Today marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Egypt’s revolution against the former Hosni Mubarak regime. Today has been declared a national holiday so Egyptians were free to gather in Tahrir Square to show their support for the revolution and their continued distaste for the ruling military council.
I went down to Tahrir this afternoon to check it out and it was easily the most crowded I’ve seen the square to date. Several podiums were erected and various parties and movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, galvanized their supporters via microphones and shitty amplifiers.
While trying to cross the square to watch the Brotherhood speak, my friends and I got stuck mass of people so thick that movement was close to impossible. Add the vigor and lack of patience of the Egyptian youth (and adults for that matter) and it was a pretty uncomfortable situation. Just put your arms down, make like a worm, and just be pushed along with the current of the people. I didn’t stay more than an hour as my patience for being a human pinball weren’t that good today. Nevertheless, it was good to see the Egyptian people keeping their revolution alive and moving, albeit at a slow pace.
There was zero police/military presence and security checkpoints entering the square were organized and run by the people, probably with some coordination by the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations. The lack of police/military is likely why the celebration/protest in Tahrir remained peaceful.
However, if violence were to breakout it wouldn’t be during the day. It will occur late tonight or early tomorrow morning as the military tries to clear out the square. The military council’s patience for extended demonstrations are short and they will likely resort to some barbaric tactic when the demonstrators refuse to exit Tahrir. Time will tell.
Egypt has come a long way over the course of the past 365 days. Hosni Mubarak, a man who ruled for over 30 years, was deposed and several rounds of elections have been conducted in a relatively fair manner (although I have heard pretty bad stories of voting boxes full of votes onboard military vehicles, ect.)
Despite this progress, Egypt still has a long way to go until to reaches the democracy that it is seeking. It has a military council, which despite its public statements, certainly has intentions of maintaining power. How it will try to do this and if it will be successful remains to be seen. If its members were smart, which is certainly debatable, they will create some sort of deal with the Muslim Brotherhood and run the show from behind the scenes.
It will be interesting to see what the near and distant future holds in store for Egypt and its people but I foresee more turbulence on the horizon.
++I have some cool video footage from today but can’t upload it onto the blog because I am budget and have not yet upgraded to the “Pro” edition. It can be found on an iReport that I submitted to CNN. Here is the link: www.ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-736737