Egypt: Six Years after January Revolution

Egypt marks six years since the start of demonstrations that led to the downfall of long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.

The 2011 revolution in Egypt started with marches, demonstrations and civil resistance on January 25.

Protesters were inspired by the successful uprising in Tunisia, where demonstrators succeeded in bringing down the government.

People came on to the streets demanding the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They complained of poverty, unemployment, corruption and autocratic governance of the president who had ruled the country for 30 years.

Demonstrators included Islamic, liberal, anti-capitalist, nationalist and feminist elements.

Violent clashes between security forces and protesters resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people and thousands more were injured.

After 18 days of protest, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced on February 11 that Mubarak would resign as president, handing over power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The announcement sparked jubilation on the streets and sent a warning to autocrats across the Arab world and beyond.

Mohamed Morsi declared Egypt’s president in 2012

Egypt’s military rulers in 2012 recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, handing the Islamists both a symbolic triumph and a potent weapon in their struggle for power against the country’s top generals.

Mr. Morsi, 60, an American-trained engineer and former lawmaker, is the first Islamist elected as head of an Arab state. He becomes Egypt’s fifth president and the first from outside the military. But his victory, 16 months after the military took over on the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, was an ambiguous milestone in Egypt’s promised transition to democracy.

Following a week of doubt, delays and fears of a coup after a public count showed Mr. Morsi winning, the generals temporarily showed a measure of respect for at least some core elements of electoral democracy by accepting the victory of a political opponent over their ally,  Ahmed Shafik, a former air force general.  “Today, you are the source of power, as the whole world sees,” said Mr. Morsi, pointing into the television camera during his victory speech.

Two weeks before June 30, 2012, their promised date to hand over power, the generals instead shut down the democratically elected and the Parliament; took over its powers to make laws and set budgets; decreed an interim Constitution stripping the incoming president of most of his powers; and reimposed martial law by authorizing soldiers to arrest civilians. In the process, the generals gave themselves, in effect, a veto over provisions of a planned permanent Constitution.