(MENAFN - Arab News) Egypt's military had had a calm two months, resting and waiting. Since early February, when clashes in downtown Cairo left over a dozen activists dead following a massacre - the event was watched without action by soldiers at the Port Said stadium - at a football match, the military had seemingly moved away from antagonizing and killing Egyptians.
That all changed this week when activists, demanding the presidential elections' laws to be amended and the army chosen presidential committee to be dissolved, marched toward the ministry of defense.
Since Saturday, unknown attackers have clashed with the pro-change activists in the area. And on Wednesday morning, the protesters and the volunteer doctors who have converged on the area to assist the injured, have confirmed the use of live ammunition in the death of at least two confirmed activists.
Making matters worse, and revealing what is likely to be a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) hand in the violence, activists took photos of meals reportedly provided to the "thugs" by the military. While this may not be enough proof to put the SCAF behind the murder of Egyptian citizens, it is enough to show the military is supporting the attackers on the activists.
When I was detained in December during the clashes at the Cabinet building, the military provided myself and a Hungarian citizen also detained with identical meals as being given to the "thugs" this week and detailed by the activists.
What is discouraging about the current situation is the use of violence by the military junta, whether in uniform or in plainclothes. It is becoming ever clearer that the SCAF has no desire to relinquish power to a civilian government, and will likely use the current situation to maintain its position atop the political totem pole in the country.
The past few days of violence has made us forget that in three weeks, Egyptians are supposed to be heading to the ballot box to cast their vote in the first truly democratic election in the country's history. But let us not forget that in November, days ahead of the beginning of the Parliamentary elections, the military attacked a peaceful sit-in in Tahrir Square, pushing many activists away from the polls and ensuring a conservative Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Parliament.
Today, it appears history is repeating itself with the state-sponsored violence aimed at disrupting the democratic process. Activists online are again lashing out at the SCAF, an oft-repeated response to the numerous violent clashes that Egypt has witnessed in the past 8 months, beginning with the armed forces massacre of 27 people in front of the state television building, or Maspero, in October.
The military does not want to give up power, despite repeated promises to do just that. By enabling violence against largely peaceful protesters, the military's campaign against democracy is in full swing. The likely result will be a scared population unwilling to elect a moderate candidate.
As Egyptians die once again in the name of change and democracy, the military is using its power irresponsibly. By turning its forces on Egyptians, the military is telling the country that they will not bow to the democratic demands of the 18 days of uprising that ousted the former regime. They are saying to Egyptians that they are in charge and will not succumb to legitimate pressure to leave the country in the hands of the politicians. Democracy is dying at the butt of a gun.
As observers, we must not be blinded by the tear gas, the empty promises from the SCAF leadership who tells us of an "invisible hand" choreography anarchy in the country. Instead we must remain vigilant in revealing to the world, as the activists who put their lives on the line for change and a new Egypt, that the military junta wants power and they want it absolutely.
The January 2011 uprising might have changed the psyche of the Egyptian public, but it has yet to change the manner in which those in power in Egypt attempt to hold onto their power. The murder of Egyptian activists, under the watchful gaze of uniformed soldiers is a warning to all Egyptians that change is not coming.
This week's violence seems to be part of a plan for the military to continue its stranglehold on the country. In the end, we know who the "invisible hand" is and it is the military and its desire to foment distrust in the democratic process in order for it to complete a military coup that began in February 2011 as former President Hosni Mubarak bid adieu to the country.