Focus on Sisi as media reacts to Egypt’s Jan. 25 anniversary

Anti-government protester holds a national flag during clashes at Ramsis street, which leads to Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, on the third anniversary of Egypt's uprising, January 25, 2014. (Reuters)

 Western outlets had a pessimistic response to the anniversary of Egypt’s Jan. 25 revolution on Saturday, with many pointing to Sisi as a key figure in the divided nation.

“It was not supposed to be like this,” said a news story from UK-based daily The Independent.

Much of the media coverage was centered on Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the ouster of former Islamist President Mohammad Mursi after massive protests in July last year.

Sisi “seems to have convinced large numbers of Egyptians that…he is the culmination of the insurrectionary process,” the article said, calling activity in Tahrir square little more than a presidential campaign rally for the army general.

In an article published in U.S.-based new site Huffington Post, Doug Bandow, a fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, said that “a new pharaoh” was rising in Egypt, adding that the army chief had taken inspiration from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

“Gen. Sisi looked to Joseph Stalin for guidance, initiating a show trial of Mursi,” the article said.

Not redeemed

Writing for news channel CNN’s opinion section, Cynthia Schneider, a professor at Georgetown University said the “the initial promise” of the 2011 revolution when the country found a common cause “has not been redeemed.”

The revolution has gone “full circle” from three years ago, wrote Trudy Rubin, a columnist for the U.S.-based daily Philadelphia Inquirer.

If Sisi were to run and win Egypt’s presidency “we will see whether the spirit of Tahrir lives on and people dare to return to the streets to demand a different leader,” the article said.

Bitter divisions

Bitter divisions in the country between Islamist supporters and supporters of army chief Sisi were clear on social media networks.

Writing on the situation on the ground in Cairo, Twitter user @simonjhanna wrote:

“In #tahrir, chants are pro sisi& for execution of #ikhwan. everyone is suspicious of cameras, i was stopped by police and by protesters”

“Just saw an elderly activist being beaten & dragged out of #Tahrir Sq. by an angry mob for merely criticizing General Sisi,” said @JanoCharbel.

“Tear gas and fireworks on the streets around #Tahrir, depends who you support,” said @SherineT.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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