Tunisia goes viral: Massive anti-government protests erupt in Egypt

posted at 5:47 pm on January 25, 2011 by Allahpundit

As one revolution dies in Beirut, labor pains for another begin in Cairo. Don’t start handing out cigars yet, though. Remember, Tunisia’s uprising was big news not only because it’s an unprecedented case of an Arab populace removing its own tyrant but because, at least in theory, Tunisians are well positioned to form something resembling an Arab liberal democracy. The public is well educated, women have equal rights, and Islamists don’t have a foothold (yet?) thanks to the since-departed dictator’s crackdown on opposition elements. In Egypt, by contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood has been a major opposition movement for decades, pushing democracy as a means to their end of installing an Islamist government, rescinding the country’s treaty with Israel, and unleashing whatever plans it has for the country’s huge Coptic Christian population. Needless to say, if you think Hamas’s election win in Gaza a few years ago was a big deal to Muslim fundies, imagine the encouragement they’d get from watching Mubarak replaced by the Ikhwan.

Thousands of people calling for the end of the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak clashed with riot police here in the capital and in other Egyptian cities on Tuesday, on a day of some of the most serious civil unrest in recent memory…

The protesters, mobilized largely on the Internet and energized by recent events in Tunisia, occupied one of the city’s most famous squares for hours, beating back attempts to dislodge them by police officers wielding tear gas and water cannons…

Security officials said several thousand people demonstrated in Alexandria, and there were reports of large demonstrations in other cities, including Mansoura and Mahalla al-Kobra. There, a video posted on the Internet showed people tearing up a large portrait of Mr. Mubarak — an act whose boldness here is hard to overstate.

State television made no mention of the protests, and sporadically through the afternoon, cellphone networks were interrupted or unavailable.

A detail further down in the Times piece: At least six Egyptians have immolated themselves in protest over the last weeks, mimicking Mohamed Bouazizi’s galvanizing suicide in Tunisia. This is, in other words, very much inspired by what’s happening over there. Mubarak’s dilemma now is what to do if the protests drag on — follow Ben Ali’s example in Tunisia by trying to appease the protesters with promised reforms, which only seemed to encourage them, or exercise “the Tiananmen option.” I’ll bet more than one Sunni leader elsewhere would happily tolerate the latter to snuff this match before it lights another powder keg somewhere closer by.

Below you’ll find the video mentioned in the Times excerpt of protesters tearing down Mubarak’s portrait, followed by two more notable clips from an extensive YouTube round-up on the NYT’s “The Lede” blog. How the State Department plans to play this, wanting to push democracy but knowing that the alternative to Mubarak would very likely be worse, I have no idea. But if Bush was willing to use a light touch in pressing his freedom agenda with the regime there, I imagine The One won’t be any bolder. Exit question: Time notes that Egyptian police typically crack down on a large protest before it moves even one city block. Today they let the crowd move, on and on, through various neighborhoods. Why on earth would they do that so soon after the Tunisia uprising, especially given what Time says about “repression and ineffectiveness” being a deadly combination for a weak autocracy?




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Comment pages: 1 2

Somewhere in the intertubes, there are Sexy Arab Girl ads that could be spamming me if only I could make up my mind about the damned phone. RINO in Name Only on January 25, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Don’t go after the Arab woman. You and her will be the victim of an honor killing.

SC.Charlie on January 25, 2011 at 6:58 PM

I guess you just love all the Arab/Muslim dictatorships in the Middle East?

SC.Charlie on January 25, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Trading a secular dictatorship for one based on Sharia doesn’t usually work out well for us, when democracy is just used as a tool for making the exchange.

a capella on January 25, 2011 at 6:58 PM

flawedskull on January 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Yep, those are the scribblings of a “flawed skull”.

Who is John Galt on January 25, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Ibrahim was the eldest in his family. He always dreamed of going to university; however, after the Zionist occupation to the neighboring portion of land, he was no longer able to do this. The Great Satan then cut off the welfare programs. He was left with no other alternative but to eat opium, read his Koran, hump his camel, and throw stones.

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Ibrahim would walk a mile for a camel; ya know so he could smoke one.

Geochelone on January 25, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Ibrahim would walk a mile for a camel; ya know so he could smoke one.

Geochelone on January 25, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Hehehe

If only the ME was as simple as a “smoking problem”

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Trading a secular dictatorship for one based on Sharia doesn’t usually work out well for us, when democracy is just used as a tool for making the exchange. – a capella on January 25, 2011 at 6:58 PM

I agree.

