The second anniversary of the beginning of the uprising that led to the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt brought violence, rather than celebration, to much of the country on 25th January 2013.
Unrest began in Cairo with protests against President Mohammed Morsi whose Freedom and Justice Party – of the Muslim Brotherhood – is struggling to gain the trust of the non-Islamist population. By the 28th January 2013, a temporary state of emergency and a 30 day curfew had been declared in the towns of Suez, Port Said and Ismailiyya. Anger was further fuelled by the passing of a death sentence on 21 people for their part in a riot at a football match in February 2012 which left 77 people dead. To date, a total of at least 52 people have died in the violence.
No Sign of Stopping
Most recently protesters attacked a police station in Damanhour in which 10 people were detained. Reports say the violence lasted throughout the night and in to the early hours of the morning with 2 men killed and dozens injured, police and troops among them. Attacks also continued in the cities along the Suez Canal despite the curfew and temporary state of emergency. Alexandria, too, has been disrupted by protests calling for the resignation of the President.
The situation boils down to two factors: the increasingly disputed political legitimacy and the government’s capacity to maintain law and order in the region. These are likely to contribute to more violence and uncertainty in the months leading up to a general election in April, which Mr Morsi appears determined to push through. With few signs of the current violence abating, risk managers should be prepared for further disruption and should factor the potential for bouts of chaos into their travel and business continuity plans.