News / Middle East

Protesters in Cairo Converge on Tahrir Square Monument

In this Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 photo, Egyptian municipality laborers work on a memorial base two days before the commemoration of deadly clashes with security forces in 2011, in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
In this Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 photo, Egyptian municipality laborers work on a memorial base two days before the commemoration of deadly clashes with security forces in 2011, in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott
Tuesday is the anniversary of violent clashes between security forces and protesters near Cairo's Tahrir Square, and opposition groups plan to mark the day with more protests.
 
The observances on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, just off the square, come as the government Monday unveiled the base of a monument on Tahrir itself.

Late Monday, just hours after Egyptian officials held the dedication ceremony for the Tahrir Square monument, hundreds of protesters gathered at the site and defaced the structure with anti-military, anti-government and anti-Muslim Brotherhood graffiti.

The memorial, which at present consists only of its base, is intended to honor those killed in the mass protests that brought down two Egyptian presidents - Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and Mohamed Morsi earlier this year.
 
Some on Tahrir welcomed the renovation of the central Cairo plaza, worn down by nearly three years as a focal point of protest, anger and violence, expressing hope that it can symbolize a new era of stability.
 
But others find galling the symbolism of a military-backed government appearing to claim ownership of a square where hundreds of Egyptians were killed by security forces.

Anger on all sides
 
One writer on Twitter called it “not a memorial.  It is a tombstone".

While pro-democracy advocates are furious about the Tahrir monument, supporters of Morsi's ousted Islamist government are equally angry about a new statue erected in Cairo's Rabaa Square.  Hundreds of Morsi backers were killed when security forces moved on a protest camp there in August, resulting in what Human Rights Watch called the worst unlawful mass killings in Egypt's modern history.
 
The abstract Rabaa sculpture represents security forces and police protecting the Egyptian people.

Calls for answers
 
There have been few investigations of the violence that has wracked the nation in recent years.  Mubarak's trial for his role in the 2011 killings is ongoing, while Morsi is just now seeing proceedings against him for the death of protesters outside the presidential palace last year.
 
But answers are few about the role of security forces, radicals and paid gangs who took part in the killings, including the Mohamed Mahmoud Street killings being marked Tuesday.  
 
One of the nation's leading intellectuals, novelist Alaa al Aswany, says investigation is key.   Before the deeply polarized nation can reconcile, he argues, there must be transitional justice. “You have victims on both sides, and accordingly,” he adds,”you cannot suddenly say, 'Look guys, we must be friends.'”

Video: Alaa al Aswany

Alaa Al Aswany - Egyptian Intellectual, Novelist, Commentatori
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
November 18, 2013 5:02 PM
Tuesday marks the 2nd anniversary of deadly protests on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, off Cairo's Tahrir Square. It was one of several incidents of mass casualties since the 2011 Revolution. But there has been little attempt at finding justice for the victims. Egyptian author and leading intellectual Alaa Al Aswany argues Egypt must have thorough investigations of violence by all sides before any reconciliation between the current military-backed government and its Islamist opponents and others can begin.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs