“Bread…freedom…social justice” were the demands of the Egyptian Revolution that erupted on 25 January two years ago, and led to the stepping down of the then President Hosny Mubarak 18 days later, on 11 February
“Bread…freedom…social justice” were the demands of the Egyptian Revolution that erupted on 25 January two years ago, and led to the stepping down of the then President Hosny Mubarak 18 days later, on 11 February.
Two years on the Revolution, Egyptians’ core economic and social demands remain unfulfilled; in fact, their lives have become a spiral of failed hopes and severely declined conditions.
To mark the second anniversary of the revolution, secular political parties and movements have been holding rallies and marches which started once Friday noon prayers were over. The marches moved from various spots in Cairo and Giza, and included thousands upon thousands of demonstrators who then converged on Tahrir Square in central Cairo. They moved form the districts of Helwan, Shubra, al-Zawaya, Imbaba and Mohandeseen’s Mustafa Mahmoud Square.
Rallies were also launched in many regions all over Egypt; the strongest being in Alexandria, Ismailya, the Red Sea governorate, Kafr al-Sheikh, Assiut, Minya, Port Said, Suez and Sharqiya.
Coptic youth movements joined in; notably the Maspero Youth Union and the Coalition of Egypt’s Copts. Several women’s demonstrations also joined. Among the most prominent secular movements rallying were the al-Dustour (the Constitution) Party, the Egyptian People Stream, the Socialist People’s Alliance, the Free Egyptians Party, and the Revolutionary Socialists.
Everywhere, the same slogan was chanted: “Down, Down, the Murshid’s (The Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, MB) rule”, and “No to the Ikhwanisation (Ikhwan is Arabic for [Muslim] Brothers) of the media. The protestors denounced the Islamist rule and called for bringing it down; they demanded that Premier Hisham Qandil should resign, and the Islamist constitution should be revoked.
In many places the demonstrations turned violent. In several spots, fires erupted. The security forces attempted to control the situation with tear gas. According to figures by the Health Ministry, some 260 injured were moved to different hospitals. The numbers of injured, however, appear to be rising by the minute.
The Qasr al-Dubara Evangelical Church in the vicinity of Tahrir Square had set up a field hospital, but the heavy fumes from the tear gas made it impossible to operate.
Protestors blocked the underground metro at the major stations of Sadat and Abdel-Nasser, blocking thus the service.
For their part, the Islamists were in a celebratory mood. Several MB and Salafi movements had planned celebrations, but many had to put them off due to the general anger and unrest.
As the demonstrations continued, there has been a strong call to hold a sit-in in Tahrir till the constitution is revoked.
Reported by Maged Samir, Nasser Sobhy, and Iman Seddiq
Photos by Nasser Sobhy
25 January 2013