Friday, January 25, 2013

Mass Demonstrations to Emphasize Demands of the Egyptian Revolution on Second Anniversary

Egypt Revolution's 2nd anniversary: Rallies, marches and street-cleaning drives

Zeinab El Gundy , Friday 25 Jan 2013
Ahram Online

Revolutionary groups, Islamist parties, interior ministry and Egypt's armed forces all plan to commemorate Tahrir Square uprising's second anniversary in their own way

The second anniversary of Egypt's 25 January Revolution this Friday comes amid an unprecedentedly charged and polarised political atmosphere. Political parties and movements from across the spectrum – both Islamist and non-Islamist – have made plans for the day ranging from protest rallies and marches to public street-cleaning campaigns.

On Sunday, 16 revolutionary parties and groups announced plans to mark the occasion with countrywide demonstrations. These groups say they will continue to push for longstanding revolutionary goals – namely 'freedom, bread and social justice' – and combat perceived political monopolisation by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Friday's rallies are slated to begin immediately following noon prayers. Several marches will set out for Tahrir Square from different areas of Cairo and Giza, including Helwan, Shubra, Al-Zawaya, Imbaba and Mohandeseen's Mostafa Mahmoud Square. Another march has also been planned from points in Cairo to the Presidential Palace.

Additional rallies are also expected in several governorates, including Alexandria, the Red Sea, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Assuit, Port Said, Suez and Sharqiya.

Each rally will reportedly have its own theme. The march from Imbaba to Tahrir Square, for example, will condemn inflation and 'despotism,' while the planned march from Maadi will oppose the alleged 'Brotherhoodisation' of the state.

Among the parties and groups participating in Friday's planned protests are the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Popular Current, the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Free Egyptians party, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Maspero Youth Coalition.

The April 6 Youth Movement (Ahmed Maher Front) has also declared its intention to take part in the planned demonstrations. "This 25 January anniversary will not be a celebratory one, but rather a new revolutionary wave to complete the revolution's goals," said movement founder Ahmed Maher.

April 6 demands the amendment of Egypt's new constitution and the implementation of electoral promises made to liberal forces by President Mohamed Morsi.

The Strong Egypt Party has also announced its intention to participate with the aim of pressing for the realisation of outstanding revolutionary demands. On Wednesday, the party announced that its leader, moderate-Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, would lead a march from Giza's Al-Istaqma Mosque.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), meanwhile, declared that they would – unlike last year – refrain from taking part in either celebrations or protests. Rather, the group plans to launch a campaign from 24 January to 5 February aimed at providing free healthcare and public sanitation services.

The Brotherhood has reportedly directed its young cadres to protect its headquarters – and those of the FJP – following recent attacks on the group's offices by unknown assailants. Brotherhood vice chairman Mahmoud Ezzat has stated that the group would "not accept and will pre-empt any attempt to sow violence or chaos" on the occasion of the uprising's second anniversary.

The Salafist Nour Party, meanwhile, announced that it, too, would not participate in any anniversary activities. "The country's circumstances cannot bear any more protests or celebrations," said spokesman Gamal El-Marra. "We face many challenges that require serious work so as to rebuild the state after decades of sabotage and neglect."

Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar told Ahram Online: "We had a plan to hold scientific exhibitions in public squares across the country for young innovators to display their inventions, but, unfortunately, the current state of political polarisation in Egypt has made this impossible."

Tarek El-Zomor, for his part, the prominent jihadist leader of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya and its Reconstruction and Development Party, warned Egypt's secular opposition against attempts to use the occasion to bring down the Morsi administration.

"If the president is forced out of power through illegitimate means, then the Muslim Brotherhood – who are known for their peaceful nature – will have to step aside to make way for revolutionary Islamists who will fight the anarchists and secularists," El-Zomor said on Thursday.

The opposition National Salvation Front – which critics say has links to figures associated with the ousted Mubarak regime – claims that it is not staging Friday's rallies to force Morsi to step down, but merely to protest his policies.

Meanwhile, questions remain as the role that police, especially the Central Security Forces (CSF), will play in Friday's planned demonstrations.

The interior ministry has said it would secure public property across the country, including ministries, embassies and political party offices – including those of the FJP.

According to local press reports, the CSF will deploy near police stations and prisons due to fears that these might be attacked on Friday.

In an official statement issued Thursday, the interior ministry called on the public to pursue only peaceful activities. It also urged political parties and protest groups to refrain from attacking security forces and report any "suspected infiltrators" who attempt to incite violence.

Nor will Egypt's armed forces participate in any anniversary celebrations. Rather, the military has announced that it would use the occasion to honour officers and soldiers injured during the revolution and its aftermath.

