In a weird twist in the tale, the Egyptian government has approved a law criminalizing strikes and protest marches in the country, raising questions from various quarters whether this was the outcome expected by millions of Egyptians who passionately fought for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak's oppressive regime.
According to media reports, the new law passed by the military cabinet stipulates imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to 500,000 Egyptian pounds ($84,000 dollars for anyone who incites, promotes or participates in a protest or strike that disrupts private or public work'.
In a turn of events that looks like the Egyptian people are back to square one - the army-led government has not lifted the emergency but stressed that the new law curbing protests will be in effect till the emergency lasts. Egyptians who risked their lives trying to depose a ruler who ran a police state and never lifted emergency for more than three decades, are fuming under the bizarre policy of the new dispensation.
Rights groups have complained in recent weeks about the detention and torture of activists by the military rulers who replaced the Mubarak regime.
There are also reports that the country's media is still under gag orders. In effect, the long-entrenched military rule in Egypt hasn’t changed. The popular anger abated after the ouster of Mubarak, but people on the street are unhappy with the continued rule by proxy by Mabarak's generals.
“There are achievements, we brought Mubarak and Shafiq down, and we are proud of it, but this revolution is not finished. We demand the end of the military rule since 1952. The military should go back to the barracks and the state security apparatus must be abolished. We want true democracy,” protesters were quoted by the World Socialist website earlier this month.