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A dam breaking in Egypt

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Today Egypt experienced the largest outpouring of public fury at the government since January 1977, when cuts in government food subsidies saw hundreds of thousands of Egyptians pour into the streets in an uprising that shook the government of then President Anwar Sadat.

That ended three days later with dozens dead but the Egyptian poor who spearheaded the action triumphant: Sadat restored the subsidies.

The protests in Egypt today, with tens of thousands on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, industrial Nile Delta towns like Mahalla El-Kubra and Tanta, and the port city of Suez, were thankfully nowhere near as violent (though late in the evening in Cairo on Tuesday there were reports of security forces taking a tougher line with protesters camped out in Tahrir Square). And the chances of today's protesters having their demands met in anything like the time-frame of 1977 are slim and none.


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