The protesters calling for the removal of Mubarak were largely peaceful.Then, Chris Floyd:
The government goon squad has now been reported to be the ones using both live weapons and Molotov cocktails, tearing up roads and buildings to get rocks to use as weapons, along with looting and burning things.
This is what a government that has lost the consent of the consent of the people, but refuses to leave power peacefully, does. It has an alleged monopoly on the use of force and it exercises it.
What is happening seems clear: Mubarak, backed by Obama, has decided to foment a storm of bloodshed, chaos and fear in order to provide a justification for “restoring order” – i.e., crushing the uprising by force. This course could not have been adopted without the support of the Cairo regime’s patrons and paymasters in Washington. None of this should come as a surprise. From the very beginning, the administration of Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has been killing people – most of them defenseless civilians – all over the world to advance a brutal agenda of militarist domination and the enrichment of corrupt elites.
For decades, a pliant regime in Egypt has been a linchpin of this thoroughly bipartisan agenda. Obama’s task now is to preserve this arrangement if at all possible. Mubarak himself doesn’t matter; he’s now become a liability to the operation of business as usual. But the power structures in Washington and Cairo can’t afford to have him simply forced from office by popular will; what kind of example would that set? Instead they will seek to use the months until Mubarak’s envisaged retirement in September to beat down the uprising by overt means – as we are seeing on the streets of Egypt’s cities today – and covert means, with the piecemeal arrest of various dissident leaders and other crackdowns on activities that might “threaten public order.”
Boy, it's a good thing to know that things like that don't, can't, won't, happen here.