from his positions and prosecuting Omar Soliman.
Third: The freedom demands :
-No military trials for civilians.
-Re-prosecuting those convicted in front of military courts after reverting them to civilian courts.
-To ban the dispersing of strikes with force.
-Cleaning up the media , we want a media that represents the people not the ruler
The April 6th Youth movement has its own list of demands, which is similar to the one above (see picture for Arabic):
- Justice: Fast, just and public trials for Mubarak and his regime icons. A new committee to be formed for political corruption charges. “We do not have a law for political corruption.”
- Cleaning up: Cleaning up the ministries especially the ministry of interior, the media, governorates, the universities and the embassies from Mubarak’s remnants. Dissolving the current municipals.
- The rights of the revolution’s martyrs and injured: Their right to be treated on the state’s expense and the families of the martyrs.
- Freedom: Lifting up the emergency laws as long as it is not being used against the Mubarak regime’s remnants and the thugs.
- Liberating the official mainstream: From the remnants of the Mubarak regime and from those hypocrites to the SCAF, who cut the on air programs because guests criticize the rulers of the country.
- Securing the nation and its youth: No more double standards in dealing with protests violently or sending youth to military courts while leaving and ignoring criminals and thugs in the street.
- Bread, freedom, dignity and humanity: Protests should not be banned despite we know that the government is facing huge economic challenges. We want clear strategies and plan for the coming period.
- The people and the army are one hand: It is not a protest against the army but we have the right to criticize the SCAF
Twitter has been alight with messages containing the #May27 hashtag, which can be used to follow events. Here is a sample:
In the end, this demonstration could very well end up being the largest since Mubarak’s departure, but it will not have the impact that some are expecting. There will not be a second revolution, and at best the rally will result in significant concessions aimed at keeping people off the street. More members of the old regime, especially from the security forces, could be prosecuted or SCAF might take new steps to address economic problems, which are continuing to worsen. Ideally, the decades old emergency law would be lifted.
However, with crime on the rise, the long term question is whether the police ranks can be cleaned of Mubarak era thugs, and put back on the streets. The restoration of a legitimate and trustworthy police force would be a big win for SCAF, and a step toward stabilizing the country.
Despite a Muslim Brotherhood boycott, tens of thousands came to Tahrir today. Although a far cry from a ‘million-man march’ it shows that the people will continue to hold the government accountable. In an interesting move, SCAF announced that there would no military presence at the event, as to avoid creating unrest. This seems to have worked, as there a few reported incidences of unruliness. Check out these links to learn more: