The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The Brotherhood Protest

Despite my best efforts, I didn't see a single demonstrator yesterday. All the same, what I did see I took as a show of strength for the Muslim Brotherhood. The security measures taken to prevent the demonstration were fairly unprecedented. As has been mentioned here, they closed off Tahrir Square, and all the streets leading to and from the square. The picture posted by Issandr below is of Qasr Al Aini, which is a four lane thoroughfare through downtown Cairo and one of the most heavily travelled streets in the city.

Compare the security yesterday with last week's demonstration marking the anniversary of the Iraq war, organized largely by leftists, or with the series of civil-society led anti-Mubarak protests which have become almost regular affairs in recent weeks. It's a striking display of how differently the government regards the threat from the the respective sides.

For those interested in the ebb and flow of the Islamists' influence in Egypt, yesterday's demonstration (or attempted demonstration) could be seen as the second recent indicator that the Brotherhood's popularity is not decreasing. It appears they had a fairly decisive victory in the lawyers' syndicate elections earlier this month.