"President Mohamed Morsi decision to give the army new policing powers has
raised new concerns about Egypt’s future, raked up painful memories of the
In protests around the Presidential Palace on Friday, we saw tanks and
armoured vehicles belonging to the Presidential Guard parked in the
Protesters were climbing on them and taking pictures. A few fearless parents
even let their children climb on them, posing with the soldiers.
The scenes were eerily reminiscent of the days after the “25 January
Revolution”, when many welcomed the army on the streets after the 18 days of
mass protests that ended the rule of Hosni Mubarak.
But the military ruled with an iron fist; more than 120 protesters were
killed in demonstrations and in excess of 12,000 civilians were tried unfairly
by military courts.
And it was clear on Friday that many found the reappearance of the army
“Remember Maspero?” cried one woman in the crowd, referring to the army’s
suppression of a protest by Coptic Christians in October 2011 in which 27 were
She began to chant slogans against the army.
Many are still waiting for truth and justice for the 17 bloody months of army
rule that ended in June.
But the announcement the army will have policing powers until the results of
a constitutional referendum are published may also pave the way for new