Demonstrations continued, forcing Ben Ali to flee the country. The apparent success of the popular uprising in Tunisia, by then dubbed the Jasmine Revolution , inspired similar movements in other countries, including Egypt, Yemen, and Libya. See also Libya Revolt of In this special feature, Britannica provides background and context for the events unfolding in Egypt—shedding light on the political, economic, and social tensions that simmered for decades and erupted early in Egypt Uprising of Article Media.
Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Read More on This Topic. Days after a popular uprising in Tunisia, known as the Jasmine Revolution, forced Pres. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from power, protests against…. Facts Matter. Start Your Free Trial Today. Egypt: Political process. Following the coup, Egypt is governed by the Revolutionary Command Council, a newly formed executive body led by a figurehead president, Gen.
In response, Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal , previously controlled by British and French interests. Britain, France , and Israel launch an invasion to reestablish control over the canal zone but are forced by the United States and the Soviet Union to withdraw. Following nationalization of the Suez Canal , a number of foreign-owned companies in Egypt are nationalized.
The ensuing boom in university enrollment means that most graduates are placed in low-paying bureaucratic positions with little chance of advancement, a long-standing source of economic frustration in Egypt. Israel quickly wins a decisive victory in the subsequent ground fighting, gaining control of the Sinai Peninsula along with the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
America in the Egyptian revolution
The Egyptian attack is coordinated with a Syrian attack on the Golan Heights. The initial Egyptian offensive is a surprising success, but Israel stages a counterattack, and regains the upper hand. Fighting ends with a cease-fire brokered by the United States and the Soviet Union. Following the agreement, Israel withdraws from the Sinai Peninsula , and Egypt receives increased amounts of economic and military aid from the United States.
An Islamic insurgency in Egypt continues through much of the s. However, the most popular opposition group in Egypt, the banned Muslim Brotherhood , is barred from entering a candidate. The runner-up, Ayman Nour, is imprisoned on charges of fraud. Opposition parties called for the results of the election to be annulled, claiming widespread vote rigging. January 17, An Egyptian man sets fire to himself outside the parliament building in Cairo to protest government repression. January 25, Thousands gather in Cairo and several other Egyptian cities to demonstrate against poverty and political repression.
January 28, Antigovernment protests in Egypt intensify when demonstrators clash with police following Friday prayers. Internet and telephone service are disrupted in Egypt in an effort to limit the extent of demonstrations. The national headquarters of the NDP is burned in Cairo. Thousands of protesters remain camped out in Tahrir Square, at the centre of downtown Cairo, clashing sporadically with police.
February 6, The Egyptian government holds talks with members of the opposition. The banned Muslim Brotherhood participates. February 12, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issues a statement saying that the military will hand power to an elected civilian government. A spokesman also states that Egypt will continue to abide by international treaties, implying that the peace treaty with Israel will not be challenged.
A statement by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces says a commission will be set up to draft a new constitution, to be approved by a referendum, and that the military will remain in power for six months or until new elections can be held. February 22, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces swears in an interim cabinet that includes members of the opposition. March 7, A new interim cabinet, led by Sharaf, is sworn in.
March 19, Egyptians approve a referendum drafted by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces proposing constitutional changes to make elections more open, impose term limits for the president, and restrict the use of emergency laws. Although the main youth protest movements oppose the referendum, calling instead for a new constitution to be drafted before elections are held, it is approved with 77 percent of the vote. March 30, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issues a constitutional declaration intended to serve as an interim constitution in place of the one suspended on February The document outlines the transition to an elected government and the procedure for drafting a new constitution.
It incorporates selections from the prior constitution as well as the amendments that were approved by referendum on March April 9, The Egyptian army uses force to clear protesters from Tahrir Square, killing two and injuring dozens. Alaa and Gamal are transported from Sharm al-Shaykh to prison in Cairo.
April 19, An Egyptian fact-finding commission charged with investigating clashes between protesters and police during the uprising announces its estimate that people were killed and 6, were injured between January 25 and February They also face charges related to corruption and abuse of power.
They will be tried for corruption and for ordering violence against protesters. They sold significant portions of the public sector for their personal benefit and decreased public investment in agriculture, land reclamation, housing, education and health. In turn, they promoted private investment in rarely successful export-oriented agriculture, the construction of gated communities for the elite, and the establishment of for-profit private universities and hospitals. The fall elections consolidated this nexus of government, party, parliament and crony capitalism.
