First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

We need so many more of our readers to join them. The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country. We are inundated with tip-offs; we know where to look and what to do with the information when we have it – we just need the means to help us keep doing this work.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Egyptians find revolutionary tactics just as effective...

Africa

Africa

Egyptians find revolutionary tactics just as effective second time round

Egyptians have returned to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and other cities, in the kind of sustained numbers that eventually toppled Hosni Mubarak. This time their target is the military government which replaced him, and they’ve found that the revolutionary fervour is just as effective this time round. By SIMON ALLISON.

Egypt’s interim military government is backpedalling furiously. At the first sign of serious protest against their rule, they responded in force; the kind of force that Amnesty International described as eerily reminiscent of Mubarak’s tactics. At least 22 people were killed, and over 1,000 injured over the course of Saturday and Sunday. But the protestors are still in Tahrir, and in other cities across Egypt, and their numbers have only swelled in response to the crackdown.

Now the military have suddenly realised – the same way that Mubarak eventually realised – that these protests aren’t just serious: they’re revolutionary. And if the military is to have any chance of holding onto its power in Egypt’s new constitutional dispensation, they’d better start making some compromises. Quickly.

On Tuesday evening, those compromises materialised. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military body governing Egypt, told Egyptians on state TV that presidential elections would be hastened, and would happen by July 2012. He said that a referendum on an immediate transfer of power could be organised if necessary, and that Monday’s parliamentary elections would go ahead. Later, he also accepted the resignation of his entire cabinet, with no word on what or who will replace it.

But it might just be too little to late for Tantawi and his generals. Egyptians accepted the promises of the military last time round, choosing to trust in them to oversee the transition between dictatorship and democracy. That trust is now gone and, if the bold words of the revolutionaries in Tahrir who have rejected the military compromises are anything to go by, the military’s authority with it. DM



Read more:

  • Egyptian protestors refuse generals’ offer for transition in the Guardian;
  • Egyptians are back in business on Al Jazeera.

Photo: REUTERS

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted