Last Update 23:16
Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Live Updates: the Friday of Reclaiming the revolution as it unfolds

Ahram Online provides a blow-by-blow account of a nation-wide protest action, its centre in iconic Tahrir Square, aimed at bringing the Egyptian revolution back into the hands of the people

Ahram Online , Friday 30 Sep 2011
Tahrir at 1pm, 30 September, anti-SCAF rally (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Views: 12474

20:27 According to eyewitnesses in Abasseya neighbourhood, the majority of protesters are heading back to Tahrir now instead of going to the Ministry of Defence, possibly avoiding a bloody confrontation with military police and security forces. 

20:20 Around a 1000 protesters reach state TV headquarters at Maspero, now chanting "People want the cleansing of media."

20:10 According to eye witnesses the streets leading to the ministry of defense have been closed off by security forces.

20:00 March from Tahrir to ministry of defense reached Abasseya now. Reports of intense security presence and a SCAF supporting march on its way from helioplis to counter the anti military march. On twitter many activists and figures continue to warn against this march and the possible violence it may lead to.

19:10 The April 6th Youth Movement has released a statement on its official Facebook page, denying any connection to the march currently heading to the Ministry of Defence in Heliopolis, Cairo. The movement distanced itself from the marchers, stating that it did not call for the march and that unidentified people are using its name and reputation. The group maintains that it called for peaceful protests. 

The movement also made known that it never left the square, asserting that it would pull out by 7pm. 

A small march took off from Tahrir Square a couple of hours ago, heading toward the Defence Ministry. Most political activists have aired their concerns about the march, fearing clashes would likely result between the security forces and the protesters. Many have pointed to the military council's warning, in communiqué No. 75, against any attack on army units or buildings.

According to eye witnesses on Twitter, the military have set up security precautions – reportedly consisting of army personnel carriers – near El-Khalifa El-Mamoun Street to prevent marchers from advancing to the Ministry of Defence.

18:49 Protesters gathered before the state TV building in Maspero are heading to the prosecutor general's office to protest Aswan sectarian attacks on Egyptian Christians. 18:43 Reports of a march heading from Tahrir to the ministry of defense now. This is opposed by several activists who are warning against such a step as it may justify violence from the part of the military and police. Already, the ruling military council has warned in its 75th communique that any march towards military buildings will be met with firm and violent reaction.

18:40 Revolutionary groups will meet at 8 pm to decide weather or not they will support a minority for a sit-in.

18:05 No to military trials posters, banners and stickers are now seen all over the streets of Cairo. Activists made sure to stick them on hundreds of walsl, every lamp posts and buildings on the streets of Mohandesin, Giza, Dokki, Shubra and wherever the feeder marchers heading to Tahrir have passed.

18:00: In Alexandria, protesters have split, as roughly 2000 decide to remain in front of the northern military zone, where tensions briefly peaked an hour earlier, while several thousand others begin marching towards Cleopatra district. Smaller marches are joining in as the march progresses.

17:25 Several hundred protesters have begun a second march from Tahrir square. They are heading toward the High Court and State TV bulding Maspero.

17:15 Protesters in Tahrir Square have turned their sights on Syria, chanting against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his ruling Baath Party. Among the chants: "Go, go Bashar".

17:00 Several hundred protesters leave Tahrir to march on the offices of the Cabinet, on Kasr El-Aini street, calling for the release of activists arrested in the clampdown that followed the attack on the Israeli embassy on 9 September. Both revolutionary movements and human rights groups insist most of those arrested on the streets following the attack on the embassy were arrested haphazardly and had not been involved in the incident in any way.

16:40 The 6th of April Movement led a march of some 3,500 protesters from the Sayeda Zeinab district to Tahrir Square. They demanded that parliamentary electionsbe held using only the proportional list voting system, and also demanded that the emergency law be abolished. They also slammed the Muslim Brotherhood for refusing to join today’s protest, and carried banners with the slogan “Where are the Muslim Brotherhood so that they can come and see the Egyptian people [in the square].”

