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This “Arab Spring” update comes from the Associated Press: “The Obama administration on Friday warned Americans against all but essential travel to Egypt and moved to reduce the official U.S. presence in the country amid fears of widespread unrest.” No one could possibly have predicted this type of crisis would be a likely outcome of Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow — ahem, except former U.S. ambassador John Bolton and other people considered ignoramuses by the diplomatic elite.
Conditions on the ground reflect the growing tolerance of a diverse ethnic, religious, and democratically inclined leadership. Uh, actually not at all, as a separate AP report about today’s activities reveals (excerpts are not intended to describe the entire situation; reviewing the entire report and others from elsewhere will be needed for a fuller understanding):
VIOLENCE FLARES IN EGYPT BEFORE WEEKEND PROTESTS
Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi rallied Friday in Cairo, and both sides fought each other in the second-largest city of Alexandria, where two people were killed – including an American – and 85 were injured while at least five offices of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood were torched, officials said.
The competing camps were trying to show their strength before even bigger nationwide protests planned by the opposition Sunday – the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration – aimed at forcing his removal.
The opposition says it will bring millions into the streets across Egypt, and more violence is feared. Already, six people have been killed in clashes this week, including Friday’s deaths.
The Cairo International Airport was flooded with departing passengers, an exodus that officials said was unprecedented. All flights departing Friday to Europe, the U.S. and the Gulf were fully booked, they said.
… Tamarod, the activist group whose anti-Morsi petition campaign evolved into Sunday’s protest, said in a statement it opposed “to any attack against anybody, whatever the disagreement with this person was,” and accused the Brotherhood of sparking violence to scare people from participating Sunday.
Tamarod says it has collected nearly 20 million signatures in the country of 90 million demanding Morsi step down.
“We are against Morsi because he does not govern in the name of the Egyptian people, but in the name of the Brotherhood group,” said Ayed Shawqi, a teacher at an anti-Morsi rally in Alexandria.
… The anti-Morsi demonstrators in Tahrir Square also waved Egyptian flags. They cheered, clapped, whistled and chanted, “Egypt, Egypt, Egypt. Long live Egypt!” and “The people want the fall of the regime,” a phrase heard repeatedly in 2011.
One banner depicted President Barack Obama and said, “Obama supports terrorism.”
I don’t expect that final excerpted sentence to survive future AP reports, but we’ll see.
As usual, the AP failed to note the Morsi assumed virtually dicatatorial powers last year and ordered rushed elections marred by harassment of voters in opposition areas to achieve legislative dominance for the Muslim Brotherhood, which proceeded to enact a sharia law-based socialist constitution.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.