On Monday, I went to Alexandria for a rally by presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, and wrote this piece about it for The Daily Beast. I noted that:
Egyptians are excited, but there is also great confusion and anxiety. The upcoming elections are the final, fraught act of a muddled transition process that still threatens to unravel.
Now there are 12 dead in clashes between protesters and "thugs" in Abbaseya, near the Ministry of Defense; most presidential candidates have put their campaigns on hold; and two have visited the scene.
The conflict -- which escalated today -- started out as a sit-in by supporters of disqualified candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail; the protest was attacked by the usual difficult-to-define groups of "concerned citizens" (supported by army and police and incited by state media) and was then joined by revolutionary youth out of solidarity.
It's hard to overstate how fraught and chaotic this transitions process has become. Now we are seeing the same kind of destabilizing violence (warning: this is graphic) we witnessed ahead of the parliamentary elections last fall.