Reports out of Egypt are getting more and more disturbing. Pro Mubarack people reported to be police on horses and camels attacked protesters in Tahrir Square yesterday. There are numerous reports of journalists being attacked, arrested and bullied by the government and pro government forces. The Washington Post says their reporter and photographer may have been arrested. The New York Times says:
The Egyptian state news agency asked foreign reporters and crews to move out of all the hotels near Tahrir Square in Cairo, the focal point of antigovernment protests, on Thursday.
Things have gotten out of control in Egypt as Mubarack unleashed his allies to try and crush the rebellion. With the armed forces remaining neutral he risks losing their support completely. This is his last gasp as a dictator trying to hold onto power in the face of a mass revolt. It cannot succeed and President Obama risks being on the wrong side of history should he not publicly urge Mubarack to leave.
Egypt and Tunisia serve as warnings to any government which serves only its elite: the people have the power and know now how to use it to overthrow repressive regimes. Hear that Wall Street? The power of social media to spread information in the information age is toppling governments in Africa. Who will be next?
Rioting Egyptians have gathered in the main square in Cairo while others protest in Suez and Alexandria. President Hosni Mubarak who took control following the assassination of Anwar Sadat is beginning to look like a former dictator. Recent crooked elections spurred unrest then when Egyptians witnessed the takedown of a corrupt regime in neighboring Tunisia they became emboldened enough to topple their own government. Mubarak’s Cabinet resigned this morning but this will not placate the anti-government rioters. Al Jazeera is reporting upwards of 90 protesters killed through government action which now means deploying the army on the streets of Cairo.
This can only end when the President flees the country and leaves his people to form a new government. How long the generals continue to support him in the face of such violent opposition is the key ingredient at this time. When they abandon Mubarak he needs a ticket out of Cairo. I’ve been following this on Twitter and its fascinating to see how powerful such media are and how they can transform lives.
After Egypt who is next? America?