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Friday, 07 August 2020

Thousands more join Tahrir sit-in after disappointing Egypt PM speech

A speech yesterday by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has left protesters angry, vowing to continue their sit-in of Tahrir Square

Salma Shukrallah , Sunday 10 Jul 2011
Tahrir sit-in July
Young protesters before their tent in Tahrir Saturday night (Photo Mai Shaheen)
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Views: 3862

Although the working week has started, the numbers participating in the Tahrir Square sit-in are increasing. Those spending the night have at least doubled, and despite the heat more continued coming in the morning. It is estimated that some 20,000 people spent Saturday night on the square.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s speech given Saturday night failed to stasify protestors, even stirring greater anger. “Sharaf’s speech did not say anything new and shows that no demands will be met,” said Heba, an independent sit-in participant.

Sherif, an engineer, in his late twenties, says he never participated in the Tahrir demonstrations before, but decided to come late Saturday night because he was so angered by the speech.

“His speech sounded like one of these tricks of the old government. He did not even give a timeline for his promise of suspending police officers accused [of killing protesters]. It is unacceptable that police officers accused of murder are still left on duty. He claimed that the prosecution is overloaded and that they cannot dedicate a number of courts to the prosecution of those responsible for killing the revolutionaries, although they dedicated a court before for the killing of the Lebanese singer Suzzane Tamim."

“If this government is unable to take serious steps it should resign,” added Sherif.

Demonstrators who continued occupying Tahrir Square took shifts securing the main entrances and searching passersby — mostly employees working in the Mogamma (a government office complex on the square) and the downtown area. One woman securing the entrance at Kasr El-Nil Bridge said several attempts were made to smuggle weapons into the square. She said that she alone had uncovered knives in the bag of one woman who pretended to be ill while attempting to enter the square to avoid being searched. Some protestors are worried about attempts to attack the square and disperse the sit-in.

Sunday morning a group of protesters kept employees and the public from entering the Mogamma, as was the case during the 18 days before the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, although the decision to do so was not met with agreement from all sit-in participants. The employees who were kept from entering their offices continued lingering around the building area and some engaged in discussions with the demonstrators.

A meeting between the different participating political groups on Saturday night reached several agreements, including switching off all stage microphones during the night so as to minimise the noise for both demonstrators and neighbourhood inhabitants.  

The political groups also announced that there will be two press conferences on Sunday. The Revolution Youth Coalition together with other participating groups will be holding one conference at 11am in the Shorouk newspaper building and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions will be holding another at 12pm in the square.

Chants against the government and the ruling military council echoed from the square on Saturday night and started again Sunday morning. Conviction that no steps are being taken to meet the revolution’s demands is stirring increasing dissatisfaction with Egypt’s interim rulers.

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