News / Middle East

Protesters Rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Anniversary of Deaths

Protests Mark Anniversary in Egypti
X
November 20, 2013 6:39 AM
Tuesday was 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.
Watch related video from VOA
Reuters
Hundreds of Egyptians gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday to commemorate the deaths of protesters killed two years ago and call for reforms, with many in the crowd calling for the power of the security forces to be curbed.
 
Supporters of army chief General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who promised stability and free elections when he overthrew elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July, also showed up at Tahrir but were chased away by activists.
 
The army and the police have been lionized in the press and public since the fall of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood backers. Many Egyptians believe Sisi would become president if he runs for office.
 
But the protesters who gathered in Tahrir said the goals of the popular uprising which toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 had not been met and accused the security forces of acting mostly with impunity in the intervening two years.
 
“Down with the military regime,” the protesters chanted. “We want to protect our country from oppression.”
 
They criticized the bloody crushing of a pro-Morsi protest camp at Rabaa al-Adawiya in Cairo in August.
 
At one point, security forces fired teargas to try to disperse the crowd, but they were unsuccessful and finally melted away, apparently hoping to avoid clashes on a sensitive anniversary.
 
“I am not for the Brotherhood. But I sympathize with them because of what happened at Rabaa. It was a horrible massacre. There was more freedom under Morsi,” said Salma, a high school student who joined the demonstrations.
 
“The Interior Ministry is stronger than it was before,” she said, referring to the ministry which oversees the police.
 
The overthrow of Mubarak raised hopes among Egyptians that they would enjoy more political freedoms after three decades of iron-fisted rule.
 
But Egypt has stumbled through its transition. During his troubled year in office, Morsi alienated many Egyptians who accused him of trying to give himself sweeping powers and mismanaging the economy.
 
At the same time, the army takeover has raised questions about Egypt's commitment to democracy.
 
“We have a president in name but we know Sisi is really in charge. We want freedom and democracy and the military don't know those things,” said university student Marina Samir, 19.
 
Security forces have killed hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members since Morsi was toppled, drawing condemnation from human rights groups. Thousands have been arrested, including top leaders. The group has been outlawed.
 
Hadiga al-Hanawy, among about 1,000 demonstrators moving through central Cairo towards the Tahrir area late on Tuesday,  said: “We do not want Sisi as president. He is a strong defense minister and he should remain in that position. We want a civilian leader.”
 
Back to the old days?
 
Critics of the government say it is returning Egypt to the repression of the Mubarak era, which it denies.
 
The uncertainty has hammered investment and tourism in the country, an important U.S. ally which was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel and has control of the Suez Canal, the quickest sea route between Asia and Europe.
 
Billions of dollars from Gulf Arab allies have kept the economy afloat but critics say the government needs to come up with a long-term plan to improve finances.
 
The protesters on Tuesday were commemorating the events of November 2011, when demonstrations against the military council ruling the country at the time turned into running street battles in which police used live ammunition, killing 42.
 
A banner featured people the protesters felt had “betrayed” the revolution - Mubarak loyalists, the military council which led Egypt for 16 months after his fall and the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Some activists wrote on social media about their desire to overthrow what they call the new “military junta”, a reference to the interim government installed by the army after Morsi's removal.
 
On nearby Mohamed Mahmoud Street, the scene of the 2011 clashes, a wall that street artists used to express revolutionary ideas was covered in coats of paint resembling the pattern of military fatigues.
 
On Facebook, artists explained that the wall “got a new coat of paint last night. Like the military trying to hide the truth, all the graffiti is now hidden under pink camouflage.”
 
In red letters, the words “Kill, undress, and detain” are written in Arabic.
 
On Monday, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi visited Tahrir to lay the cornerstone of a planned memorial in the square.
 
The government says the monument will honor the “martyrs” not only of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, but also of what it calls the “June 30 revolution,” referring to the date of the mass disturbances that precipitated Morsi's ouster.
 
Activists say it insults the memory of protesters killed.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid