Anniversary of Egyptian protests passes silently

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Jan. 25 passed quietly in Egypt this past Monday, a first since the anti-government riots started in the country five years ago.

When the Arab Spring shook North African and Middle Eastern countries in 2011, waves of anti-government and pro-democracy protests against a variety of dictatorial regimes began, Egypt was one of the first to be affected.

In the years that followed, government instability was rampant in the country, and from that stemmed domestic instability in general.

After successfully deposing the despotic Hosni Mubarak and his regime, a temporary military rule was established until elections took place in 2012.

Yet the results of the elections only led to more protests. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist policitcal party, won a majority of the seats of the newly established parliament, and secured the presidency.

After Muhammed Morsi, the new president, tried to put forth a constitution which had Islamist leaning even more protests erupted.

The military, led by Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, once again deposed the president and installed Sisi himself.

Less than a year later, Sisi stepped down from his military positions and ran for president, winning in a landslide victory.

Throughout all this turmoil, protests have been rampant as one potential dictator after another takes control of the country. Sisi is still in power, having cracked down on both Islamist and liberal-democratic protestors.

This crackdown is, in part, why this past Monday, despite being the fifth anniversary of the protests, was so peaceful.

Sisi began cracking down on possible dissenters months before the Jan. 25 anniversary, investigate people and businesses with any ties to political protestors.

In many cases, this meant police detaining suspected opposition members and rifling through their possesions, or invading homes and business to search for evidence and plans.

Although many here in the United States would see such acts as unforgivably heinous, many Egyptians are just glad for a return to calm.

The past five years of conflict and turmoil has taken its toll on the Egyptian populace, eliminating the hope for a proper democracy and replacing it with a simple desire for stability.

This is the other reason why the recent anniversary was so calm: the Sisi regime has been highly effective at imposing order on the country.

Indeed, rather than protestors angry at government oppression filling the streets, a small crowd of 300 gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to celebrate the nation’s police.

According to Reuters, the crowd praised the police for their bravery in combatting the sometimes violent protestors, saying, “We are here to celebrate with our brothers, fathers and colleagues in the Egyptian police … who sacrificed their lives and blood for us.”

In light of the repression and the lack of will to try and change it, it seems as though Egypt is back where it started, lacking the freedoms that many feel they have a right to.

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