The Army joined with armed thugs yesterday to force protesters out of Cairo's Tahrir Square – one of many incidents lately that make Egyptians blame regime elements for trying to limit the scope of the revolution.
Egyptians are growing increasingly wary of what they see as a growing attempt by remnants of former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime to subvert their revolution by sowing chaos and violence in society.
They call it a counterrevolution, and they see it in attacks by thugs on peaceful protesters and in neighborhoods throughout Cairo and even in the sectarian strife that has recently flared up between Christians and Muslims. Egypt’s new Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, in an interview on Egyptian television Wednesday night, warned of a systematic campaign to undermine security in Egypt.
They blame it on members of the state security service, wealthy businessmen, and members of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party, who do not want to see the revolution that robbed them of power succeed. It evokes the violence that came after Tunisia's revolution, where young men were said to be paid to attack people and property.
But even as citizens accuse those connected with the former president of subverting the revolution, the very institution in charge of transitioning to a more democratic Egypt – the Army – has been acting quite unrevolutionary itself. Replicating Mubarak-era policies, the Army has severely beaten protesters on at least two occasions in the past week, and since Jan. 28 has been trying civilian protesters in military courts, denying them basic rights.
During February, thousands of civilian protesters were arrested, denied civilian lawyers or even the chance to telephone their families, given trials as short as five minutes, and sentenced to prison, says Adel Ramadan, a lawyer with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. The convictions, often coming only three days after arrest, range from six months to 15 years and cannot be appealed.
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