» 01/25/2012, 00.00
Tahrir Square revolution one year on. State of emergency abolished in Egypt
The head of the Military Council, Hussein Tantawi, has decreed the end of thirty years the law that allowed arrest and detention without trial. Two thousand activists sentenced by military courts in recent months are released. Among them the blogger Maikel Nabil, after 130 days of hunger strike.
Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of people are heading to Tahrir Square (Liberation in Arabic), where since yesterday evening, several hundred activists have pitched tents in the rain, waving national flags. The protesters want to celebrate the first anniversary of the "Jasmine" revolution, which had its centre in Tahrir Square. Prior to January 25 it was called "Day of the police" and was renamed "Day of Revolution" by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. In fact, just today the head of the Military Council, Marshal Hussein Tantawi, announced that the law on the state of emergency will be abolished. "I made the decision to end the state of emergency the morning of January 25, 2012," announced the officer. He added, however, that the law would apply in dealing with cases of "hooliganism", without clearly specifying the meaning of his words.
The state of emergency was in force for almost 30 years. The Mubarak regime made a wide and indiscriminate use of it, so as to be constantly criticized by human rights bodies. The state of emergency allowed the circumvention of the civil justice system: anyone could be arrested and imprisoned without trial. The Military Council that took power after the fall of the Rais has been criticized for having made use of this controversial law. In the 30 years of the Mubarak regime, two thousand civilians have been judged under the state of emergency, in the ten months of the Military Council’s hold on power that number has risen to 12 thousand.
Also on the first anniversary of the revolution, Marshal Tantawi has signed a decree for the release of two thousand persons convicted by military courts. Among them Maikel Nabil, (pictured) 26, a blogger sentenced to two years and fined by a military tribunal in December 2011 on charges of insulting the armed forces, publishing false news and disturbance of public peace. The blogger has continued a hunger strike for 130 days, eating only milk and water.
The military and the economy, the Egyptian spring’s enemies
People are unhappy with the military. So far, no official involved in the death of 900 people killed in Tahrir Square has been tried. Young people continue to protest in favour of a new Egypt; they are the only hope for the country’s future at a time of economic crisis.
Tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square to protect Egypt’s Arab and Islamic identity
Organised by Muslim parties, the peaceful protests included secular groups and Copts. Similar demonstrations are held in Alexandria and Suez. The power of the Muslim Brotherhood is growing; the group could use Ramadan for electoral purposes.
In Tahrir Square to complete the ‘Arab spring’
Demonstrations are held in many cities and universities. Tensions are rising with the Muslim Brotherhoods, which sought to hijack the event. Young people demand justice for those killed and their families, power transferred to a secular government, and a return of the armed forces to their only task, which is the defence of the national borders. Intellectuals and diplomats call for a new Egypt.
Petrol shortages could spark more unrest as revolution’s anniversary approaches
With the loss of foreign funds, Egyptian authorities might have to cut subsidies for petrol, diesel and gaz. This could lead to a huge jump in prices and further stoke an already high inflation (9.5 per cent). With Islamist groups roaming Egyptian cities unchecked, the tourist industry is taking a nosedive. Between 2010 and 2011, bookings are down 90 per cent.
Army slowing reforms to sink revolution
The economic crisis is killing the ideals of the Arab spring. The military are against democracy, and refuse to hand over former regime officials to the justice system. More than US$ 9.5 billion in aid are still lying unused in state coffers. Sources tell AsiaNews that they fear the rise of a theocratic regime with the tacit agreement of Western nations.
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