Egypt security forces face the people's wrath
Fresh clashes flared overnight outside the Interior Ministry as police once again resorted to firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets at rock-throwing crowds.
The demonstrators’ anger is directed at the ruling Military Council and its transitional cabinet. They have called for the wholesale dismissal of the government and a no-confidence vote in Egypt’s prime minister, Kamal al Ganzuri. Youth groups have been staging thousands-strong demonstrations in central Cairo since Thursday, with the most militant among them attacking the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
On Saturday night they put their demands to members of the National Assembly.They include the resignation of the Interior Minister, whom they blame for police negligence alleged to have caused the riot and stampede at a Port Said football match.The tragedy has sparked a new round of tensions in the country and led to fresh clashes between police and protesters on the streets of Egyptian cities.
The deaths of 70 people in the Port Said stadium riot has led to the president and the entire board of Egypt's football association being fired, but the move failed to quell anger over the deaths. Demonstrators across the country maintain that there was more to the clashes than regular football rivalry. They do not hold the football federation responsible, instead pinning the blame on the security services for allowing armed militants to enter the stadium.
At least dozen more people have lost their lives and over 2,000 have been injured in protests across the country since Wednesday’s stadium deaths. In response to the protests, Egypt’s authorities are debating whether to move the presidential election forward from its current planned date in June. However the deliberations have only stoked violence on the streets.
“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has mismanaged the transitional process,” says Professor Omar Ashour from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.
Civilian rule has remained an unfulfilled dream, and economic life in the country has not returned to normal. Authorities have also failed to follow through on a promise to restructure the security services formerly loyal to ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
“All these expectations: a better economy, dignity, freedom and bread – all the slogans of the revolution have not been accomplished a year after the revolution,” Ashour noted, recalling that the deadline for the most important expectation – a power transfer within the first six months of Mubarak's exit from power – passed long time ago.
“Protesters want an elected president now, so they can hold him accountable if he fails to restore the Egyptian economy and fails to reform the security services,” Ashour told RT.
"The angry, mostly young protesters – who count large numbers of football fans amongst them – are right to feel victimized," Ashour explained. They cannot bring another revolution – but they can put enormous pressure on the newly elected parliament and the Military Council.