After 18 days of civilian protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down from his position of leadership Feb. 11.
The 30-year dictatorship under Mubarak led to suppression, corruption within the government and a poor economy. Protests began Jan. 25.
The protest’s focal point was Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, although protests and riots were happening throughout the country.
In an early attempt to quell the revolt, phone lines were cut and the Internet was shut down. Egypt was on lockdown, but the riots continued. When the technology blockade was lifted, civilians still were protesting.
Pierce College student Tina Maoud has family in Cairo and explains that the first weeks of the revolt were tense ones.
“For the first week and a half, we had no communication with them. We couldn’t contact them,” Maoud said. “Our only source to get information on what was occurring was from the news, which was not always accurate.”
The country came to a grinding halt as the protests continued and violence escalated.
“The protest had huge impact on (my family members’) daily lives because they were isolated from the outside world,” Maoud said. “They couldn’t go to school, work, grocery stores, hang out with friends or anything. They couldn’t even communicate with anyone because the phone lines and internet were all cut off. It was a tough 18 days for them.”
While the protests started out peaceful, on day nine of the protesting, pro-Mubarak supporters stormed Tahrir square and a battle between the pro-democracy and pro-Mubarak protesters ensued.
Protesters used whatever they could get their hands on as weapons. This included rocks, bottles and firebombs.
In the end, the pro-democracy protesters won the battle, though the Health Ministry reported that 365 people died and 5,500 people were wounded during this conflect between the two sides.
On the 18th day of the country’s uproar, Mubarak stepped down and ceded power to a military council.
With a dictator deposed, citizens have taken the opportunity to exercise their newfound freedom of speech and protest the injustices they’ve suffered. From demands for pay raises to resistance against corrupted officials and environmental threats, people are making their voices heard.
Egypt’s success in overthrowing a dictator has sparked revolts throughout the Middle East. Countries such as Bahrain, Libya and Yemen have been rioting in response to Egypt’s success.
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