All the cabinet ministers who ran for parliament were elected, using their official positions to pay for campaign literature, promise services, coerce employees to vote and bribe others to support them. Top businessmen with close ties to the Mubaraks and to cabinet ministers became MPs, enabling them to raid the government coffers from within, not just from outside. Corruption assumed multiple forms.
The bases of President Mubarak's wealth are still being investigated, and the prosecutor is sorting through the myriad charitable accounts that Suzanne Mubarak controlled.
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It is known that the Mubaraks' sons took commissions on business deals, 16 held free or discounted shares in businesses, used their roles in investment agencies to leverage business for themselves and their business partners, and received land and villas gratis or for minimal payment. Gamal Mubarak's MED Invest Partners received substantial fees for advising western investors on the purchase of stocks and entire companies in Egypt.
In addition, the Mubarak brothers obtained free or reduced-rate shares, amounting to as much as 50 percent of the capital, in the largest trade and industrial companies operating in Egypt. As noted, Alaa and Gamal received land by "direct order" from housing ministers Suleiman and al-Maghrabi and benefited from tourism projects licensed by tourism minister Garana. Some of the most complex networks of corruption involved land deals by the ministers of housing Ahmed al-Maghrabi , tourism Zuhair Garana and transportation Mohamed Mansour.
Al-Maghrabi not only favored the Mubaraks in his land deals, but also gave state land and flats intended for low-income tenants to public figures and employees. Ahmed Ezz's rise to power offers an even more extraordinary example. After opening a small steel factory in Sadat City in , he bought several public-sector steel companies and quickly emerged as the billionaire owner of 60 percent of Egypt's steel and iron production. His special relationship with Gamal Mubarak enabled him to get unsecured bank loans and pay back old loans by taking out new ones. Businessmen and ministers did favors for him — as he did for them.
The U. Ezz's political star rose simultaneously with his economic power, reflecting his close ties to the president's son. He became secretary of organizational affairs of the NDP and a member of parliament in , joined Gamal's new policy committee of the NDP in and was reelected to the People's Assembly in In his post as chair of the assembly's planning and budget committee and a member of the committee for legislation, he made sure that the Law on Protection of Competition and Prohibition of Monopolistic Practices would be too weak to affect his interests.
Finally, he orchestrated the NDP monopoly of the elections in November His economic clout enabled him to ignore the label "the consumer's number 1 enemy," 23 and he thought he had the political clout to similarly ignore popular anger at his political machinations. Meanwhile, the divide between rich and poor became acute.
SPOTLIGHT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 12222 IS AVAILABLE IN:
The rich constructed gated communities while urban infrastructure decayed and "informal" housing burgeoned. Nearly half the residents of Cairo lived in unplanned areas that lacked basic utilities, sometimes living in wooden shacks. Deteriorating public health and education systems 25 and escalating food prices meant that the vast majority of the population could not access the glittering high-tech industries and costly private hospitals and schools.
Indeed, 92 percent of all students were crowded into poorly serviced public schools. The government lacked a serious economic-growth strategy, implementing policies that benefited large corporations but undermined small and medium enterprises SMEs. Unemployment soared among young people, who became seriously disaffected. During , members of the People's Assembly's agricultural committee expressed anger that he "ignores farmers' rightful demands.
It should also be noted that, throughout this era, government agencies assiduously collected data and compiled reports on illegal activities in the public sector. These reports covered the budgets of ministries and state agencies and their associated companies and banks. They detailed instances of squandering funds, selling or purchasing by direct order rather than tender, and failing to follow legal processes, among other infractions.
The head of an investigative unit within the Ministry of Interior even fled to Zurich in , where he proclaimed, "The Mubarak era will be known … as the era of thieves. His official business is the looting of public money, and we find that the super-corrupt, ultra-delinquents have attained state posts. Laws against money laundering and bribery were supplemented by the anti-monopoly law that Ezz had watered down, but they were rarely enforced. Well before the revolution, the press was flooded with reports on corrupt ministers and politicians, to the extent that non-NDP MPs formed a "front against corruption," forcing the assembly to debate tougher anti-corruption laws.
Given the overwhelming power of the state, the severe restrictions imposed by the State of Emergency on public gatherings, and the unchecked violence by police and security forces, people were fearful of protesting in the streets. Nonetheless, there were many efforts to expose the conditions. Novels and films highlighted corruption, police brutality, urban poverty and sexual harassment.
