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Egypt: European “No” To Regime; Protest Builds Up …

  • February 1st, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

egypt-giza-sphinx1.jpgThe European Union Foreign Ministers  have declared that the Egyptian government should go, to let the country choose a government in free and fair elections.

It comes as thousands gather in Cairo for a massive demonstration – billed as “one-milion strong”.  

EUROPE’S “NO” TO MUBARAK GOVERNMENT

foreign-mins-eu-31111.gifA statement from the meeting of the 27 national Ministers,(picture, meeting 31.1.11) gathered as the Council of the EU, deplored the violence in the recent disturbances in Egypt, and called on the authorities to send the blacking out of communication services such as mobile telephones and the Internet.

Extract from statement:

“The Council discussed Egypt and adopted conclusions recognising the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people and urging the Egyptian authorities to embark on an orderly transition to a process of genuine democratic reforms that will pave the way for free and fair elections.

“The Council deeply regrets the considerable loss of life during demonstrations in Egypt over the last few days.

“It also noted with deep concern the high number of people injured and arrested as well as the use of violence.

“The Council calls on all parties to show restaurant …

“It urges the Egyptian authorities to immediately release all peaceful demonstrators who have been detained … (and) restore all communication networks …”

MOVEMENT POLITICS

In scenes reminiscent of revolutions in our time (Iran 1979, Eastern Europe 1989), hundreds of thousands have braved the security forces of a government under siege, to demand its capitulation.

Where civil society has been hamstrung by state prohibitions on assembly and free speech, the movement has little organisation, much of the time relying on media coverage to get over basic messages, like where and when demonstrations, or a strike will be.

Mass media also is bearing witness to the outside world, and in the coverage of scenes in the street, broadcasting the few key messages, mainly, this time: “Government out, free elections next”.

(Journalists, then, come in line for the violent attacks – see below).

Lacking the strengths of party branches, secretariats, budgets and also freedom to organise, the  movement is not up to prescribing exact remedies for the overbearing problems of the country, with a flagging economy and huge unemployment.

Time later for all that, when the marchers might break up into their different parties.

Right now they are concentrating on a single front, and they may have received a major reprieve, and breakthrough, with Army leaders saying the marchers will not be attacked.

MEDIA IN THE MAELSTROM

media-eu.jpgThe Brussels – based International Federation of Journalists has been detailing attacks on media in the crisis.

It’s statement:

“IFJ Condemns ‘Desperate Tactics’ as Egypt Targets Media.

“The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Egypt to end the crackdown on journalism and media which has led to numerous beatings of media staff and censorship of television and communications networks.

“As the political crisis has intensified with renewed protests in the streets the regime of President Hosni Mubarak has become ever-more desperate to stop media coverage of the uprising.

“Media reports say that the Government last week blocked websites and the Qatari- based international broadcaster, Al-Jazeera has been taken off the air.

“Its office in Cairo has been shut down and staff were arrested, their film confiscated.

“The studios of the French public broadcaster, France 2 have also been shut.

“This targeting of media is desperation on the part of a regime that is in the brink of collapse.

“It makes a mockery of the Government’s talk of dialogue to restore calm.

“According to a statement from Al-Jazeera, five Cairo-based staff were arrested following the Government’s decision over the weekend to withdraw the broadcaster’s licence and its journalists’ accreditation in the country. They were released today…”

Reference

Council of the European Union, 5888/11, Provisional version, Presse 16, PRC04. “Main Results of the Council, (press release), 3065th Council Meeting – Foreign Affairs, Brussels, 31.1.11.

IFJ, Brussels, “IFJ Condemns ‘Desperate Tactics’ as Egypt Targets Media”, (media release), 31.1.11.

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