Daniel Drezner blogged about this in November and said
When a government facing a popular uprising, there is a moment when all of Burke's "pleasing illusions" about power fade away, and the rulers face a choice between using raw coercion or backing down. At this juncture, there is one of three possibilities:
1) The leadership backs down;
2) The leadership cracks down;
3) The leadership tries to crack down but the coercive apparatus splits.
Read the NYT article. Very interesting.