News / Africa

Braving Scorching Heat, Egyptians Rally to Press for Reforms

Protesters gather in front of a stage in Tahrir Square, July 15, 2011
Protesters gather in front of a stage in Tahrir Square, July 15, 2011

Several thousand people gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for another protest after mid-day prayers Friday, but the numbers were nowhere near the ‘million-man march’ some activists had called for, or the tens of thousands who came out last Friday.

A small group marching around the Tahrir Square chanted, “We are not tired of protesting. Freedom is not free.” And referring to the former regime of ex-President Hosni Mubarak they said, “We have removed the head but the tail remains.”

Al Pessin's Cairo report:

The chants reflect the feelings of the relatively small but dedicated group that continues to come to the square to push for faster reforms, especially open trials for former regime officials and police officers accused of killing demonstrators.

In the center of the square, tents house several hundred people who have been involved in a week-long sit-in. They say they will stay until their demands are met. A few say they have been on a hunger strike for the past week.

One of the hunger strikers argues with a senior opposition politician who has come to try to convince them to end the strike.

Osama al-Ghazali Harb speaks to protesters on Tahrir Square, July 15, 2011
Osama al-Ghazali Harb speaks to protesters on Tahrir Square, July 15, 2011

Ossama al-Ghazali Harb, head of the Democratic Front, tells the man the hunger strikers have captured the attention of the nation and helped rekindle the protests, and he promises to carry their message to the ruling military council.

Later, Harb tells VOA why the protesters returned to this square, and others around the country, five months after they forced the end of the nearly 30-year tenure of Mubarak.

“After five months, nothing happened. This is what is the main cause of this anger and this re-gathering in the square," said Harb. "They want some concrete results of the revolution. All that happened is they got rid of Mubarak, but the regime continues. The people understand what revolution means.  Revolution means radical change in the system. Where is this radical change?”

In a tent not far away, Sherif al-Rouby, a leader of another opposition group, the April 6 Movement, acknowledges that the interim government has done some things to respond to the protesters demands, including firing more than 600 senior police officers and promising a cabinet shakeup by next week.

He said the 25 main opposition groups recognize that the government has made some new promises, but he says they have agreed that the sit-in and the protests will continue until they see action.

He called for an open trial for Mubarak, a ban on military trials for civilians, a timetable for the end of military rule and a decision on minimum and maximum wage limits.

Protesters gathered around as a young boy, sitting on a man’s shoulders, led them in song.

The boy sings, “Tahrir was a square, now it is the address of martyrs. At Tahrir, the nation made a revolution.”

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs