Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The dictator's thugs

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: 'Today President Mubarak seems to have decided to crack down on the democracy movement, using not police or army troops but rather mobs of hoodlums and thugs. I’ve been spending hours on Tahrir today, and it is absurd to think of this as simply “clashes” between two rival groups. The pro-democracy protesters are unarmed and have been peaceful at every step. But the pro-Mubarak thugs are arriving in buses and are armed — and they’re using their weapons.

In my area of Tahrir, the thugs were armed with machetes, straight razors, clubs and stones. And they all had the same chants, the same slogans and the same hostility to journalists. They clearly had been organized and briefed. So the idea that this is some spontaneous outpouring of pro-Mubarak supporters, both in Cairo and in Alexandria, who happen to end up clashing with other side — that is preposterous. It’s difficult to know what is happening, and I’m only one observer, but to me these seem to be organized thugs sent in to crack heads, chase out journalists, intimidate the pro-democracy forces and perhaps create a pretext for an even harsher crackdown.

I have no idea whether this tactic will work. But the idea that President Mubarak should make the case that he is necessary for Egypt’s stability by unleashing violence and chaos on his nation’s youth — it’s a sad and shameful end to his career. And I hope that the international community will firmly denounce this kind of brutality apparently organized by the government.'


K said...

Well this member of the international community firmly denounces this kind of brutality!

Let the people peacefully assemble!

Ayrab Jayrab said...

Maury, are you happy now? looks like your dictator might have a chance after all.

K said...

Mojo, a bit of good news. I have received word from a colleague in Cairo over the Internet so it seems it is back on in parts of the country at least.

Don Cox said...

One rumor I saw was that these thugs were organised by businessmen who benefit from Mubarak's patronage. But some at least seem to be police in plain clothes - as in Saddam's Iraq, the police are the enemy of the people.

If the pro-democracy side wins, I expect a vicious insurgency like the one in Iraq, led by a mixture of secret police and Al Qaeda.

Dolly said...

Iraq is not a democracy.

Maury said...

"Maury, are you happy now? looks like your dictator might have a chance after all."

No, this doesn't make me happy. I knew this wouldn't go like Tunisia. The Egyptian police and army are better trained, and better paid. I'd like to see free and fair elections in September. Why can't the opposition be happy with that? A crumbling government would leave chaos in its wake. Any outcome would be possible.....good or bad.