See also:
» 06.03.2013 - Egypt court suspends planned election date
» 25.02.2013 - Opposition to boycott another Egypt election?
» 24.03.2011 - Still double standards in Egypt justice
» 24.03.2011 - How cyber-activism lent savvy to North African protests
» 18.03.2011 - Egyptians split on Saturday's referendum
» 03.03.2011 - Egypt PM Shafiq resigns after protests
» 23.02.2011 - Exodus from Libya; foreigners targeted
» 11.02.2011 - It's over - Mubarak has left

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Friday is "make or break" for Egypt revolution

Protests in Egypt, January 2011

© Muhammad Ghafari/Flickr/afrol News
afrol News, 27 January
- Egyptian democracy protesters prepare for the "March of the million" after the Friday prayers in the country. Reaching a critical mass, their revolution could succeed. If not, their end could near.

Egypt is not Tunisia, although millions of Egyptians have been inspired by the Tunisian revolution earlier this month. President Hosni Mubarak has much more experience in suppressing revolts and can still count on the support of the armed forces.

But three days of mounting protests - costing eight lives and seeing around 1,000 protesters imprisoned - have caught President Mubarak at a bad moment. His regime's popularity is at an all-time low as most Egyptians believe the 83-year-old is preparing his son Gamal to take over the Cairo presidency after the upcoming elections.

The challenge is the toughest yet for the Mubarak regime. For the first time, popular protesters have a real chance of ousting Egypt's undemocratic government.

The large difference from other protest movements is that the Tunisian example has given the many unsatisfied both courage and a model. And the protesters, to a large degree, are the same people that led the Tunisian revolution. It is the Egyptian youth - which represents the majority of the population - facing unemployment and few possibilities to advance their social position.

Three days of protests, spreading from Cairo to other cities, has shown that the masses can fight back the repressive forces. Today, protests were most heavy in Suez, where the police station and other public buildings were burnt down. The shooting of two protesters in Suez did not stop the actions.

Today was going to be a relatively quiet day, gearing up for the Friday protest. B

Egypt protests continue at night

© Muhammad Ghafari/Flickr/afrol News
ut more and more protesters wanted to keep up the pressure. Many groups even organised protest shifts to make sure there was a 24-hour presence in the streets of Cairo.

The culmination of the mass movement is however expected for tomorrow, after the Friday prayers, at a time when most Egyptians are in the streets in any way. Then, the masses could become too large for the police to intervene, the protesters hope.

But the poorly organised protesters face great challenges to see through their plan.

First of all, their access to communication is widely limited. Egypt's state-controlled media are not even reporting about the protests. The most popular communication channels - Facebook and Twitter - are not accessible to all, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, and are mostly known to the younger generation. Further, government has been able to cut access to these two social media for several locations in the country.

Another challenge is the large division in the aims of the protesters, which frightens many of those still not decided. Most protesters are youths calling for lower food prices, better education and work possibilities and for Mr Mubarak to step down. Others want an Islamist revolution and still others want a Western-style democracy.

The undecided, in many cases, first want to see who will get the upper hand of the protest's leadership before they lend a helping hand in ousting Mr Mubarak. Many of the elder fear an anarchic situation if the rebelling youth get th

Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei

© Paulo Filgueiras/UN Photo/afrol News
e upper hand. The intellectuals fear Iranian conditions if the Islamists get an upper hand. Others fear no change will come if the Westernised intellectuals get the upper hand.

Many - especially in Europe and the US - hope returning opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei could take a leading role in the protests tomorrow. He could unite the protesting youths calling for change and the intellectuals, although the Islamists - Egypt's largest opposition movement - have little trust in him.

The Muslim Brotherhood so far has kept a relatively low profile in the protests until today. Their support would be key to reach out to Egypt's rural population and having appeals read out during the Friday prayers.

Today, after Mr El Baradei announced his participation in tomorrow's protests, Brotherhood spokesman Mohamed Morsi announced the Islamist movement would also through in its support. Mr Morsi urged the Brotherhood's sympathisers to take to the streets after the Friday prayers.

Nobody, neither those supporting the protests nor the Mubarak regime, feels sure about the outcome of Friday's protests. Will the crowds be big enough for the police and army to through in the towel? Will the crows be smaller than anticipated, encouraging security forces to spread the masses violently?

But Egyptians seem to agree that tomorrow is a "make or break" for the protest movement. If it is a failure, the protests will probably die out again. If it is a success, the days of the Mubarak regime are counted.

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