Thousands conducting Eid prayers in Tahrir Square for the first time after the ouster of Mubarak.(Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Tens of thousands prayed in Tahrir Square on the first day of Eid, the feast following Ramadan, amidst a strong security presence. The police and military secured the square’s central island and refused entry to it.
Sheikh Mazhar Shahin, the Imam of the square’s main mosque of Omar Makram and a prominent supporter of the revolution, preached before the prayers, stressing his joy of celebrating the first Eid without Mubarak as president. He added that the former president’s fate will teach his successor that Egyptians will not accept oppression any longer. Shahin also warned Israel that Egypt will always stand firm against any intervention, while urging the Egyptian people to remain unified and not to be dragged into political rivalries.
On the other hand, Muslim Brotherhood member Safwat Hegazy warned of a conspiracy aiming at creating conflict between the people and the army, which would transform Egypt into another Libya or Yemen. He stated that the people, the army and the police, Muslims and Christians, will stand united.
Many, however, remained aggravated by the police and military’s denial of access to the central island of the square. Thousands chanted against the security presence in Tahrir, viewing it as an infringement on the freedom gained during the revolution.
Slogans included: “Take a look at who you're fighting, these are the January 25 revolutionaries” and “The people want Tahrir Square”. Demonstrators also chanted in memory of the revolution's martyrs promising that they will succeed in gaining retribution for their loss.
Demonstrators were dispersed a few hours after prayers and the roads were reopened for traffic.