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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
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.

VOA Blogs

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