Egypt protests keep reform pressure after Mubarak’s departure
DUBAI - After 18 days of mass protests, Husni Mubarak resigned as president on 11 February, ending 30 years of autocratic rule. A Supreme Military Council took over, pledging to work for a smooth transition to civilian rule. Two months on, however, protests are continuing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand the removal of remaining figures in the old regime, and the prosecution of Mubarak and his family for corruption and violence against protesters in the early days of the uprising. A timeline of key events since Mubarak’s ouster follows:
11 February: Omar Suleiman, then vice-president, announces that Mubarak has resigned as president and handed over power to the army, leading to celebrations in Tahrir Square.
12 February: The new military command promises to hand power to an elected government and confirms Egypt’s commitment to all international treaties, in response to Israeli concerns about the future of its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. Travel bans are imposed on several members of the former regime.
13 February: Police, public and private sector workers and bank employees organize large-scale demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities demanding better wages. Rallies also attempt to clear the police’s name after its use of force against protesters earlier.
14 February: The military command issues "Communiqué No 5", calling for national solidarity, condemning the demonstrations and urging workers to help restore the economy.
18 February: "Victory Friday": Hundreds of thousands go out onto the streets of Cairo to celebrate a week since Mubarak’s departure. Tens of thousands of Egyptian migrant workers in Libya begin to return home amid concerns over the economic impact.
2 March: A constitutional referendum is tentatively scheduled for 19 March.
3 March: Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik steps down a day ahead of protests planned against him. Essam Sharaf is appointed as the new prime minister.
5 March: Protesters raid several State Security Investigations (SSI) offices across Egypt, including the headquarters in Alexandria - reportedly in a bid to secure documents believed to include evidence of crimes committed by the SSI against citizens during Mubarak's rule.
19 March: Constitutional referendum takes place in what the government says is a record turnout - with 41 percent of the 45 million eligible voters taking part.
20 March: Constitutional changes referendum results announced: 77.27 percent approve the constitutional amendments; 22.8 percent reject them.
22 March: Part of Interior Ministry building catches fire during police demonstrations outside it.
23 March: New law announced criminalizing protests and strikes: Anyone organizing or calling for a protest will be sentenced to jail and/or fined US$100,000.
29 March: Military Council announces postponement of parliamentary elections until September 2011, to give opposition leaders time to organize political parties.
31 March: Egypt is urged by groups, including Amnesty International, to scrap new law banning protests and strikes.
1 April: "Save the Revolution" day. Tens of thousands stage demonstration to demand quick action by the ruling Military Council to dismantle remains of the old regime.
5 April: A delegation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights encourages the Military Council to move towards democratic reform, and calls for further efforts to combat human rights violations and impunity.
8 April: "Friday of Cleansing": Tens of thousands gather in Tahrir Square for the largest protests in weeks. Protesters renew their demand for a new constitution, the removal of Egypt’s Emergency Law (first implemented in 1958), an end to military rule, the removal of any military personnel associated with Mubarak’s regime, and prosecution of Mubarak and his family.
9 April: Protesters demand trial of Mubarak and other officials allegedly involved in corruption and human rights violations. Security forces open fire on protesters in Tahrir Square, killing at least two and injuring dozens. The crackdown is the most brutal since the military started running the country on 11 February. Amnesty International condemns excessive use of force by the army.
10 April 2011: An Egyptian blogger is sentenced to three years in prison for criticizing the military. Human rights advocates see the incident as a violation of hard-won freedom of expression. Mubarak, speaking to Al Arabiya TV, denies corruption allegations against him and his family.
11 April: Ahmed Nazif, former prime minister of Egypt (2004-2011), called in for questioning on corruption allegations.
13 April: Mubarak and his two sons placed under 15-day detention in connection with corruption and state violence allegations. The sons are transferred to Cairo’s Tora prison, while Mubarak remains under detention in hospital, following health problems.
Sources: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Organization for Migration, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. © IRIN