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Wed Dec 07 20:12:23 CAT 2016

Egypt's anniversary party bittersweet for many revellers

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2012-01-26 00:40:02.0

The Times Editorial: Yesterday's anniversary of the January 25 uprising in Egypt should have been a moment of unbridled joy.

It brought an end to the 30-year rule of the unpopular Hosni Mubarak and spurred popular revolts against dictatorships across North Africa and the Middle East.

It also culminated in elections that resulted in the installation in Cairo this week of a parliament dominated by Islamists who had been hounded by the ageing despot.

But the commemoration was bittersweet for many of the tens of thousands of people who gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square and in other Egyptian cities to celebrate.

While the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, banned under Mubarak, celebrated their parliamentary victory, thousands of the youths who had manned the barricades against the old regime wondered what kind of freedom they had achieved.

Mindful of the bloody clashes in Tahrir Square between protesters and the police and army in November and December, many young activists are deeply concerned about the continued grip of the military on the levers of power in Egypt.

Through the peculiarly drawn-out election process, the military council remains the de facto ruler of the country and has pledged to step aside only after presidential elections are held in June.

Many of the revolutionaries fear that the military council, led by Mubarak's long-serving defence minister, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, will exercise undue influence on Egypt's new civilian government after the presidential poll.

They also wonder whether the political parties that will take over the reins of government will protect their hard-fought for freedoms.

Egypt has made remarkable strides in the past year but the revolution that inspired millions of people worldwide has not yet been bedded down.

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