What You Need To Know About the Protests in Egypt

Some of you may have some questions about what is going on in Egypt these days. Or perhaps you have friends who do. Either way, below is some of the basic information you need to make sense of current events.

What are the protests about?

The focus of the media coverage and the public calls has been on the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and this is certainly the central demand of the protests. Less talked about are more fundamental demands, like the rescinding of the emergency laws that have been in force continuously since 1981 and for much of the period before that year since the law was passed in 1958. These laws allow for extreme restrictions on basic freedoms.

The crowd in Tahrir Square in Cairo

Protesters also want Parliament disbanded and elections held for the 454-seat body as well as the presidency. The western media (and much of the Middle Eastern as well) has focused on Mubarak, understandably, since he has also been so prominent in the protests. But while the protesters are certainly insisting that Mubarak resign immediately, the point is much broader than merely replacing the president. It is a call for a broad reform, even restructuring, of the Egyptian government. Continue reading