74 people were killed at a football match riot at Port Said, Egypt. This happens on the anniversary of the successful Arab Spring revolution that brought down Mubarak’s regime. People were outrageous taking to the streets shouting ‘down with military rule’.
Almost a year since Hosni Mubarak was ousted as president and replaced by the military council, Egypt has seen frequent bouts of deadly violence.
Last October, 24 people were killed in clashes between Coptic Christians and security forces. Angry Egyptians lay the blame on the military and security forces.
Two months later, security forces opened fire on protesters in Tahrir Square demanding an end to the military’s grip on power. The clashes left more than 40 people dead and scores more injured. Videos of police atrocity, especially on women, were widely circulated by youtube and social network sites.
In December 2011, protesters held a sit-in outside the cabinet building. Military forces violently dispersed the gathering, killing at least 17 people.
The invisible hand seems to be working successfully in destabilizing Egypt. In 2011, the revolution was bolstered when civilians and soldiers joined hands. Women were throwing flowers on soldiers who in turn blew kisses at the crowd. Armed soldiers defied their Commander in Chief when ordered to fire on the protesters. |Egyptian commentators were quick to highlight the fact that Army was held in high esteem by common people. It was always the Egyptian armed forces who were looked upon by Egyptians and Arab muslims as capable defenders of the land against Zionist Israel. In short, Egyptians loved and respected their men in arms. That has now changed.
Rift between people and army leads to destabilization. In such a situation, it Army is called upon to restore normalcy. Muslim Brotherhood’s political ambitions could be crushed for another long haul through a military takeover. The chaos in Egypt is working very well for its enemies, who would like to see a totalitarian regime in place instead of a democratic one. A democratic Egypt would adopt an anti Israeli policies. An authoritarian government will impose policies favoring Israel. Only a strongman at the top can crush peoples’ will, with brute force.
Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi’s interim military council “lost its legitimacy today, given the blood that has been shed,” Muslim Brotherhood MP Mustafa Naggar told the newly-elected parliament. “The military council must be brought down,” added fellow Brotherhood MP Mohamed Abou Hamed. Faced with this outcry, Tantawi vowed that “Egypt will remain stable” and his appointed caretaker Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri announced the suspension of Port Said’s governor and security director and the firing of soccer authorities. But lawmakers weren’t mollified. They accuse the security forces of “plotting against the democratic transition.” Speaker Mohamed Saad al-Katani has declared that the hard-won revolution is “in danger” and time is running out to salvage it.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist lawmakers who dominate parliament must speed the process of drafting a new constitution if the army is to cede power to an elected government by June, as promised. Importantly, the constitution will decide whether the nation of 80 million moves forward under a presidential or a prime ministerial framework, whether it is administered under largely Islamic or secular law, and the balance of power between civilian lawmakers and the army.
- Military bears brunt of crowd’s fury (smh.com.au)
- Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood stops protesters from marching to parliament (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Egypt football riot: Port Said officials sacked (powersthatbeat.wordpress.com)
- Football bloodbath turns the heat on military in Egypt (thehindu.com)
- Egyptians enraged as 74 die in stadium (vivaafricasports.wordpress.com)
- Egypt football riot: Hosni Mubarak supporters blamed for Port Said football tragedy (oyiabrown.wordpress.com)
- Clashes in Egypt after deadly football disaster (alternet.org)
- Egypt mourns after 74 killed in football tragedy (alternet.org)
- Egypt football violence leaves many dead in Port Said (zokimag.wordpress.com)
- The Brothers’ Betrayal (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)