Deaths of Protesters Lead Egyptian Politicians to Suspend Presidential Campaign

Thugs, very possibly backed by the continued military dictatorship in Egypt, attacked protesters at dawn on Wednesday in front of the Ministry of Defense in al-Abbasiya, Cairo, leaving some 20 dead. The protesters suspect that they were actually plainsclothes police.

The 500 or so protesters had been gathered to object to the disqualification of their favored candidate, Salah Abu Ismail, a Muslim fundamentalist favored by many of the Salafis. Some of the protesters were leftist youth activists, from “April 6″ and other such organizations, who want an end to military rule and a handover of power to the parliament. Their assailants have not been identified.

Aljazira English has video:

As a result of the deaths, both fundamentalist and liberal parties cancelled a planned meeting with the officers, who still form a collective interim presidency in Egypt.

Likewise, several of the presidential candidates suspended their campaigns. Muhammad Mursi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, however, said that it would be unacceptable for the military to postpone the May 23 presidential election or to delay returning to the barracks once Egypt has a civilian president.

The reformist Muslim, Abd al-Moneim Aboul Futouh, called on parliament to demand from the interim minister of defense that he intervene to protect people who were merely exercising their right to public protest.

The secular, liberal candidate, Amr Moussa, warned the public against getting too caught up in a single such incident, and urged that the country move forward with its political process. He demanded that the military issue an unambiguous promise to step down once a president is elected.

There have been several such unfortunate instances of bloodshed by unidentified thugs, suspected of ties to the officers or to remnants of the old Mubarak regime, over the past year. None has derailed the political process, however, since the revolutionaries and the general public want elected leaders to take charge. Egypt’s presidential elections will almost certainly get back under way after a decent interval.

In the meantime, big demonstrations at Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt were planned for Thursday and Friday to demand punishment of the killers and to demand a quicker move to democracy.

One response

  1. Maybe there’s a “use by” date on “democracy.” By the way the mold is growing on it and the way it smells, that date on the one we delude ourselves we have in America seems to be way past and gone. Look what Egyptians and Syrians and others are willing to lay out there and to suffer and resist on the way, hopefully, to invoking some better form of governance. And look at the analogue here, the “Tea Party” showing up with hip-mounted pistoleros and hip-carried assault rifles at all kinds of political events.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in Tampa, in the “Event Zone” (formerly called the “Cleared Zone”) around our convention center when the Reds tee up their Gong Show in a few days. Especially since our Governator, Rick “I was never indicted even though I stole $4 billion from Medicare and Medicaid” Scott, a real piece of work, denied, by instant-return letter, a request from the mayor to “override” the state law that apotheosizes rugged individualism by “overriding” any local ordinances that restrict “concealed carry” of firearms. (For the fainting set, apparently the Secret Service can, under Federalism, still “override” the Florida concealed-carry law, so there’s not supposed to be loose cannons and stray bullets wandering about, inside the actual convention hall…)

    That “Event Zone” is where “protestors” will be carefully tended and herded by huge police and “security” forces into little parades and demonstration pits where they can’t be seen by the Delegates and the Candidates, so as not to offend the Repubs who are expected to spend tens of millions of dollars in local establishments like Mons Venus, where for $50 you can buy a hands-on, full-nude, lap dance from some of “Tampa’s most beautiful girls…”

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