Human-rights groups reported on poverty in the countryside and cities, deteriorating environmental conditions, harassment of women and activists, restrictions on the press, police coercion, and thuggery during elections. Political-action groups emerged that protested both internal and foreign policy issues. The Palestinian intifada and Israeli reinvasion of the West Bank during had heightened political awareness. Street protests increasingly merged labor-oriented concerns with the need for political rights, as in the demands of "Doctors without Rights" and "Youth for Change.
The March 9 Movement, formed in to call for university and academic independence, took its name from the date in when the first president of Fuad I University now Cairo University resigned to protest the firing of the noted intellectual Taha Hussein as dean of arts.
The March 9 Movement held annual demonstrations and publicized infringements on the freedom of faculty and students in the classroom, but less than professors joined, fearing that they would be disciplined or dismissed. Kefaya was founded in by intellectuals and community activists concerned about the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
They spoke out on the intertwined issues of corruption, the state of emergency, Mubarak's running for a fifth term in September and dynastic succession. This was followed by symbolic protests at the Cairo International Book Fair, various universities and Tahrir Square, and simultaneous demonstrations in 14 cities in April Kefaya brought together people from across the political spectrum with a simple message, "enough," and was the first movement to call directly for regime change. But few people joined the demonstrations, and the movement suffered internal tensions that weakened its effectiveness.
Meanwhile, struggles rooted in labor grievances broke out in fall , as the new government renewed the drive to sell public-sector factories to Egyptian and foreign businessmen. Public-sector workers were deeply concerned at the loss of benefits, forced retirement with inadequate or unpaid compensation packages, and the shrinkage of job opportunities in both the public and private sectors. Workers had the coherence and strength to speak out, unlike farmers, who could not resist orders to hand over their land holdings. The first strike was emblematic of subsequent protests: a ten-day struggle in October by hundreds of workers at Qalyub Spinning Company, one of six mills operated by the ESCO conglomerate in northern Cairo.
Workers objected on the grounds that they had not been consulted, even though they owned a 10 percent share in the company. They also feared that they would be fired and denied retirement benefits or paid lower wages and benefits. The government then promised an early-retirement package, on which it failed to deliver. The strike resumed in February but was quickly repressed. In December , when workers in the giant textile factories in Al-Mahalla al-Kubra protested the government's failure to pay end-of-year bonuses and called for the dismantling of the ETUF, the government hastily reinstated the bonus.
These protests escalated as privatization accelerated and food prices skyrocketed. Moreover, the newly formed and mostly online April 6 Youth Movement tried but failed to transform the Misr strike into a nationwide one-day general strike, linking economic issues to the call for democracy. Wild-cat strikes were rife in the non-unionized private sector.
By , workers were angry that challenges to the results of the ETUF elections, although sustained in court, were not implemented. They began to form independent trade unions that represented municipal real-estate tax collectors, teachers, health technicians and pensioners. A delegation tried to present a copy of the court ruling to the Council of Ministers.
After the cabinet refused to meet them, hundreds demonstrated on May 2. Despite the massive security deployment, workers held their ground, chanting "A fair minimum wage or let this government go home," and "Down with Mubarak and all those who raise prices. The widespread nature of worker protests was symbolized by simultaneous sit-ins in front of the People's Assembly. Despite a severe heat wave in May, 33 Amonsito workers called for back pay, and workers from Nubariyya Company for Agricultural Mechanism protested the closure of that company, as did workers from the Telephone Equipment Company, which was closed after being sold to a foreign firm.
Forty-five assistant representatives from the State Litigation Authority called for the implementation of a court order to reinstate them in their jobs. And 35 farmers from Omreyyah village in Beheira governorate protested that the local government had just forced three families to surrender ownership of their land. By then, nearly two million workers had participated in organized protests at 3, factories or in front of the People's Assembly since Meanwhile, noted intellectuals sought ways to resolve the country's crisis. A senior political analyst at al-Ahram newspaper, Salaheddin Hafez, proposed in that 50 public figures convene to find a way to bring about change, and respected analyst Mohamed Hassanein Heikal proposed in late the formation of a member "Board of Trustees of the State and the Constitution.
