Protests in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak started January 25th, 2011. Hosni Mubarak became president after President Anwar el-Sadat was assassinated in 1981. As president Mubarak stabilized the country keeping the peace treaty with Israel and smoothing relationships with surrounding Arab countries as well as America. And though Mubarak had created good relationships with other countries, he was disliked by majority of Egyptian people. Mubarak maintained his power by rigging elections and acquired his money (estimated around 40-70 billion) from illegal dealings. Though right now the Swiss bank has frozen his account. Hosni Mubarak was in power for 30 years and during his reign the population in Egypt has doubled to over 80 million, while the chasm between rich and poor has grown greater.
Finally protests against Mubarak started in Tahrir Square January of this year. The protests lasted 18 days till Mubarak eventually stepped down. The protests were non-violent for the most part, but during the revolution two-dozen Egyptian historical sites were looted. One journalist wrote, “When you enter the square now, one row of volunteers checks your ID, another frisks you for weapons and then you walk through a long gauntlet of men clapping and singing an Egyptian welcome song.” Tahrir Square was a vivid revolutionary site housing thousands of protesters each faced with tear gas and gunshots. Over 300 were killed by police and thugs sent out by Mubarak in Tahrir Square. Demonstrations including the spelling of “leave” with shoes in Cairo (showing soles is an insult in Arab culture) as well as others occurred till finally Mubarak resigned February 11th, 2011.
When Mubarak stepped down, Egypt was put in the hands the military. And right now Essam Sharaf (who joined protesters in Tahrir Square) has replaced Ahmed Shafik as prime minister. Sharaf promised to continue changes requested by Egyptian people stating, “I beg you, you did something great and together we will do more, we are with you I have a heavy task and it will need patience.”
Though the end of Mubarak’s reign has pleased the people of Egypt, it is not certain whether or not the new government will be preferable to the former one. Mubarak’s resignation may cause tension between Egypt and its former allies, however Obama has promised to support Egypt’s new administration. But his resignation also signals hope for other revolutions going on in the Middle East.
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