According to a military spokesman, Egypt's armed forces will not play a role in securing state institutions during Friday's planned demonstrations, leaving these responsibilities instead to the interior ministry.

Egypt protesters torch police car as clashes intensify near Tahrir Square

Ahram Online, Thursday 24 Jan 2013

Three Egyptian policemen wounded and tens of protesters unconscious as clashes intensify in Cairo's downtown street Qasr El-Aini, following protesters bringing down police wall

Clashes intensified between riot police and protesters who broke down parts of the concrete block wall at Cairo's downtown street Qasr El-Aini, leaving three policemen injured and tens of protesters unconscious on Thursday.

The three policemen were transferred to the hospital.

The Police arrested two protesters who took part in bringing down the wall in Qasr El-Aini near Tahrir Square on Thursday afternoon. Some protesters torched a police vehicle in front of Egypt's High Court while others have been marching down 26 July Street in downtown Cairo.

Earlier today, Egyptian riot police used tear gas with tens of protesters who brought down the wall that bans protesters from reaching the Egyptian Parliament and Cabinet Council building. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails on police forces during the clashes.

In response many protesters moved to Cairo's Tahrir Square to avoid the tear gas.

The wall was built in November 2012 during Cairo's downtown street Mohamed Mahmoud's commemoration where clashes took place between Egypt's Central Security Forces (CSF) and protesters.

Around 47 peaceful protesters were killed in November 2012 during prolonged street clashes that erupted after Egypt's CSF violently dispersed a sit-in in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

ElBaradei calls for Egyptians to protest on revolution's anniversary

Ahram Online, Thursday 24 Jan 2013

Liberal Constitution Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei calls for protests to demand fulfillment of revolution's goals

Constitution Party founder Mohamed ElBaradei has called on people to participate in protests to mark the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.

"We have to make sure poor people are able to eat, sick people can find health care, children can get educated, and everyone is treated with dignity," ElBaradei said via a video message on YouTube.

He also stressed that achieving those demands will take time.

"I am going to protest on Friday because we are all Egyptians, not Salafists, not Muslim Brothers, not Copts, not liberals, I am going there to reunite Egyptians and demand a constitution for all Egyptians," he added.

Opposition protests to mark the revolution's second anniversary will be called "No to the Brotherhood state; the revolution continues."

Anti-Brotherhood marches called for 2nd revolution anniversary

Yasmine Wali, Sunday 20 Jan 2013

Sixteen political forces to march against 'Brotherhoodisation' of Egyptian state on second anniversary of Egypt's January 2011 uprising

Protests to mark the second anniversary of the January 25 Revolution on Friday will be called "No to the Brotherhood state; the revolution continues."

During a press conference at the Journalists Syndicate on Sunday, sixteen political forces said they would continue their battle for bread, dignity, social justice and freedom, and combat the "Brotherhoodisation" of the state.

Ramy Sabry of Popular Socialist Alliance Party said, "In every governorate protesters will go to the governor's office and announce their rejection of the Brotherhood's authority."

"Protesters will meet at four main meeting points in Cairo and all will then march to Tahrir Square."

People will meet after Friday prayer in Shubra to call for "justice," in Imbaba to oppose "price inflation prices and despotism," in Ramses to call for "a state of law," and in Maadi to reject the "Brotherhoodisation of the state."

"The revolutionary road is the only route we have. We cannot depend on the upcoming election because the Brotherhood government is controlling it and it will be a political game," the protest organisers said.

Among the political forces that called for the protests are the Constitution Party, Popular Current, Socialist Popular Alliance, Kefaya, April 6 (the Democratic Front), Free Egyptians Party, Maspero Youth Coalition, and Nasserist Karama Party.

Port Said Ultras storm seaport on eve of uprising anniversary

Ahram Online , Thursday 24 Jan 2013

Two days before Port Said massacre verdict and one day before uprising's second anniversary, hundreds of Ultras storm seaport in anticipation of unjust court ruling

Hundreds of activists, reportedly members of the 'Ultras Green Eagles' (hardcore fans of Port Said's Masry football club), have stormed Port Said's seaport on the eve of the Egyptian revolution's two-year anniversary.

The incident comes in advance of a scheduled 26 January court session in which a verdict is expected to bedelivered regarding Egypt's worst-ever football-related disaster.

Following a league game in Port Said Stadium in February of last year, more than 70 fans of the Ahly football club were killed – allegedly by supporters of the rival Masry club.

The scheduled sentencing, however, may be postponed due to the emergence of "new evidence."

On their official Facebook page, the Ultras Green Eagles vowed to escalate further in the event of an "unjust" court verdict.

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