News / Middle East

Egyptian Groups Unify for Huge Protest Friday

George Ishak, founder of the Kefaya (Enough) Movement and one of the leaders for National Coalition for Change, shouts anti-government slogans during a protest in front of the High Court in Cairo (File Photo - December 12, 2010)
George Ishak, founder of the Kefaya (Enough) Movement and one of the leaders for National Coalition for Change, shouts anti-government slogans during a protest in front of the High Court in Cairo (File Photo - December 12, 2010)
TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin

Egyptian activist groups have agreed to a joint plan for a huge demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday, a move designed to avoid clashes among protesters with different views. 

After meeting for several hours Wednesday, representatives from about two dozen activist groups agreed to work together on Friday. Leaders were concerned about the possibility of clashes among competing groups like the one last Saturday that caused about 300 injuries.

One activist who attended the meeting, George Ishak of the Egyptian Movement for Change, says there was a lot of frank discussion, but in the end the activist leaders reached an agreement.

“All the opposition movements will be in one unit against any division between the opposition movements," said Ishak. "So we will go to this demonstration with one vision.  We will keep our revolution, and we don’t permit anybody to divide us."

Ishak says the group leaders agreed to share one stage at Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday.

A statement issued by one Islamist group, the Gamaa Islamia, confirmed the agreement.  Activists say the meeting agreed that another Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, will provide security on the square.

Among other things, the groups are calling for an end to the emergency law left over from the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. They want public trials for Mubarak and other former officials, and the prosecution of police officers and soldiers accused of attacking protesters during the revolution earlier this year. They also want more power for the civilian government, which now works under the ruling military council.

Various groups have different specific demands, and tension seems to be highest between those who sharply criticize the military council and Gamaa Islamia, which is supporting it.

Earlier in the week, the Egyptian Center for Human Rights called on the activist groups to stop trying to undermine each other, particularly with accusations of foreign influence.  George Ishak says Wednesday’s agreement moves the groups in that direction.

“Nobody has all the reality.  We are different.  We have many visions," said Ishak. "And every group, every element, has his right to show himself without any objection.  Without any talk about ‘you follow a foreign agenda’ or something like that.  It is forbidden.”

Organizers talk about drawing a million people to Tahrir Square Friday, and are arranging pick-up points in various parts of the country.

At the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Emad Gad expects a lot of people to come out, but hopes things will quiet down after that for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to begin on Monday.

“I think it will be a very big demonstration and each side will try to avoid any kind of clashes," said Gad. "And after that, I think they will clean Tahrir Square in order to receive Ramadan.”

But youthful protesters who have been camped out on the square for the last several weeks say they won’t leave until all their demands are met.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid