The young activists whose protests in Tahrir Square helped drive President Hosni Mubarak from power in February appear to have lost the support of the Egyptian people.Yesterday, mobs of ordinary citizens joined with the Egyptian army, which now runs the country, to drive the protestors out of their Tahrir Square encampment.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
“On Monday afternoon, the first day of the Ramadan fast, hundreds of Egyptian army troops and central security police attacked the tent city on the square, shooting in the air and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar,’ God is Great. Protesters’ belongings were dumped into garbage trucks. The soldiers beat the activists with truncheons and arrested dozens. The protesters who ran into surrounding streets encountered a hostile mob that included local shopkeepers and business owners.”
Yesterday’s events are only the latest signs that the protestors have lost the support of the rest of the country.
After several months of waiting to see how quickly the military would move toward democratization and putting Mubarak-era officials on trial, the young activists reoccupied Tahrir Square last month to demand swifter enactment of promised reforms.
But last Friday, tens of thousands of Islamists occupied Tahrir Square to demand a new Egypt ruled by strict religious laws, dwarfing the more recent protests by liberal-leaning activists.
Egyptians do not view the protestors as the representatives of the mainstream, or as the guardians of the country’s nascent freedom. Rather, as Walter Russell Mead writes, that is only how we in the West have chosen to see them:
“American democracy enthusiasts have never grasped the class issues in the Egyptian Revolution. The pro-democracy activists and twitterati who led the street protests looked to us like admirable freedom loving liberals.
“To many ordinary Egyptians they look like yuppie scum: westernized, privileged preppies whose fathers made enough money by collaborating with the old regime to send them to fancy schools and buy them the smartphones and tablets that hook them up to the web.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.