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)
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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More