Just 11 months ago, the chant “the people and the army are one” helped win over a reluctant military establishment to the protest movement and facilitate the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
How times have changed:
Protests in Egypt are entering their fifth consecutive day. At least 18 people have been killed, and by all accounts — this video included — the military has been particularly fierce in its crackdown. Even Ban Ki Moon yesterday criticized the military’s “excessive” use of force against civilians.
The crux of the protests demands is that they want full civilian control of the government before the military is willing to give up their reigns. Scenes like this help make the protesters’ case that civilian rule can’t happen soon enough. The military undermines its own credibility when it responds to peaceful protest with such brutality. Former US State Department spokesperson @PJCrowley said it best on Twitter: “Given its violent crackdown, the
#Egyptian military’s loss of political stature will be a gain for civilian-led democratic institutions.”
UPDATE: This happened today:
Ringed by a protective chain of male protesters, women from different social classes and religious background gathered in Tahrir Square and marched through the streets of Cairo. Many carried the pictures of soldiers attacking women – particularly one of a veiled woman whose clothes were half pulled off, baring her down to her blue bra, by soldiers who beat her and stomped on her chest.
“They say they are here to protect us, but they are stripping us naked,” the marchers chanted.
“The girl dragged around is just like my daughter. They do that and then call us thugs,” said Um Hossam, a 54-year old woman in traditional black dress and a veil. “I am a free woman and attacking this woman or killing protesters is just like going after one of my own children.”