ElBaradei stepped up to the challenge and returned to Cairo in February , declaring that he would only run for president if the constitution were altered and the state of emergency ended. Many members of protest movements rallied around him. By fall , protesters chanted ever louder: "Down with Mubarak. Meanwhile, movements like April 6, Kefaya, and the Know Your Rights Campaign galvanized around another potent issue, police torture.
Egypt’s Shifting Foreign Policy Priorities – The Cairo Review of Global Affairs
That campaign mobilized people who had been silent, on the sidelines. Those protests spread widely after Khaled Said died. As many observers have pointed out, the cyber-world that emerged over the past decade transformed the mode and content of communication and thereby heightened awareness of state repression and corruption. The growing concern about and direct experience of police brutality on the part of young people from all walks of life and their willingness to risk speaking out were crucial in preparing the ground for the January 25 Revolution.
They received the usual response: beaten, dragged along the street, attacked by police dogs, and arrested. Protests continued throughout the summer: funeral prayers at Sidi Gaber mosque, attended by mourners who spilled out into the street afterwards; a vigil outside the Ministry of Interior headquarters in Cairo; a silent protest along waterfronts and bridges throughout Egypt; and numerous violently suppressed protests in downtown areas not only involving well-known politicians and protest groups but also people who felt that Khaled Said could have been themselves, their son, or their grandson.
A teenager reflected this perspective, saying: "This is an extraordinary case. This guy was tortured and killed on the street. I did not know him but I cannot shut up forever. For the sake of Egypt! On the fortieth day commemorating his death, people shouted outside the High Court: "Our voices will not be silenced… We've waited for 25 years, but our condition has not improved.
Tomorrow the revolution will come. They circulated reports about police brutality, many of which had been posted in the past but had not received such intense scrutiny. These included the video of police sodomizing a year-old minivan driver in January Filmed by police officers in Boulaq al-Dakrour station, the police mailed it to the cell phones of other van drivers to intimidate them. By the end of , people were pushed to the brink by the sharply rising prices of basic foods, escalating unemployment, crackdowns on the media and universities, outrageous rigging of the parliamentary elections, an ever-lengthening list of corrupt actions by the elite, and fear that year-old Mubarak might run for election again in September or, even worse, hand power over to his hated son.
Nonetheless, the protesters themselves agree that it took the swift removal of Ben Ali to make them think that, if sudden change was possible in Tunisia, it might be possible in Egypt. Even when people broke the barrier of fear on January 25, played cat-and-mouse with security forces on downtown streets on January 26 and 27, and withstood the onslaught all day and night on January 28, they faced a formidable regime, supported by the security forces and the entrenched NDP.
The revolution would have been much bloodier if the armed forces had stood by the president. President Mubarak and Interior Minister Habib al-Adly hastened their own demise by unleashing extreme violence on January 28, followed by Adly's abrupt withdrawal of all police forces that night. Enraged, the public created neighborhood watches to ensure the safety of their communities. Mubarak miscalculated by ordering the armed forces into the streets, even though their loyalty was to the nation — not to the person. He further miscalculated that he could offer minor concessions — such as appointing a vice president, changing the prime minister, and saying that he would not seek another term — on January 28 and again on February 1 and yet follow those placating words by unleashing fierce attacks on February 2.
Over the next week, protesters held their ground, thousands of people flooded to city squares to call for dignity and freedom, labor strikes spread, employees in public institutions joined the movement, and lawyers, doctors, and professors marched in their professional garb. When Mubarak resisted leaving, the generals compelled the newly-appointed vice president to inform the president that, if he didn't step down, he would face charges of high treason.
Suddenly on Friday, February 11 — as millions of people surged angrily through the streets — Mubarak vanished. Anger transformed into tears of joy and celebration. And the next morning, young people cleaned up the public spaces, symbolically starting the huge task of cleansing Egypt of the corrupt regime and rebuilding the country.
How they would rebuild Egypt remained uncertain, but their mobilization instilled a new and powerful pride, coupled with determination to take control over their future and not be cowed again by any authoritarian ruler. Gabriel A. Ali Khaled, and two eyewitnesses, Khaled had posted a police video showing police officers and drug dealers dividing up the drugs at the Sidi Gaber police station, having retrieved the video when one of the officers had Blue Tooth open on his mobile.
The police sent undercover SSI agents to the neighborhood to find out who was circulating the video. The SSI agents took his body to the Sidi Gaber police station in a police van but returned after 10 minutes, left him on the ground, and called an ambulance.