Egypt

Tahrir Square occupied in second revolution


Published

Protesters re-occupied Tahrir Square on Friday following the circulation of a draft constitution that suggests the military will remain in control over a civilian government.

The protesters on Friday found their numbers swelling rapidly as police tried to remove them using tear gas and rubber bullets. Eventually the police were driven back and more protesters swelled the crowds, although one person has died and at least 700 have been injured.

Today the protesters are calling this the second revolution as they reject any idea of the army retaining any control over a civilian government. Chants included ‘The people want to topple the Field Marshall’ a reference to Field Marshall Tantawi who is the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which took over after the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

The Muslim Brotherhood has played a more prominent role in this series of protests. That may well be because their party, the Freedom and Justice Party, is leading in the opinion polls and along with other more hard-line Salafis parties could control the new parliament in elections slated to start on 28th November. The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed under Hosni Mubarak and have continued to be a worry to the military who prefer a more secular state.

This battle of power is likely to be at the core of these latest protests, although many others are complaining about a range of issues, including the lack of speedy trials for policemen involved in the 25th January revolution and the use of military courts to try former protesters.

Paradoxically tourism rose for the first time this year in the third quarter; it was up by 23.2%, with 2.7 million people visiting Egypt in Q3. If the protests continue this is likely to impact once more on tourism. In the three months following the January uprising the Egyptian tourism industry lost around £1.42 billion in revenues.

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