The Nile River may be the only peaceful thing flowing through Cairo, Egypt, these days as political unrest continues. The swell of discontent has been building "for several years as the economic situation has deteriorated ..." reports Marshall Jackson*, a Christian worker in North Africa. The death toll rose through the weekend as police clashed with protesters. President Hosni Mubarak fired his cabinet and named a vice president for the first time in his nearly 30-year rule, but has yet to step down.
CAIRO (BP)--At first, it looked like there would be no reaction. Abdou Abdel-Monaam Hamadah, an Egyptian restaurant owner, set himself on fire Jan. 17 to protest bread prices.
In neighboring Tunisia, a demonstration like that brought down the whole government, but Hamadah's statement met with relative silence.
Media analysts initially speculated that it couldn't ignite fires of protest in the rest of the Arab world, especially Egypt. Demonstrations sprang up in Jordan, Yemen and Mauritania as well, but Tunisia had social conditions unmatched in the others, some analysts said -- a unique perfect storm for revolution.
But it took only a week or so for smoldering embers to ignite. After Egyptian protesters gained momentum and organization, tens of thousands marched Jan. 28 in protest of President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
They spilled out of mosques and churches alike to rally around issues transcending religious barriers -- jobs and food.
The swell of discontent has been building "for several years as the economic situation has deteriorated, and there's been more of a grass-roots feeling, a sense that they're being left behind economically in the world and in the region," said Marshall Jackson*, a Christian worker in North Africa. "[There is] a desire for greater freedoms that haven't been afforded to them."
The death toll rose through the weekend. Police clashed with protesters, then withdrew, replaced by the army, which protected major landmarks but left neighborhoods open to looting. Tanks rolled through plazas; planes buzzed the crowds. Mubarak fired his cabinet and named a vice president for the first time in his nearly 30-year rule, but has yet to step down.
And the crowds say they won't quit until he does.
Protesters, led mostly by young Egyptians as political factions rushed to catch up with events, called for a general strike ... Read More