When Mubarak stepped down he handed over power to the Egyptian military; he didn’t hand power over to a civilian transitional council as the protestors had hoped. Now, after eighteen days of protest, a military junta governs Egypt. It is not what the people wanted. Yesterday the military junta suspended the constitution, which was a key demand of the protestors, but also declared that they will rule by decree – which means, in terms of power available to them, they can actually be more dictatorial than Mubarak ever was if they so choose.
Already they have shown themselves to be contemptuous of the Egyptian people’s demands. The people demanded an immediate transfer of power to a civilian council who would organise elections as soon as possible. Instead the military junta has declared that it will rule by decree and that there will be elections maybe in six months – or so they say.
Even in these early days of military rule there has begun some resistance and some protestors have remained in Tahrir Square while others have returned to join them. So far the military police have been firm in their efforts to clear the square, which has become a symbol of the revolution, but have not used excessive force though there have been some accounts of the military beating protestors with sticks.
The junta’s promises are vague and so far devoid of any legitimacy. The protestors are wary of the military’s promises and want change now; not in six months time. So far there has been only a change of style within the regime but no real regime change.
It’s going to be a long six months.