SC.Charlie on January 25, 2011 at 7:04 PM

I’m heading to the airport soon for a 5 am flight out to Frankfurt, from what I hear it is a 5 hour trip with all the streets tied up. Hope I make it, time for some good German beer.

hip shot on January 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Prayers for you, fellow HA’er, for your safe evacuation.

Who is John Galt on January 25, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Geochelone on January 25, 2011 at 7:02 PM
Hehehe

If only the ME was as simple as a “smoking problem”

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 7:03 PM

We SHOULD make it a smoldering problem…it would make a magnificent parking lot for our oil companies. /s, but not really.

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 7:07 PM

but not really.

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Heh

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

HornetSting on January 25, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Heh

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Sorry, meant LOLOLOL ;)

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

The world continues to be a very, very dangerous place. It is not like peace is breaking out all over the place.

SC.Charlie on January 25, 2011 at 7:10 PM

I’m heading to the airport soon for a 5 am flight out to Frankfurt, from what I hear it is a 5 hour trip with all the streets tied up. Hope I make it, time for some good German beer. – hip shot on January 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Dress warmly, send my your bar bill.

SC.Charlie on January 25, 2011 at 7:12 PM

I guess ObaMao’s “Cairo Speech” backfired.

Does anyone have any idea what those protestors tearing down the poster in the first video clip are chanting?

Just an observation: Those streets and sidewalks are immaculate; ie., litter-free.

When the “Arab street” bursts into fury, the results tend to be more repressive Islam. This is not good, esp., given what has occurred in Lebanon. Life is going to become even more hellish for Christians in the ME.

onlineanalyst on January 25, 2011 at 7:13 PM

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 6:41 PM
======
After the laser equipped sharks… ahem.

MeatHeadinCA on January 25, 2011 at 6:47 PM

MeatHeadinCA:Lol,you mean,Hari-Kari belts:)

canopfor on January 25, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Don’t be fooled for a second that this is all happening via the internet.

Kermit on January 25, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Your observation is somewhat cryptic. What do you mean, or what are you suggesting?

onlineanalyst on January 25, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Just set up gasoline and lighter kiosks along the demonstration routes so that the idiots can all self immolate themselves.

OxyCon on January 25, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Carter botched the Shah of Iran and it gave us the Fanatical Mullahs…..

Will Egypt be Obamas’ Iran?

History repeats……..Millions suffer needlessly.

Sad.

PappyD61 on January 25, 2011 at 8:25 PM

It is early in the morning in Egypt. Here is a link to Sandmonkey who is on the scene twittering:

http://twitter.com/sandmonkey

SC.Charlie on January 25, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Maybe NOW somebody will believe that Islam is a religion of war and destruction for ANYTHING different. Sunnis kill Shiites when not temporarily bonded for destruction of outsiders. Shiites kill Sunnis the same way. Both kill anybody else of any religion. Islam is a religion of death, destruction, and hate.

And with Iran taking over Lebanon that squeezes the Sunnis. So it’s going to get rather interesting in the Middle East shortly. (Note that Pakistan is chiefly Sunni while Iran, the other nuclear Muslim country is very Shiite. Who is taking bets on whether that goes nuclear when Iran threatens Saudi Arabia with destruction or take over?)

{^_^}

herself on January 26, 2011 at 7:44 AM

hip shot, will be praying for you to make it out unscathed. Oh – a tip from my old teacher – don’t try to outdrink the locals! He learned that the hard way!

Dark-Star on January 26, 2011 at 8:10 AM

Here is a link to Sandmonkey who is on the scene twittering:

SC.Charlie on January 25, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Thanks for that–haven’t seen his stuff for a couple years.

bandarlog on January 26, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Millions of people brainwashed by Islam.

What could go wrong?

profitsbeard on January 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM

If there were any lands that make a case for a need of a good conquering by a western civilization it’s muzzy lands

they are completely incapable of tending their own house

Sonosam on January 26, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Southern Sudan is now independent from Northern Sudan. The bad news is the leader in Northern Sudan just declared Sharia Law in the face of a young population demanding democracy. There is also fears that Northern Sudan will use the Muslim Brotherhood and other Jihadi groups to try to undermine the emerging non-muslim Southern Sudan. I worry that Egypt will decide to go hard Sharia (over what they already implement) than allow greater democracy.

Iblis on January 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Comment pages: 1 2