Egyptians take to the Streets to oppose Mubarak dictatorship


Tens of thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets to demand an end to the dicatorship of Hosni Mubarak. The protests echo the recent overthrow of the dictator in Tunisia. Today is a national holiday in Egypt to celebrate the police, a brutal force and a key component in keeping Mubarak in power.

Protests have been taking place in Cairo, Alexandria, Mansura and Tanta in the Nile delta and in Aeewan and Asiut in the south. The demonstrations are being organised largely online by groups representing the young and poor, motivated by economic issues as much as politics. Interestingly, the Muslim Brotherhood, for long recognised as Egypt's largest opposition group, have played no role in organising or encouraging the demonstrations. As in Tunisia, we are witnessing something new, something more spontaneous and something with at least an aspect of class anger about it.

It is illegal to demonstrate in Egypt without official permission and marching is rarely if ever allowed. The police  are historically ruthless in implementing the law which empowers them to arrest anyone defying these stipulations.  That makes the large turnout at these demos all the more inspiring as they are not legal and not stationary.

Police have thus far reacted with teargas, batons and some arrests.

Mubarak is a firm favourite of the West and an ally of Israel, helping to secure the neighbouring Gaza strip as an open-air prison. How loudly will western governments call for democracy in Egypt?

WORDS: James McBarron

Protest in Tahir square, central Cario

Mubarak portrait being destroyed in Mansoura

Mubarak portraits being pulled down in Raml station, Alexandria

Protesters attack riot police

Marching to Tahir square