President Mubarak’s family has already fled the country.
As Raw Story notes:
Demonstrators calling for economic and political reforms broke through police barriers and began marching in Cairo’s streets.
Protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo and held large signs that read “Tunisia is the solution” amid massive police deployment, an AFP correspondent said.
Chanting “Down with Mubarak” — in reference to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power for three decades — they broke through several police cordons and began marching towards Tahrir Square, in scenes seldom witnessed in Egypt.
Others shouted “Tunisia is not better than Egypt” as the crowds began to swell.
A security official told AFP that at least 20,000 to 30,000 police had been mobilized in the center of the capital alone, and that the area housing the interior ministry had been sealed off.
The protest, called by the pro-democracy youth group the April 6 Movement, coincided with a national holiday to mark Police Day.
The Christian Science Monitor reports:
The fact that the protests took place across the nation, and were not led by a particular political movement or opposition party, set them apart from demonstrations in the last decade, he says.
“This time it is really a national movement,” he says. “It’s quite remarkable that the slogans raised by the demonstrators were not typical of any political party. They were general slogans about democracy, ending the state of emergency, and lowering prices. This is the beginning of a process.… The government will not respond favorably so I think the continuation of the protests is almost certain.”
While some Americans assume this is a “Arab affair”, the fact is that Egypt’s president Mubarak is a yes-man to the U.S., and the fall of the Tunisian and now Egyptian leaders are really the ouster of U.S. puppet regimes in the Middle East.
As Eric Margolis wrote last week:
Oops! Something has gone terribly wrong with Washington’s plans for regime change in the Mideast. Wasn’t there supposed to be a US and British engineered revolution against Iran’s mullahs, followed by installation of a cooperative pro-western government and a bonanza for western oil companies?
The revolution came, all right, but in the wrong place. The explosion of popular fury in Tunisia that ousted its dictator of 23-years is sending shock waves across the Arab world and has alarm bells ringing in Washington.
Pay no attention to President Barack Obama’s pious bromides welcoming the revolution in Tunisia. The US, France and their Arab satraps are deeply worried that Tunisia’s popular revolution could spark similar uprising against the dictatorships or monarchies in other members of America’s Mideast Raj, notably Egypt.
It has come to light that Tunisia’s ruling elite had dinners and wine flown in from Paris at government expense for lavish parties in their beachside villas. Shades of the Iranian revolution, when women of the ruling elite in Tehran used to send their dirty laundry to Paris for hand washing, or fly to Paris to have their hair done for a soiree.
***The US and France have always hailed Tunisia as a poster-boy for “moderation, stability, and democracy. ”
Translation: 1. moderation: following orders from Washington and making nice to Israel; 2. stability: crushing all opposition, particularly Islamist-oriented parties, muzzling the media, and paving the way for US business; 3. democracy: holding fake elections every few years. The US media soft-soaped Ben Ali and gushed over Tunisia’s “moderate” virtues. They did the same for Egypt’s Anwar Sadat.
America’s other “moderate” Arab clients, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman and some of the Gulf states, followed precisely the same model of ersatz elections, ferocious internal oppression, and absolute obedience to Washington.
Tunisia closely resembled other Arab non-oil states in having very high unemployment, social and intellectual stagnation, lack of free speech or expression, and no hope for the future unless one had links to the rapacious, self-serving, western-backed ruling oligarchy. On top of this, in most Arab states, over 60% of the population is under 25.
***Mainstream Islamist parties in the Mideast have nothing to do with al-Qaida (which barely exists any more) or anti-Western programs. Their primary concern is getting rid of the western-backed oligarchies that keep the Muslim world backwards and in thrall. Their platform is sharing resource wealth, social welfare, education, uprooting thieving oligarchies and fighting endemic corruption.
The big question now is will Tunisia’s dramatic events be a harbinger of other explosions across the volatile Arab world? All eyes are on Egypt, the home of a third of all Arabs. Egypt’s 83-year-old military ruler, Husni Mubarak, is a giant version of Tunisia’s Gen. Ben Ali.
Mubarak was engineered into power by the US after the killing of longtime CIA “asset” Anwar Sadat. Gen. Mubarak has ruled Egypt like a modern-day pharaoh ever since, crushing both violent extremist and legitimate political opposition. Mubarak’s rigged elections, winked at by Washington, are every bit as egregious as Tunisia’s.
So could the flames of Tunisia’s revolution spread to Egypt?
Today, we got the answer.
Hopefully, moderate Arab governments will replace the deposed regimes, and thus bring real stability to the region. Moderate regimes are those that are not fundamentalists of one type or another, not puppets of any superpower (the U.S. or China), and which focus on implementing sustainable economic and human rights policies which benefit the most of their people possible, instead of just the ruling elite.