16:20 Six protesters, who were injured during the 18 days uprising against Mubarak, have announced that they will begin a hunger strike in Tahrir Square today. The injured protesters are complaining that the Egyptian government has failed to provide them with proper medical treatment, as it had pledged repeatedly since the ousting of the former president on 11 February. They also voiced their anger at the testimony given by Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in the trial of Mubarak, in which he reportedly denied that Mubarak had given order to shoot at the peaceful protesters, of whom around 1000 were killed during the 18-day uprising, and thousands were injured.

16:15 Potential Islamist presidential candidate, Selim El-Awwa is in Tahrir, speaking to crowds. During past months El-Awwa had seemed consistent in his support of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and in his criticism of on-going protest action. Today, however, El-Awwa called on Egyptians to hold a Tahrir protest every Friday, in order to achieve the objectives of the revolution.

He lamented that the democracy to which the Egyptian revolution aspired remained unrealized, especially with repressive legislation being enacted in recent weeks.

El-Awwa, nevertheless, welcomed what he described as the “objective decisions” taken by SCAF, and went on to thank the military council for referring to trial the police and army officers captured on video as they tortured suspects in a police station in Dakahlia.

15:50 Three separate protests have broken out in the city of Port Said. The protesters are demanding an end to military trials for civilians, and the repeal of emergency law. Sources on the site tell Ahram Online there are very few Islamists in the Port Said demonstrations.

15:45 A 50-man march led by Sheikh Hossam Abul-Bukhari, the general coordinator of the New Muslim Coalition, demanding that the military council swiftly hand over power to a civilian authority is also at the square.

15:30 Protests in Alexandria are continuing to escalate. Earlier today a protest had started from the El-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque and was joined later by another protest coming from the Maharem Bek district. Both groups then headed to the Northern Military Zone - army headquarters - in the district of Sidi Gaber west of Alexandria.

Meanwhile protesters from the Revolutionary Youth Coalition demonstrated in the Karmouz and El Raml districts of Alexandria. In the Bakous district of Alexandria; a protest was held by the Youth for Justice and Freedom movement, while members from the 6th of April Movement and the Democratic Front for Justice demonstrated in the El-Asafra district.

15:10 Around 50,000 people are now estimated to be in Tahrir square. Supporters the 6 of April Movement as well as the newly registered leftist party, the Popular Socialist Alliance, are among revolutionary and liberal forces leading chants in the square against emergency laws.

A group of 6 of April supporters have entered the square coming in from Kasr El-Aini street where they were holding a protest before the cabinet offices. The protesters in the March were chanting anti-SCAF slogans and asking for Field Marshall Tantawi to step down.

A feeder march from the workibg class area of Shubra is minutes away from reaching the square.

15:05 Popular Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas tweets from Tahrir of a street vendor who's laid out posters of Che Guevara, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Anwar El-Sadat, as well as Muslim Brotherhood caps.

15:00 Protesters are holding a banner saying “the bottom line is: we will no longer be ruled by USA or EU, though we sincerely love their peoples.”

14:55 100 trade unionists are getting ready to march from Tawfiqiya square in downtown Cairo onto Tahrir after a meeting at the office of well-known labour lawyer Khaled Ali. The trade union leaders had collected at Ali's office for an emergency meeting held upon news of the death of Public Transport worker Sayed Ahmed Mohamed. Mohamed had been on a hunger strike as part of the two-week old industrial action by the Transport Authority workers. The workers from public and private sector companies are calling for a living minimum wage, repeal of all laws against strikes, permanent positions for all temp workers, and renationalization of public sector companies privatised under Mubarak.

14:50 A march which began in the Cairo district of Shubra after the Friday prayers has just arrived in Tahrir Square.

14:47 A thousand protesters, still picking up numbers, are gathering on 30th street in downtown Port Said, at the northern mouth of the Suez Canal. Protesters are chanting: "Down Down with Military rule" and "The People - not SCAF - are the only Red line".

Organizers of the action in Port Said include supporters of 6 of April Movement, Coalition of Revolutionary Forces and several other left and liberal groups.

14:45 US two time Academy Award Winner Sean Penn has joined the protests in Tahrir Square today, much to the delight of revolutionaries both in the square and on Twitter. Penn told AhramOnline that he came to the square to support the Egyptian people in their quest for freedom.

"The world is inspired by the call for freedom by the courageous revolution of Egypt for its freedom. Clearly that is not a completion overnight, there are still struggles forward, there are constitutional issues, there is....a transition of power from the military to the people. So in solidarity with our brave Egyptian brothers and we are here to support their freedom.”

