The AP is reporting that over a thousand people gathered in front a Cairo courthouse yesterday, demonstrating against another term for President Hosni Mubarak, and any hereditary succession for his son, Gamal. A whole range of opposition and activist groups have rallied around the cause of amending Egypt’s constitution to limit presidential terms to two — Mubarak, should he run again, would start his fifth six-year term — but this protest, at least according to some of the press accounts, seems to have been more personal. And as such, it crosses one of the Egyptian goverment’s “red lines”: you don’t criticize the President or his family. (This, obviously, is a red line in plenty of places other than Egypt). The AP story includes this great detail:
Yesterday the protesters dispersed peacefully within an hour, singing a revision of the Egyptian national anthem: ”My country, you still have oppression in politics and economics. You need revolution, my country.”
The original lyrics are: ”My country, you have my love and my heart.”
For more on this and the Egyptian scene, check out Issandr El-Amrani’s valuable Arabist Network — he was at the protest, and took pictures. He reports that the demonstration was mostly silent, and that many of the activists had stickers over their mouths that said “kefaya,” which means “enough” in Arabic.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 13, 2004