Report

Eighteen People Killed in Egypt on Anniversary of Uprising

Clashes between security forces and protesters killed an estimated 18 people across Egypt Sunday as demonstrators marked the fourth anniversary of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

EGYPT-UNREST-ANNIVERSARY
Supporters (background) of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi clash with anti-government protesters following demonstrations in Cairo on January 25, 2015, marking the fourth anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak. At least 10 protesters and a policeman were killed in clashes in the north Cairo neighbourhoods of Matareya and Ain Shams, and another in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)

Clashes between security forces and protesters killed an estimated 18 people across Egypt Sunday as demonstrators marked the fourth anniversary of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak. According to security officials, two or three of those killed were militants who were trying to plant bombs in the Nile Delta, and three police cadets were killed during protests in Cairo. The worst violence was in the Cairo suburb of Matariya, a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, where an estimated eight people were killed. People were additionally killed during protests in Giza and Alexandria. On Saturday, an activist from the Socialist Popular Alliance party, Shaimaa Sabbagh, was shot and killed during a march in Cairo, and police firing birdshot killed 17-year-old Sondos Reda Abu Bakr during a pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstration in Alexandria on Friday. On Monday, Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal were freed from Cairo’s Torah Prison. A court ordered their release last week, pending a retrial of an embezzlement case.

Syria

Syrian opposition groups have begun talks in Moscow, which will be joined on Wednesday by Syrian government representatives. Expectations for the talks are low, with the main opposition Syrian National Coalition boycotting, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad noted the talks are just preparations for a conference, and “not negotiations about the solution” to the conflict. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Kurdish forces have expelled Islamic State militants from Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) gaining almost complete control over the Syrian border town. Months of fighting in Kobani have forced nearly 200,000 people to flee to Turkey. On Sunday, Turkey opened its biggest refugee camp, in the southeastern town of Suruc, to host 35,000 people.

Headlines

  • Gunmen abducted Libya’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan al-Saghir, but released him on Monday, meanwhile the United Nations said it would resume talks between rival factions in Geneva this week.
  • Yemen’s parliament canceled a session Sunday on whether to approve President Hadi’s resignation as the U.N. envoy mediated talks between factions, meanwhile anti-Houthi protests erupted in Sanaa.
  • Japan is working to secure the release of Kenji Goto after a video appeared to show the beheading of another Japanese hostage held by Islamic State militants.
  • Parties in Tunisia’s parliament are threatening to reject selections for the country’s new cabinet under Prime Minister-designate Habib Essid.

Arguments and Analysis

Yemen in Crisis’ (Adam Baron, European Council on Foreign Relations)

“It’s hard to divine which way things in Yemen are heading – an uncertain situation has grown even more difficult to read. It appears that the Houthis—who have enthusiastically taken aim at the president and the cabinet over the past week’s crisis—are largely shocked that the president has called their bluff. In the formerly independent South, longstanding calls for secession have grown even louder. Across the country, frustration seems mounting – both at the country’s power brokers and at the international actors that, until recently, had hailed the country’s political process as a model transition to democracy.

The next few days will unquestionably be crucial.  At writing time, Houthi fighters reportedly have the homes of many members of the now-resigned cabinet under siege. All eyes are set on Sunday’s meeting of the two houses of the Yemeni parliament, which could very well reject the president’s resignation, sending the country into further uncertainty. Indeed, little remains clear at the moment, except for the fact that the country is likely facing its most crucial juncture since the overthrow of the Mutawakkilite Monarchy on 26 September, 1962.”

Revolution and despair’ (Asef Bayat, Mada Masr)

“Certainly the counter-revolution remains adamant to regain the state apparatus, monopolize the media, restrain civil society, and re-establish repressive rule, perhaps more stubborn than its pre-2011 version. And in this it is likely to rest on a survival ideology that blends national chauvinism with, on the one hand, neoliberal globalism, and on the other, a conservative religiosity and moral politics of the Salafi sort that it supposedly disdains. But this new regime has to govern a citizenry that has been significantly transformed. Large segments of the urban and rural poor, industrial labor, an impoverished middle classes, marginalized youth and women, have experienced, however briefly, rare moments of feeling free, engaged in unfettered spaces of self-realization, local self-rule, and collective effervescence. As a consequence, some of the most entrenched hierarchies were challenged. Women’s extraordinary public presence threatened patriarchal sensibilities, and their public harassment produced one of the most genuine movements in the nation’s recent history. Revolutionary youths charged their elders with apathy and complicity, at the same time that they gained the respect and recognition of the older generation for their own remarkable activism and sacrifice. Workers demanded accountability from their bosses, students from their mentors, and citizens from the moral and political authorities. There were times when communal solidarity resurrected ingeniously in the midst of well-organized sectarian bloodshed. These subaltern citizens all lived through revolutionary moments in which what was right seemed wrong, and what wrong seemed right.”

Mary Casey-Baker

MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images

 Twitter: @casey_mary

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