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The bloody price of Mubarak 'stability'
February 9, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Editor's note: Khaled Fahmy is the chairman of the history department at the American University in Cairo.

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- The events of Wednesday offer a brutal example of President Hosni Mubarak's disastrous security-driven policy. For nine days, pro-democracy demonstrators had taken to the streets asking for nothing less than a complete change of the regime.

On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of people congregated on Tahrir Square at the center of the city asking Mubarak to leave and effectively saying that they had had enough of his bankrupt, soulless and dull leadership. Eventually, Mubarak appeared on TV on Tuesday night, offering not run for re-election in September.

But rather than allow this limited concession to have its course and for people to mull it over, he resorted to what he knows best: a heavy-handed, security-informed tactic. On Wednesday, I witnessed hundreds of men ranging in age from perhaps 20 to 40, being given directions as to where to meet and which routes to take to reach Tahrir Square.

This happened on Galaa Street to the north of the square. I also saw these men then being put on small trucks, which headed toward Tahrir Square. They were carrying placards and distributing leaflets that were obviously prepared. Their attitude was aggressive, and although some passers-by seemed to agree with the slogans being shouted, none joined these groups on their way to the square.

All in all, it was clear to me that these people had been organized -- most probably by the ruling National Democratic Party -- but not at all clear that they actually believed or understood the slogans that they were shouting. By midday, thousands of thugs had descended on the peacefully demonstrating pro-democracy crowd in Tahrir Square with whips, sticks and knives. A bloody confrontation ensued that reportedly resulted in five deaths and more than 800 wounded.

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Replies

  • muslimah
    February 9, 2011 at 8:35 AM

     Nothing like good ole U.S.A. sponsored dictatorship.

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