Egypt must know be considered one of those hot spots.
Protesters took to the streets of the capital city, Cairo, today in what can be described only as a sign of discontent with the Mubarak government, which has ruled often with an iron fist for 30 years. (The protests continued into Wednesday morning, Cairo time and appeared to be met with a more pronounced police presence.)
Video of Tuesday's protests appeared on YouTube and regular updates appeared on social media sites, including Twitter, which the government tried to shut down.
Three people are confirmed dead, as NBC reports
Two protesters and a police officer were killed in the nationwide demonstrations inspired by Tunisia's uprising, which also demanded a solution to Egypt's grinding poverty and were likely to fuel growing dissent in a presidential election year.
Mobilized largely on the Internet, the waves of protesters filled Cairo's central Tahrir — or Liberation — Square on Tuesday, some hurling rocks and climbing atop armored police trucks.
"Down with Hosni Mubarak, down with the tyrant," chanted the crowds. "We don't want you!" they screamed as thousands of riot police deployed in a massive security operation that failed to quell the protests.That "tyrant" has long been an ally -- at least in name -- of the United States and it's that association that puts the Obama administration in a difficult situation:
Tunisia was considered one of the least likely to fall, but it fell. Across the region, opposition groups, hoping to repeat Tunisia's successes, are emboldened and increasingly active. For the first time, they know what change looks like. More importantly, they now believe it can happen in their own countries. But in the growing battle between Arab autocrats and popular oppositions, the U.S. is finding itself torn between the reliable allies it needs and the democratic reformers it wants. (Complete Atlantic report here.)For now, the people's rage is directed at the Mubarak family. Deutsche Welle reports that
The protests in Egypt, which organizers have vowed to carry on until dawn, are estimated to be the largest since President Hosni Mubarak took power nearly 30 years ago.
Protesters in Egypt's second largest city, Alexandria tore down a picture of 82-year-old Mubarak and of his son, Gamal, who many Egyptians believe is being groomed for office when his father steps down.
Demonstrators hung banners from buildings in Cairo reading "Revolution against oppression" and Down with Hosni Mubarak."One Middle East web site is reporting that Gamal Mubarak and his family have fled Egypt, though there has been no confirmation from other media sources I've accessed.
If the elder Mubarak maintains control of the security apparatus, he has a chance to remain in power. But he'll need to use that control wisely; if he were to unleash the police on the people, then he'll be under increasing calls to step down. Whether he would listen is not certain.