Egypt is slipping back into dictatorship, and we must not let it
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The revolution that began in Egypt in January 2011 is deemed by many in the West as having ended on the 11th February of the same year, when long-ruling President Hosni Mubarak resigned from office following massive public demonstrations and the refusal of the army to fire upon protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Things seemed so promising for the now 'free' people of Egypt, who were following in the footsteps of neighbours Tunisia, who had started the 'Arab Spring' and had forced the removal of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had been in power for almost 23 years. There was, and still remains, one major problem. That is that the people of Egypt are not yet free, for the resignation of President Mubarak marked the implementation of the military as the ruling force in Egypt. Events moved quickly and positively, however. The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) were designed to be an interim government which would ensure the running of elections for a new parliament and president, and would subsequently relinquish power. Parliamentary elections were held in November 2011, and the new Parliament met for the first time in January 2012. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces immediately transferred legislative authority to the new parliament, and plans were drawn up in April for a constituent assembly of 100 members to establish the new Egyptian constitution. In late May, the first round of voting for the new Egyptian president began, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces rolled back decades of oppression by lifting the State of Emergency which had existed in Egypt for the past 45 years. Again, all of these steps sound extremely promising, but they do not paint the entire picture. As well as all the seeming political progress, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has recently embarked upon a series of reforms which seem to be aimed at ensuring that it remains in power in Egypt. On the 13th June, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces declared 'de facto' martial law in Egypt, and granted military officers the powers to arrest civilians and have them tried in military courts. These powers are, it is claimed, to remain only until the new constitution is introduced.
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