Things are getting very ugly in Egypt. It’s not so much a new violence as it is the lingering chaos unleashed by Tahrir Square and exploited by various factions. Western governments and domestic voters backed Morsi in the hopes that he would provide stability, but after the authorities temporarily lost control of Port Said and Morsi unilaterally declared a State of Emergency in three cities, in violation of his own constitution, stability is nowhere to be found.
With 44 dead, as of now, the Egyptian pound imploding and Morsi looking increasingly unable and unwilling to fix the economic problems that caused the Jan 25 Revolution, Egypt may be headed for another revolution.
That is part of what’s going on. Whether it’s soccer clubs or Salafi militias, Egypt is melting down away from a state and into a state of violence. The assertion of force backed by international aid counts for more than the rule of law.
Egypt appears to have developed its own Black Bloc anarchist members who dress in black and engage in armed confrontations. There appears to however be some debate over whether the members are legitimate or regime provocateurs.
Either way it’s a sign that protest is becoming a way of life. Jan 25 sanctified the protester and transformed organized protest into a more significant political force than the voting booth. And that means unrest is just one triggering event away,
Some say the violence serves the Muslim Brotherhood’s purposes. Others say the Muslim Brotherhood regime is about to fall.
The chaos include the usual rioting and police shootings. And as usual, sexual assaults, that appear to be less about rape and more about inflicting horror and shock on the protesters.
“It happens very quickly,” said one victim, a protester who was assaulted on a street leading to the square, and who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity. “Suddenly there were six men on one side of me, and six on the other, and they just started scratching me all the way down my skin. It’s not just sexual assault. It’s like they actually want to hurt you.”
That appears to be in line with earlier reports suggesting that the sexual assaults are initiated by paid rape gangs targeting female protesters.
The tactics of the defenders are often as crude as those of the attackers, in the absence of any meaningful law enforcement.
My team were ready and we prepared ourselves to get our designated area but we never made it there because as soon as we stepped out of the building, we saw a large group of men assaulting a girl. Our rescue team moved in immediately. They formed a large empty space around the girl by using flamethrowers, machetes and other weapons that they were using to drive away the crowd. Anyone who tried to get to the girl was deterred by the rescue team who would swing their flamethrowers and weapons to force the men back. The captain then started yelling out ‘SAFETY’ “SAFETY”.
But there does not appear to be any safety in Egypt tonight.