A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, March 8, 2013

Things Getting Even Worse in Egypt on Eve of Port Said Trial

I know my report on Egypt yesterday was pessimistic. I'm afraid that, other than apparently good turnouts for the International Women's Day marches, there doesn't seem to be any better news today, and quite a bit of worse.

As the country braces for an uncertain Saturday, March 9 being the date of the expected court verdict in the Port Said football massacre, the already rebellious canal city could explode even further; the police there have withdrawn and the Army stepped in, but the Army says it is only there to guard security installations and not provide police functions.

Meanwhile the police strike continues to spread throughout the country, demanding the Interior Minister go, with at least 60 police stations shut down. In Port Said they're forming "local committees" to provide security, and in Asyut the radical Al-Gama‘a al-Islamiyya says it will form a "millitia" to replace the police.  Meanhile the Interior Minister, far from resigning, has responded by firing the Commander of the Central Security Forces.

All this is just today and most of the links are to Ahram Online, which is the state-owned media. For the really bad news you can go to the opposition press, but I think my point is  made.

Wait, did I say there was no good news? Well, at least they probably can't see the plague of locusts today, since Cairo and the coastal regions and Delta are engulfed in a massive sandstorm.

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