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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Activist Arrested for Defacement of Tahrir Monument

A monument erected by the interim military-backed government to commemorate the 2011 Egyptian revolution was defaced in less than 24 hours by protesters opposing the current government and the Muslim Brotherhood, and is now mostly destroyed. Yesterday, security forces arrested 20 year-old Sherif Elsirfy for his alleged involvement. The Ministry of Interior published photos showing Elsirfy at the scene. Elsirfy, a member of the April 6th Movement called his situation “very bad.” He has been provided with a lawyer and is currently being detained at the Qasr El-Nil police station in Cairo.

Popular People’s Poet Ahmed Fouad Negm Dies

Ahmed Fouad Negm, a revolutionary Egyptian poet whose wit extolled the poor and lambasted the powerful for over 40 years, died on Tuesday at the age of 84. One of seventeen siblings, Negm was raised in on orphanage after his father died. He worked and lived in Cairo with the blind oud player and singer Sheikh Imama Issa. The duo performed Negm’s work for over thirty years, including poems that disparaged the rule of Nasser, Mubarak and Sadat. While in power, Sadat gave Negm an 11 year jail sentence for a poem that mocked one of his television speeches. After this incident, Negm was widely regarded as a folk hero for resistance movements and the poor. His funeral is scheduled to take place at the mosque of Imam Al-Hussein after noon prayers.

Protests Continue to Threaten Government in Ukraine

The Ukrainian government has regained control of state buildings which were stormed by protesters yesterday, but popular unrest continues. Ukrainians took to the streets after President Viktor Yanukovych walked away from negotiations with the EU, ending hopes that the Ukraine align its interests with Europe and move away from the influence of Russia. After police used violence to break up protests over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of people have turned out in the streets to demonstrate – by some accounts, outnumbering the amount of people who demonstrated during the 2004 Orange revolution. The popular pressure has forced the President to attempt to renew talks with the European commission. According to Al Jazeera, the president “has lost control of the center of Kiev.”

Gulf States Financially Support Egypt’s Military-Backed Government

With the exception of Qatar, several Gulf Arab states are working to economically support the current military-backed government in Egypt, according to a recent Reuters report.  Months after Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates pledged more than $12 billion in aid, these countries are now working to supply private investment to the region. Egypt’s UAE ambassador Ihab Hamouda said the Gulf states are spearheading projects to be discussed at the upcoming  forum for Gulf Arab financiers, which will take place this week. “Whoever supports the stability of Egypt, supports the stability of the whole region,” Hamouda said.

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