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Africa

2011-12-20

AFRICA/EGYPT - Demonstrators in Tahrir Square have lost popular support

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - "Fighting continues. This morning we heard at least 500 rounds of firearms and the people say that there are snipers on the roofs of Tahrir Square" this is what Fides was told by a local source (for security reasons does not want to be mentioned) from Cairo, which for days has been the scene of a tough confrontation between the demonstrators and the police and military.
"The battle has lost the initial spirit of the revolution, it has now become a confrontation with power. Popular support for young people has vanished. Gradually the country is returning to old ways in which force prevails over reason", said the source of Fides.
"The fact that some young people have appeared on television confessing to have been paid to burn the Institute of Egypt (where valuable documents were kept and were destroyed) recalls the methods used by Mubarak’s regime. The people are easy prey to similar rhetoric," notes our interlocutor.
The source of Fides adds that "the military intend to act as the guarantors of the government, a sort of 'big brother' to protect its younger brother, obtaining exclusive spaces of power and privilege, but do not want to rule the Country in person" .
"In turn, the Muslim Brotherhood (which are leading in the parliamentary elections) are facing a formidable challenge because the economy will decide the future success or failure of their political proposals. Economy, however, requires negotiations, one thinks only of tourism: if one wants to attract Western tourists it is important not to be too rigid on social customs. Then there is the risk that such an important Country for the Arab world, like Egypt, enters the orbit of the Persian Gulf Countries".
"Even the Muslim Brotherhood - continues our source - are challenged by the Salafis, that are financed by Saudi Arabia, but are barred to the same Gulf countries. On the Salafists in Egypt, there are several suspects. First of all the votes they gained are very suspicious. Some say that the members of Mubarak’s old party have a strong interest in exaggerating the threat perception of the extremists and then reappear as the sole bulwark against them. Remember that when churches were blown up in the air that favored Mubarak, around which the Country was gripped to avoid falling into chaos. The bigger the threat the more people want a strong government that represses also with brutal methods but guarantees order", says our source.
"In conclusion, the youth in Tahrir Square represent that part of Egypt which is closer to Western values and culture. They enjoyed a moment of popular support which now, however, they seem to have lost", said the source of Fides. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 20/12/2011)

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