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Egyptians Again Rally for Change

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Egyptians Again Rally for Change - by Stephen Lendman

Before and after Mubarak was ousted, Egypt's military arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and disappeared thousands, a practice continuing to ruthlessly stay in power and prevent change.

Moreover, thousands arrested are being tried in military courts, denying them due process or judicial fairness. Allowed only court-appointed counsel, attorneys get minutes with clients to review charges before presenting their case in proceedings.

In addition, multiple defendants are tried simultaneously. Ten thousand or more were sentenced in recent months, some to death, and lawyers can't appeal. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) attorney Adel Ramadan said nothing under Mubarak was like this. The ruling junta is much more extreme, cracking down ruthlessly against challenges to its authority.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) issued a July 4 press release, stating "its utter and complete rejection of trying civilians before military courts, especially those arrested for using their legitimate right to expression."

Many activists were tried and convicted, including Michael Nabil, sentenced to three years in military prison for posting, "Army and people, never hand in hand." Another activist, Amr elBeheiry, got five years for demonstrating in Tahrir Square. 

ANHRI said military proceedings "lack the bare minimum of fair trial standards....It is not an overstatement to say that (Egypt's) judiciary (isn't) the only sector that has not witnessed any changes after the revolution."

On June 29, Amnesty International (AI) Cairo representatives witnessed security forces attacking demonstrators, "firing tear gas randomly, beating protesters with sticks and firing shotguns." As a result, many hundreds were hurt, AI saying:

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"This heavy-handed response is reminiscent of the violence in January and is a chilling reminder of" what protesters face. Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's former defense minister, now heads the military junta's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, ruling as a de facto head of state/dictator.

Mubarak may be gone, but nothing changed. In fact, things now are worse, including extreme brutality and severe repression, exceeding what went on earlier. As a result, angry Egyptians are reacting. 

On July 1, tens of thousands rallied in Cairo, responding to earlier in the week crackdowns against protesters. Security forces attacked them with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire. According to eye-witnesses, hundreds were injured and several or more died.

Called the "Friday of Retribution," crowds also turned out in Alexandria, Suez, and elsewhere, protesting for rights demanded but not achieved. Many want a second revolution that works this time. Months after Mubarak's ouster, nothing changed.

Strikes also continue for wage, benefits, ending corruption, and other demands not met. Thousands of striking Suez Canal workers cut off Port Tawfik district electricity, saying they'll stay out as long as it takes, despite harsh military reprisals. 

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Quena governorate health workers also struck for permanent contracts, steady jobs, and higher wages in a nation plagued by high unemployment, poverty pay and sharply rising food, energy and other prices.

In early July, 3,000 Nagaa Hammadi Sugar Factory workers struck, demanding higher wages, a monthly bonus, hazardous pay, better working conditions, and permanent employment. At the same time, the Swiss Company for Stainless Steel Sinks walked out with similar grievances.

Notably, Washington backs brutal junta rule, including violence against growing public opposition to prevent a "second revolution." So does National Association for Change leader Mohamad ElBaradei, saying he regards the military as the main guarantor of Egypt's "incipient democracy," when, in fact, none exists, isn't planned, and won't be tolerated by junta generals, top Obama administration officials, or himself, based on his offensive comment and others earlier.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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or its equivalent near Tahir Square, we ahould ret... by Richard Girard on Saturday, Jul 9, 2011 at 2:53:43 PM