14:35 With today's protest held against a backdrop of wide scale industrial action, the Egyptian Left and labour movements are making their presnce felt on Tahrir Square and in the marches leading into it from various areas of the capital. The march from Giza, about to enter Tahrir, includes a large number of trade unionists hoisting banner indicating their industries, such as Misr Pharmaceuticals, Armant Sugar, and the public transport workers, who have been on strike for nearly a week. They are chanting against emergency law and military rule, as well as raising social demands for better wages and conditions for Egyptian workers and victory for the striking public transport workers.

14:00 The march coming from Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in Mohandesin has picked up thousands of new protesters along its route towards Tahrir. It is currently passing through Dokki district, our correspondent on the scene says. Protesters are carrying hundreds of signs denouncing emergency law and military trials. Young people are posting political stickers on walls and lamp posts, and drawing graffitti anywhere they can. The protesters are closing in on Tahrir square.

13:54 Several thousand protesters have begun a march in Alexandria from the El Qaed Ibrahim Mosque. The group includes the Coalition of Alexandria Workers, the Free Egyptians Party, the Front of  Socialist Forces and the local branch of El Nahda Salafist Party. The group also included the workers of the Masr El Amereya, who chanted “revolution in all of Egypt’s factories,” and “no privatization after today.” The protesters are also chanting against military trials and the reactivation of the emergency law. It’s raining in Alexandria at the moment, as the protesters move towards the district of Sidi Gaber, where they will be joined by other protests emerging from mosques across the city.

13:53 A Salafist group is calling for the release of Egyptian Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a prison sentence in the US for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

13:50 An AhramOnline reporter at the scene says that Islamists could be seen on the square in fairly large numbers, despite the boycott of the protest announced by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Daawa group.

13:45  Hamdy El Fakharani, the Egyptian citizen who successfully filed a lawsuit against Hisham Talaat Mustafa for illegally obtaining state land for the real-estate project, Madinaty, has been addressing the crowds in Tahrir on one of the various podiums. El Fakaharani who has now filed another lawsuit against Ezz El-Dekheila Steel Company owned by former heavyweight in the ousted National Democratic Party, Ahmed Ezz. El Fakharani wants the company to be renationalized. However, he now says that supporters of both Ezz and Mustafa are sending him death threats and asked the crowds to collect before the State Council Tuesday morning where the hearing of the Ezz case is set to take place, in order to help protect him.

13:43 Numbers of protesters in Tahrir are rising steadily, says our correspondent on the square, as a constant stream of demonstrators continue to come in from various entry points, particularly from across the 19th century Kasr El-Nil Bride, connecting central Cairo to Gezira island, and across it to the western bank of the Nile.

A notable feature of this Friday's protest, says our correspondent, is the prevalence of banners, t-shirts and posters identifying the political party/movement identity of the protesters. Clusters of protesters could be seen congregating at various points on the square, holding banners of such political groupings as the Islamist Wasat Party, the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, the Socialist Alliance Party as well as such Salafist groups that did not boycott the protest.

Not only banners. Various political groups are distributing leaflets and newspapers setting out their position on pushing the Egyptian revolution forward. A slight young woman coming into the square was carrying - with great difficulty - a huge bundle of a newspaper called "The Socialist". Our correspondent's offer of help was politely and proudly refused however.

13:30 Giza march circles Cairo University square. Hundreds chant:

Bread, Freedom and social equality.

The Ministry of Interior are a buch of thugs!

13:23 #30sep #Alex reports that hundreds of marchers are picking up numbers in the working class district of Bakous, Alexandria. Protesters are chanting against SCAF Price increases, demanding a living minimum wage and a cap on earnings for rich Egyptians.

13:20 Hundreds have left Al-Istiqama mosque in Giza square , started marching towards Tahrir.  Protesters are energetically chanting against SCAF repression: Raise your voice and you would live forever!

13:12 Protesters are chanting against field marshal Tantawi, the head of SCAF.

13:11 Supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail are calling for an'Islamic' state from the podium of the potential presidential candidate.

13:09 Supporters of the Islamist Wasat party are among members of popular committees checking Identification cards at several entrances to Tahrir.

