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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid