Twenty-three political forces and movements are calling for a demonstration on Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to honour the "heroes of Mohamed Mahmoud Street" and all those killed since Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed power in February.
Last week, five days of bloody clashes in downtown Cairo between protesters and security forces – including police and army units – left at least 42 demonstrators dead and hundreds injured. Fighting was particularly intense on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, located adjacent to the volatile square.
According to a statement issued by the organisers of Friday’s planned demonstration, the blood of protesters spilt since the revolution – including the blood of those killed in last month’s Maspero clashes – had paved the way for “a society based on freedom and social justice.”
The statement, currently circulating on a number of online social-network pages, added that protesters’ sacrifices on Mohamed Mahmoud Street had forced the SCAF to announce a timetable for the transfer of power to a civil authority and forced the unpopular government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to resign.
Demonstrators on Friday will offer condolences to the revolution’s martyrs from 1pm until 4pm, march with symbolic coffins from 4pm until 6pm, and conduct a memorial ceremony from 6pm until 7:30pm.
The event is being organised by the People’s Socialist Alliance Party, the Revolutionary Socialists, the presidential campaign of Mohamed ElBaradei, the April 6 youth movement, the Maspero Youth Coalition, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Suez Youth Bloc, along with several youth coalitions from Upper Egypt.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Revolutionaries Coalition (ERC) has called for a similar demonstration on Friday to honour those who were killed or who lost their eyesight in the recent clashes, calling it the rally for the “eyes of freedom.”
Coalition spokesperson Amer Al-Wakeel said demonstrators planned to wear blindfolds in solidarity with those who lost their eyesight in the Mohamed Mahmoud skirmishes, during which police snipers allegedly targeted protesters’ eyes.
The ERC said it had invited activist Ahmed Harara, who lost one eye during the January uprising and the other during the recent clashes, to attend the planned event.
The coalition will hold a press conference on Thursday at the Cairo-based Crescent of Freedom Institution to present photos of those injured in the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, medical reports confirming the use of internationally banned toxic gases against protesters, and accounts by injured protesters currently receiving medical treatment at Cairo’s Qasr El-Aini Hospital.
Activists are also planning a feeder march in the morning, from Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque in Cairo’s Mohandeseen district to Tahrir Square as part of the day’s activities.
In Alexandria, where fierce battles between protesters and security forces also took place last week, activists are planning a march from El-Qaed Ibrahim mosque to Rasafa Square starting 1pm.
Early Thursday, would-be presidential contender Mohamed ElBaradei expressed his support for the event in a tweet to his followers.