Activists: We Will Protest Until the Military Regime Falls
Published Tuesday, November 22, 2011
“The government’s announced resignation will not stop us from demonstrating,” Egyptian activist Mohammed Hamama said. “After all that has happened, we will not stop demonstrating until the military regime hands over power to a civilian government.”
Part of the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists, Hamama is one of hundreds of thousands participating in protests in the emblematic Tahrir Square for the third day running. “When the government under Mubarak resigned, we did not stop protesting. We wanted the president to go. We will not stop now. The military regime is our goal.”
The Egyptian government resigned Monday evening in the wake of three days of protests in Cairo, leaving at least 35 dead. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt (SCAF) has yet to accept the resignation.
Protesters faced off with Egyptian security officers who used extreme force in attempts to disperse protesters from Tahrir Square.
Pro-democracy protesters had returned to Tahrir Square – the rallying point for the revolution that toppled former autocratic President Hosni Mubarak – on Friday, setting up camp to reclaim a revolution they see is being swept away by the ruling military.
“People are arriving in Cairo from all over the country,” said protester Mohammed Ammar. “Our numbers are growing, even though the police and army are using violence against us.”
The SCAF, headed by Field Marshal Tantawi, assumed interim leadership of Egypt following Mubarak's resignation, and appear to be tightening their grip on power. The SCAF renewed the dreaded emergency laws in September, and have cracked down on dissenting journalists, activists, and bloggers, including the high profile detention of Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah.
“The imprisonment of Alaa is not only a message from the SCAF to my family, which has long opposed the use of military trials of civilians,” said Sanaa Seif, Abdel Fattah’s younger sister. “It is also a message to all activists. The SCAF wants everyone to know that we are all targets.”
Protesters are demanding SCAF transfer power to a civilian government.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled to begin on November 28. “The elections are useless at this stage,” said Hamama. “No elections can be fair so long as the army is in power.”
Compounding the military regime’s refusal to hand over power is the fact that it has committed crimes against the Egyptian population, for which it must be held accountable, according to Khaled al-Dalshi, chief editor of al-Badeel newspaper.
“The government’s resignation is by no means the solution to the problem Egypt faces,” al-Dalshi said. “It may be the beginning. However, what we need to focus on now is on holding the SCAF accountable for the crimes committed against protesters.”
Without a full transition to a civilian government, police and army violence will likely continue. “The crimes committed over recent days are reminiscent of those committed under Mubarak’s regime,” al-Dalshi added. “The SCAF has failed in its mandate to oversee the transition to democracy. It must step down now, or else face an even stronger wave of protests.”
(al-Akhbar, AFP, Reuters)