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Egypt News July 15, 2011…أخبار مصر ١٥ يوليو ٢٠١١

There was a low turnout in Tahrir Square today. I estimate a couple of thousand – 7,000 at most. Although it was very hot and humid today, the low turnout cannot attributed entirely to the weather. More than 200,000 people gathered a week ago in similar circumstances and although the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups have denounced these protests, they alone did not account for 193,000 people last week. Although many are optimistic that more will protestors will arrive after the sun sets this evening, this is a bad sign for those waging the sit-in as it appears they are losing the popular momentum necessary to pressure the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to commit to further reform.
1. On the topic of reform, it appears that the reform the protests’ have achieved is more symbolic that substantive. The ministerial reshuffle does not appear to include the Minister of the Interior. Moreover, it looks like the police reform is a sham. The lack of transparency surround this process means information must be taken with a handful of salt. However, it appears that the primary criteria was not crimes committed but age (as officers were given early retirement options).
2. The heat seems to be hurting the supports of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) as well. Today, the counter protest organized in order to demonstrate popular support for SCAF drew less than one hundred people.
3. April 6th Movement has released a statement of six demands whose accomplishment must be achieved before the sit-ins throughout Egypt are ended. There is no way they get their first demand: the formation of a revolutionary government without the interference of SCAF.
4. Thugs attack protests in Port Said and police attack protestors in Suez. The Third Army has been deployed to Suez to protect the Suez Canal.
5. In apolitical news, a Guardian piece on the struggle to historically document the revolution is a good read. To be honest, though, I might be biased as I volunteer for Tahrir Documents.

Egypt News: July 10, 2011: أخبار مصر ١٠ يوايو ٢٠١١

1. Those gathered in Tahrir have modified their demands in response to Prime Minister Essam El-Sharif’s speech.
2. One of these demands is the formation of a civil presidential council to replace SCAF as the overseer of the transitional period.
3. Hunger strikes have started in Port Said,
4. Army disperses the sit-in blocking the Sokhna Ring Road and preventing workers from reaching the Suez Canal. In a potential dangerous escalation, protestors in Suez have threatened to block the Suez Canal.
5. Calls for a “million man march” on Tuesday. (Although this past Friday was supposed a million man protest and the numbers remained in the low hundreds of thousands).
6. To comprehend the political tension between SCAF and the protesters, it is first necessary to understand the size of the Egyptian military complex and the disastrous effect it has on the development of the Egyptian economy.