Sunday, July 31, 2005

What Democratic Elections?

It is becoming very clear that the presidential "elections" in Egypt will be nothing more than a sham. Via the New York Times:
Wielding bamboo batons and small leaded clubs, Egyptian security agents attacked and beat protesters on Saturday as they tried to rally in the central Tahrir Square here, chanting slogans calling for the end of Hosni Mubarak's 24-year-reign as president.

A contingent of several thousand black-uniformed riot police officers, with shields and batons, together with squads of plainclothes agents, each armed with a blackjack, cornered small groups of protesters and then beat them, often tearing their clothing, as commanding officers, with stars on their shoulders, shouted for the beatings to continue.

The crackdown on the protesters came just two days after Mr. Mubarak pledged his support for democracy and increased freedoms in a speech announcing his plans to seek a fifth term as president. Elections are scheduled for September.

Two leaders of the opposition movement known as Kefaya, or Enough, were among those arrested, but were later released. Police officers at the scene would not comment on how many people had been taken into custody. By late Saturday evening, about 300 protesters had gathered in front of the building that houses Egypt's journalists union and said they would demonstrate until those arrested were released.

I think it's time we start sending them foreign aid checks with a few less zeros in them until they learn that during democratic elections, non-violent protests are generally a good thing and don't require the police to beat the crap out of the protesters.