News / Middle East

Countdown to Tamarrod: A Second Revolution in Egypt?

Cartoon by Italian activist/artist Gianluca Costantini.
Cartoon by Italian activist/artist Gianluca Costantini.
Cecily Hilleary
Thousands of pro-Morsi supporters gathered in Cairo Friday ahead of Sunday, June 30, the first anniversary of the swearing in of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.  That protesters would take to the street was to be expected, but the Morsi opposition is using the occasion to call millions of protesters into the streets nationwide in what has been dubbed the Tamarrod--or “rebellion.”  

The movement says it has collected 15 million signatures on a petition demanding that Morsi step down and new presidential elections be held. 

Since the arrival of Mohamed Morsi to power, the average citizen still has the feeling that nothing has been achieved so far from the revolution goals which were life in dignity, freedom, social justice and national independence. Morsi was a total failure in achieving every single goal, no security has been reestablished and no social security realized, thus and gave clear proof that he is not fit for the governance of such a country as Egypt…Statement on Tamarrod website.

Prominent Morsi opponents--among them National Salvation Front (NSF) leader Mohamed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa, Hamdeen Sabahi and Amr Hamzawy--have endorsed the Tamarrod campaign. The US Embassy announced it would close June 30, and nervous Egyptians have been stocking up on provisions ahead of Sunday.In a nationwide speech Wednesday, Morsi admitted to having made mistakes during his 12-month tenure as president and promised immediate reforms. 

As he spoke, several thousand protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, chanting, “Erhal!”-- or “leave.” 

Morsi’s own Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Leader Farid Ismail appeared on Mehwar TV and warned that what happened in Iraq and Syria is being repeated in Egypt. He reiterated Morsi’s belief that Sunday’s protests have been deliberately planned to ensure Egypt’s instability.

“June 30 protests do not have anything to do with the performance of  in power and the Muslim Brotherhood regime.” – FJP head, Farid Ismail

Mohamed S. is a university professor in Cairo said there is a lot of talk in Egypt of the Deep State driving the protests. 

“Deep State, used in the Egyptian context, means the followers of Mubarak regime who are found in different layers of management inside the state,” said Mohamed.

There appears to be confusion over how, exactly, the military will respond Sunday or whether it is taking any sides.  It has warned that it will intervene rather than allow the country to fall into what defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called a “dark tunnel of conflict,” and he has been moving troops into position around cities across the country.

There are calls in Egypt for the military, which handed power over to  just a year ago, to assume power in Egypt again.  As Mohamed put it to VOA, “If clashes aggravate, the military should take power for a temporary period of four years – a full term.  Then after this period, new presidential elections should be held.”

Independent Al Masry Al Youm columnist Dr. Amr El Shobaki writes that the Army will intervene only “when the political process collapses entirely because of the economic crisis.” However, he added that, “everyone should work on building a political, civil, democratic alternative to Muslim Brotherhood rule.”

Many of those who will participate in June 30 actually voted for Morsi last year. I made one sign the Tamarrod petition.

Egypt’s Daily News writer Thoriaia Abou Bakr offered up practical advice for protesters, and in a sad commentary on the growing problem of sexual harassment of Egypt’s women, offered specific tips for women:

  1. This is a tip for the ladies with long hair: wear it up, and not in a pony tail. If you have the misfortune of being attacked long hair is an easy thing to grab on to, so make sure your hair is safely tucked away…
  2. Harassment might not be avoided, but that does not mean you cannot do anything about it. Scream bloody murder, kick, bite, do whatever you can to get out of the situation… 
  3. Finally, be safe and always have your phone handy. Make sure you have some numbers of institutions that help with arrests and sexual harassment; it might mean your survival. If you have pepper spray, take it with you, you can never be too careful.

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