Category Archives: Jan25

History of Egypt’s police: From liberators to oppressors

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This article first appeared in Al-Masry Al-Youm English Edition one day before the revolution (Mon, 24/01/2011)

Any Egyptian policeman would delight at reading The Times of 26 January 1952 in which Egyptian police were portrayed as having led the resistance to British occupation.  At that time, two years before the signing of the Evacuation Treaty of British forces from Egypt, anti-British sentiments had reached their peak in the country.

Egyptian historians write about how ordinary Egyptians expressed anti-British sentiments, Egyptian workers boycotted British military bases, and farmers refused to deliver basic foods to British bases near the Canal Zone, which hosted around 80,000 British soldiers and officers.

On 25 January 1952, British forces in the city of Ismailia asked the city’s two principal police stations to evacuate the buildings and surrender their guns. Then Interior Minister Fuad Serag Eddin requested the policemen not to surrender and, if necessary, fight for their dignity as Egyptian patriots. Continue reading

With unprecedented turnout, Qena voters challenge tradition

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to Qena to vote. However, I wrote this quick report about the first day of the election there.

Residents reported high voter turnout Tuesday in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, a governorate that has recently witnessed unprecedented political debate, especially among its youth which aims to sideline the tribal and family influences that usually dominate elections there.

Qena is divided into two constituencies for party list-based seats, which 176 candidates are contesting, and three constituencies for single-winner seats, which 234 candidates are contesting.

“What’s new about these elections is that we’re discussing the future of our governorate. People are fed up with the issues of families and tribes. They don’t do anything for the people. Now we should try the political parties,” Amgad Seoudi, a 28-year-old unemployed Qena resident, told Egypt Independent in a phone interview. Continue reading

Military-owned factories threaten farmers’ livelihoods in Fayoum

Smoke from three Fayoum factories officially inaugurated last October by Egypt’s de-facto ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi is creating an environmental disaster, not only ruining agricultural production but also killing scores of animals, according to residents of the area surrounding the factories.

The inauguration of the factories, which produce phosphoric acid, aluminum sulfate and fertilizers in the industrial region of Kum Osheem off the Cairo–Fayoum Road, was part of celebrations for the 38th anniversary of Egypt’s 6th of October military victory over Israel.

All three factories belong to the military-owned Nasr Company for Chemicals, which was established in 1975 to produce chemicals, fertilizers and household pesticides. Continue reading

A look back at Egypt’s military violence (Timeline)

Photo By STRINGER/REUTERS

During the 18-day uprising that drove former President Hosni Mubarak from power, the military was praised for allegedly refusing orders to shoot protesters. But since the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took power on 11 February, military forces have killed more than 50 people, including 10 in the latest round of violence which began on 16 December.

Egypt’s military rulers say that the people they targeted were not the true revolutionaries of Tahrir Square, an argument that plays on preconceptions that those dressed in shabby clothes do not belong to the neat, professional middle-class “Facebook youth” who brought about the revolution. A quick glance at those killed dispels this classist myth, however. On Friday, Emad Effat, an Al-Azhar sheikh, was shot dead. So was Alaa Abdel Hadi, a medical student at Ain Shams University.

The martyrs at the hands of the army include the poor and middle-class, professionals and unemployed, religious and secular, Christian and Muslim.

It wasn’t until April that the military became directly implicated in the murder of protesters, but the army’s legacy of violence goes back to its first days in power. But even in other incidents where scores were killed by Ministry of Interior forces, the army’s soldiers have stood by and watched. During the notorious Battle of the Camel, in which plain-clothed pro-Mubarak thugs attacked protesters in Tahrir Square, the army refused to intervene. Continue reading

Turnout for elections in Giza ‘unprecedented’

Poorer and rural areas of Giza have seen a high turnout for the second phase of parliamentary elections, with most voters calling the numbers at polling stations on Wednesday “unprecedented”.

This has been the case with the first constituency (Giza is divided into two constituencies for party lists), which contains four large, urban working-class areas in addition to six rural areas.

In the neighborhood of Haram, long lines of voters stood in front of the polling station at Thaniwiya al-Ziraeiya School.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party stood outside the polling station to provide voters with information on how to vote. Ahmed Abdel Hakeem, an activist with the FJP, told Egypt Independent that they are not campaigning. Continue reading

Time for an independent conversation- by Editorial team of Egypt Independent

On 24 November, we issued the first edition of our new project, Egypt Independent, a weekly, 24-page newspaper that attempts to unpack Egypt’s complex and dynamic political and cultural landscape. It was not long before we were interrupted. Our second issue never made it to the newsstands.

This interruption has not only caused us a major frustration after putting days of work and much investment into the project. It has also disappointed our nascent readership. This is why we want to explain what happened and take the opportunity to introduce our team. Continue reading

High elections committee publicizes comprehensive vote tally

AAP photo

The high elections committee on Sunday released a comprehensive tally of votes in Egypt’s recent parliamentary poll, the first phase of which was held on Monday and Tuesday.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) led the polls. It won 40 percent of the vote, while the Salafi Nour Party achieved 20 percent and the secular Egyptian Bloc secured 15 percent. The liberal Wafd Party won 6 percent, while the moderate Islamist Wasat party won 4 percent. Continue reading