13:05 Several thousands are already in Tahrir. Hundreds are entering Tahrir square from all directions. Judging by the flow, the square is expected to fill up in a couple hours.

12:58 Protesters have finished prayers at Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in Mohandesin and gathering outside of mosque to get ready to march to Tahrir. People carry signs that oppose emergency laws and military trials.

12:43 As prayer ends, protesters chant against the emergency law and the military council. The protesters are urging the council to respect its previous promises and promptly hand over power to a civilian authority.

12:28 Shaheen is criticising the government and SCAF urging them to pass Treason law in order to prevent former members of the NDP from reentering political life. He calls for the complete abolishment of emergency laws. He slams amendment for election laws recently passed by SCAF as undemocratic.

12:22 Imam Mazhar Shaheen has started his Friday sermon minutes ago. Several thousand people have spread around Shaheen's podium to listen. The imam called on the government to press for social justice. He demnded that the cabinet of Essam Sharaf renationalize factories that were privatized under the regime of former dictator mubarak such as cement plants.

11:35 Organizers in Alexandria sent an urgent tweet on #30sep #Alex advising protesters headed to El-Asafra meeting point for one of the feeder marches for protests in the city to head to Tahrir mosque instead. Organizers say that military police soldiers are preventing people from gathering in El-Asafra.

11:30 Egyptian Sheikh Mazhar Shaheen is expected to give today’s Friday sermon in Tahrir Square before leading the Friday prayers. Shaheen, who has led the prayers in practically all of the Friday protests since the revolution began, is dubbed the “Imam of the Egyptian revolution,” because of his fiery sermons in support of the revolution and its basic demands. Shahine, notably, does not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist group, while his sermons have a distinctly secular and democratic flavour.

11:15 Members of different political parties and youth coalitions who have endorsed today's rally in Tahrir have set up 5 large sound-stadium's in the square to allow activists and organizers to address the crowd throughout the day.

Supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail, a well known Salafist and a leading potential-candidate for president set up their own podium. The main podium in the square is playing Quran verses out of speakers in preparation for Friday prayers ceremony in the square.

11:00 Activists have been circulating an article written by activist Nawara Negm, an outspoken critic of SCAF's policies, in which she chides Egypt's ruling council for issuing Communiqué 75.

Negm says that protesters and many in the Egyptian public have tired of the 'dated army tactic'  of insinuating that protesters going to Tahrir intend violence - or could be easily manipulated by others who do. This is meant to divert attention from people's demands, she says.

10:45 Police and army units in the governorate of Suez have moved in to secure vital public institutions such as banks and the central offices of the Suez Canal Authority. Last night, SCAF issued communique #75 warning the public that it will not tolerate any attacks on the army or public installations.

10:30 Hundreds of protesters have gathered already in downtown Cairo's Tahrir Square, demanding that the country's ruling generals repeal emergency law, scrap a recently issued parliamentary election law which is nearly unanimously rejected by the country's political parites and movements.

Protesters found hundreds others have slept into the square as of last night to prepare for today's rally dubbed by organizers "Friday of Reclaiming the Revolution". A number of platforms and huge sound systems have been erected around the sprawling square, in preparation for today's protest, expected to be attended by tens of thousands of protesters.

While more than 30 political movements and parties have supported the protest call, the Muslim Brotherhood has yet again announced it will not be taking part. Most Salafist movements also have said they would be boycotting today's protest.

The protest will not really get underway however before 12 noon, when thousands of protesters will be marching onto Tahrir square from various districts around the capital, including the Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in Mohandessin district, famous for its having been the gathering site for pro-Mubarak hooligans and supporters; most notably it was the launching pad for the 2 and 3 February attacks on the Tahrir protesters dubbed the Battle of the Camel.

Tens of thousands are expected to come out in protests in Suez city, Alexandria and elsewhere around the country.

Today's nation-wide protest action comes in the wake of an unprecedented strike wave which has included public transport workers, school teachers, public hospital doctors and a host of industrial workers around the country.

Meanwhile, the US embassy released a statement last night warning US citizens residing in Egypt that today’s mass protests may turn violent and advised them to avoid Tahrir Square. The statement said that even though most protests in Tahrir Square usually have a peaceful nature, there is a chance there will be violent clashes as a result of the political turmoil facing the nation lately.

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