Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The protests continue

So alongside watching the news throughout the day, I have been getting updated text messages from my Journie friend, who decided to don a baseball cap to cover the blond (lol ...you crack me up) and head into the thick of things.

It's days like these, when you can see the mass movement of people in Cairo, that you realise just how far away from reality Hurghada and the Red Sea in general are. It's business as usual here, with the odd Egyptian tuned to their television to see what's happening. But to be honest, most of these watching probably actually have family there. The general mentality of "it doesn't really concern me right now, why should I bother?" obviously prevails.

I've been speaking to a few people about their impression of the protests. I can't wait to get a hands on account from my journie friend, and will surely re-post that here.

Of the people I have been speaking to, sadly most believe that this protest, while a courageous effort, will have little to no impact. Were there to be any real problems, the army would step in, and the case would be closed. As one person said to me earlier, "just look at how successful any previous revolutions in Egypt have been." Another friend mentioned to me that the education system in this country is so backwards, that it essentially inhibits any real change in the first place. What a sad reality to consider. :(

Anyhow, for those keeping up, here's another re-post from the BBC with on hand video! My thoughts are with all my friends down in the thick of things at the moment, and hopes for a safe return home for everyone!

The BBC's Jon Leyne describes 'remarkable scenes' in the Egyptian capital

Related stories

Police in Cairo are using tear gas and water cannon to try to quell rare anti-government protests.
Thousands are reported to have join the protests after an internet campaign inspired by the uprising in Tunisia.
They are marching through Cairo and other areas chanting anti-government slogans, after activists called for a "day of revolt" in a web message.
Weeks of unrest in Tunisia eventually toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month.
Such protests are uncommon in Egypt, which President Hosni Mubarak has ruled since 1981, tolerating little dissent.
The events in Cairo were co-ordinated on a Facebook page - tens of thousands of supporters clicked on the page to say they would take part.
The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says rallies are being held in several parts of the capital, and the turnout so far is more than the organisers could have hoped.
He says there has been a series of violent confrontations, including in front of the parliament building, where police with riot shields, tear gas and water cannon clashed with protesters throwing rocks.
There are also reports of protests in Alexandria and Ismailiya, among others.
'Nothing to fear'
The Associated Press (AP) news agency reports that in Tahrir Square, demonstrators attacked a police water cannon vehicle, opening the driver's door and ordering the man out of the vehicle.
Protester holds sign saying "Mubarak, out" in French during a protest in central Cairo on Tuesday 25 January 2011Protesters alluded to the Tunisian uprising - this one using the French word "degage", meaning "out"
Officers beat back protesters with batons as they tried to break the police cordons to join the main demonstration, it added.
One protester, 43-year-old lawyer Tareq el-Shabasi, told AP: "I came here today willing to die, I have nothing to fear."
The AFP news agency reported that protesters had gathered outside the Supreme Court holding large signs that read: "Tunisia is the solution."
They then broke through lines of police and began to march through the streets, chanting: "Down with Mubarak."
Reuters news agency reported that some chants referred to Mr Mubarak's son Gamal, who some analysts believe is being groomed as his father's successor. "Gamal, tell your father Egyptians hate you," they shouted.
The organisers rallied support saying the protest would focus on torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment, calling it "the beginning of the end".
"It is the end of silence, acquiescence and submission to what is happening in our country," they said in comments carried by Reuters news agency.
"It will be the start of a new page in Egypt's history - one of activism and demanding our rights."
Egypt has many of the same social and political problems that brought about the unrest in Tunisia - rising food prices, high unemployment and anger at official corruption.
However, the population of Egypt has a much lower level of education than Tunisia. Illiteracy is high and internet penetration is low.
There are deep frustrations in Egyptian society, our Cairo correspondent says, yet Egyptians are almost as disillusioned with the opposition as they are with the government; even the Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Islamist movement, seems rudderless.
While one opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, called on Egyptians to take part in these protests, the Muslim Brotherhood has been more ambivalent.
Our correspondent adds that Egypt is widely seen to have lost power, status and prestige in the three decades of President Mubarak's rule.

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