FEBMARMAY
22
201020112012
52 captures
16 Feb 2011 - 10 Feb 2021
About this capture
MIDDLE EAST
15 February 2011 Last updated at 00:42 ET
Egypt faces bumpy ride towards democracy
By Jeremy Bowen
BBC Middle East editor
Protests over pay and jobs have continued despite army calls for them to cease
Egypt's Revolution
Dismantling Egypt state security
Egypt's secret torture unveiled
Rebuilding after sectarian strife
Growing fears of Egypt's Copts
Just take a drive down some of the main avenues in central Cairo and you can see one of the biggest problems facing Egypt's new military administration.
The economy is more or less at a standstill, and so is the civil service.
Outside almost every government building at one time or another in the last few days has been a crowd of disgruntled employees.
Grievances that people were forced to swallow during the repressive Mubarak years are pouring out.
Badly paid rank-and-file staff want more money. Often, they are also burning with resentment about bosses they say have enriched themselves.
The armed forces' fifth communique called for the strikes to stop. If polite requests don't work, the generals will have to decide what they do next.
If they want to keep people on their side, using force to break strikes will not be a good idea.
The biggest and noisiest demonstrations have been by the police outside the interior ministry.
They pushed forward a uniformed sergeant who was obviously unwell, and raged that they were not given proper medical treatment, while the senior officers had their own hospitals.
Messy inheritance
The Egyptians who were in Tahrir Square saw the police as the old regime's brutal enforcers. But the striking policemen claimed that in reality they were also victims.
"They made us confront the people than they left us here and ran away," complained one policeman.
Policemen have joined the protests in Tahrir Square
President Hosni Mubarak left behind a big stack of problems. Some Egyptians doubt whether the military, led by 75-year-old Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi, is up to dealing with its messy inheritance.
How it tackles the job is going to have a big impact on the way that the new Egypt develops.
Mr Mubarak, it is now clear, was ushered out of the door by the army high command.
But he was overthrown by a popular uprising. The people who took part in it expect Field Marshal Tantawi and his men to bring in the changes that they want.
They applauded when the army dissolved parliament, which was elected in a rigged vote, and when it suspended the constitution, which was designed to make sure that Mr Mubarak or his chosen successor stayed in office.
But the army has been at the centre of power in Egypt since a coup in 1952. The system that has developed since then suits the generals very well. Now they are expected to dismantle it. Power and money are hard things to give up.
The military has promised to introduce civilian rule in six months or when elections come. To get to that point some big challenges have to be mastered.
Egypt needs a new constitution, and a renewed political system. If the protesters are to get their wish for democracy, it needs free and fair elections.
Smart move
For the time being the armed forces are getting the benefit of the doubt from most people. But that will change if Egyptians, who now believe that their opinions matter, decide that the generals are taking them in the wrong direction.
One smart move would be to bring new blood into the cabinet, which is still mainly made up of former Mubarak loyalists, and to allow civilians into Field Marshal Tantawi's top team.
That will stop the idea taking hold that the military wants sole charge of the levers of power. And it could also create a sense that Egyptians are in this together, which might even persuade people to go back to work.
It might also be a useful idea to make moves to seize some of the money that Hosni Mubarak and his family are alleged to have acquired during his 30-year reign.
So far some of his associates have been targeted, but not the family itself. Could an intact fortune have been part of the former president's severance terms?
That won't please strikers who think that their time has come.
More on This Story
Egypt's Revolution
Features and Analysis
Dismantling Egypt state security
The task of dismantling Egypt's hated security service may seem immense, but Middle East analyst Omar Ashour draws lessons from history.
Egypt's secret torture unveiled
Rebuilding after sectarian strife
Growing fears of Egypt's Copts
Inside the Brotherhood
Final moments before the fall
Can military meet demands?
Economy under pressure
Profiles
Mohamad Tantawi
Hosni Mubarak
Omar Suleiman
Wael Ghonim
Mohamed ElBaradei
Muslim Brotherhood
Guides
Q&A: Constitution referendum
Q&A: Egypt protests
Key military figures
Protest timeline
Map timeline
Protests map
Share this page
More Middle East stories
US crew rescued after Libya crash
Two US airmen are rescued in eastern Libya after their warplane crashed during allied operations, officials say.
Yemeni president warns of coup
Strikes on Gaza 'kill children'
Top Stories
US crew rescued after Libya crash
Karzai names Nato pullout areas
Power cables laid at Japan plant
Strikes on Gaza 'kill children'
Yemeni president warns of coup
Features & Analysis
Obama's war tent
How the US leader keeps Libya strike secrets while on the move
Baptism by ice
Russia's trend for dipping children in frozen rivers
In pictures
Why ex-Miss Venezuela wanted people to see her cancer battle
Knut's story
Is it wrong to keep polar bears in zoos?
Most Popular
Shared
Read
'Extinction threat' to religion
US warplane crash-lands in Libya
Tests shed light on life origins
Putin denies Russia rift on Libya
Barack Obama's top secret tent
Power cables laid at Japan plant
Live: Libya crisis
In pictures: Ex-Miss Venezuela's public cancer battle
German incest case father jailed
Cameroon 'robbers' killed at sea
Video/Audio
Elsewhere on BBC News
Invisible hazard
What impact could radiation concerns have on Japan's food industry - at home and abroad?
Programmes
HARDtalk
Media tycoon Alexander Lebedev admits his Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta runs 'slight risks'
Services
News feeds
Mobile
Podcasts
Alerts
E-mail news
About BBC News
Editors' blog
BBC College of Journalism
News sources
World Service Trust
Mobile
About the BBC
BBC Help
Contact Us
Accessibility Help
Terms of Use
Jobs
Privacy & Cookies
Advertise With Us
BBC © MMXI The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.
HomeUS & CanadaLatin AmericaUKAfricaAsia-PacEuropeMid-EastSouth AsiaBusinessHealthSci/EnvironmentTechEntertainmentVideo
DeliciousDiggFacebookredditStumbleUponTwitterEmailPrint
NewsSportWeatherTravelTVRadioMore