Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt: Protest, Marches and Oil

The Egyptian military has vowed not to fire on protestors as the largest march in these seven days of protests takes shape. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people are in the streets and gathering near Liberation Square and calling for the ousting of President Mubarack as soon as, well, immediately. For the first time, the military has voiced its outright refusal to fire on protestors, regardless of their actions, as the government is beginning to show signs of collapse. More and more Egyptians are leaving their jobs and homes and flocking to the city centers of Cairo and Alexandria. Alexandria, in particular, is essentially run by protestors, who have constructed road blocks and armed check points to monitor traffic and to search for fleeing government officials, at times with the assistance with the local police and security forces. Cairo is under similar strain, with pockets and gangs of protestors roaming the streets on their way to the Liberation Square to add their voices to a revolution.

Crowds protest Mubarack and the Egyptian government…

In a testament to the foresight of these protests, a human wall has grown up around the city’s most important items and institutions, including the National Museum in Cairo, which houses much of the world’s artifacts from the days of ancient Egypt and Africa. For the most part, looting has not affected these national treasures.

Mubarack has not made any statements so far that differ in anyway from prior comments. He flatly refused to remove himself from power and replaced a handful of government officials in an attempt to appease the thousands of protestors outside his door. He has not replaced important figures such as foreign secretary or of the interior. The economy has suffered, and international firms with interests in the offshore oil operations run by Egypt have voiced concerns about their partnerships, while international embassies are assisting their citizens in leaving the turbulent country.  

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