These opposing views are at the heart of an ongoing clash between two narratives on the state of Egypt’s Revolution—a battle that any meaningful discussion of Egypt’s 2011/2012 elections cannot overlook. One narrative, which the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and its supporters have tried to promote through friendly media outlets, alleges that the January 25 Revolution has succeeded—with the help of the Egyptian army—and that the time has come for protest movements to vacate public squares, the streets, and factories, and begin deferring to elite politics: elections, parliaments, and constitution writers. From this perspective, elections are viewed as an important step toward advancing the change that Egyptians have called for during the eighteen-day uprising that toppled Mubarak.
An opposing narrative, advanced by many dissident individuals and groups through demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of contentious political action, posits that the Revolution is far from complete and is under severe attack from the SCAF. Advocates of this latter narrative tell us that the upcoming SCAF-sponsored elections are a step toward normalizing and legitimating a political reality in which Egypt’s military rulers can dominate the current “transition” and dictate its terms in ways that favor their own anti-democratic bureaucratic interests. Thus, proponents of this view fear that these elections will be used to abort rather than advance the revolution, which remains ongoing.
The military appears to be producing a situation from which there can be no return. Either they will consolidate their power as a new despotism with a slender democratic facade - and elections are now in doubt - or they will be decisively weakened, and a new alignment of democratic forces will have the initiative. As the revolutionaries of Egypt say, Glory to the martyrs, Victory to the revolution, Power and wealth to the people.
A broad coalition of revolutionary movements from across the political spectrum, including leftist, liberal and Islamist organisations, also threw their full weight behind the protests. "We confirm our readiness to face all the forces that aim to abort the revolution, reproduce the old regime, or drag the country into chaos and turn the revolution into a military coup," said a joint statement by 37 groups.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest organised political movement, added its voice to the chorus of discontent, accusing Scaf of contradicting 'all human, religious and patriotic values' with their callousness and warning that the revolution that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year was able to rise again.
The organisation also announced it was temporarily suspending all electoral activities, but unlike many liberal and leftist parties it has yet to cancel its campaign.
William Hague, the British foreign minister, said the violence was of "great concern" but added that the UK would not be taking sides.
The US urged Egypt to go ahead with the elections and called for restraint on all sides. The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said: "The United States continues to believe that these tragic events should not stand in the way of elections.
People have been killed at Occupy from drug overdose and suicide, but not by any police response.
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