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BOILING POINT

It is perhaps revolution time again in Egypt. For more than five days now, Egypt has seen non-stop violence that is threatening to spread beyond its foci in three cities bordering the Suez Canal. What began as an anti-government protest on the second anniversary of the downfall of the Hosni Mubarak regime has merged with a larger unrest in these cities over the death sentence for 21 of those accused in the soccer riots of February 2012. The public reaction to the verdict has been so severe not merely because the verdict is perceived to be harsh, but also because it is perceived to be politically motivated. The judgment is seen as a reward for the Ultras of the Al-Ahli club, whose fans were the victims of the 2012 riots, for their support to the Islamists who supplanted the Mubarak regime. The violence is indicative of the lack of public trust in the judiciary and in the Mohammad Mursi government. The second is not surprising, and was indicated by Mr Mursiís narrow margin of victory in the presidential elections. This became more pointed with the outrage that greeted his effort to gather all the power in his hands and then push through the controversial Constitution. The lack of trust in the judiciary is more worrying because it shows that the people are losing faith in an institution that is supposed to champion their interests. Although Egyptís judiciary did not have much going for it as an independent institution during the Mubarak era, it was seen as the last bastion against the Islamist surge during the post-revolution period. The acquittal of officials responsible for the deaths during the Tahrir protests, followed by the recent death sentences, seems to confirm public suspicion about its co-option into the political establishment.

The temperature in Egypt has not yet reached revolution point, but if the Opposition continues to use the disquiet to pursue its narrow objective of toppling the government, it might do so. The unrest is undoubtedly a reflection of the deep divisions in Egyptís society that have been broadened by Mr Mursiís failure to promote the real aims of the revolution above those of his party. But his is still a government by choice. To undo it, instead of helping it fulfil its obligations through a process of peaceful dialogue, is to undo the revolution.