Syrians protest against Bashar Al-Assad in Tahrir Square following Eid Al-Adha prayers. (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Hundreds of Egyptians observed Eid Al-Adha prayers early Sunday morning in Tahrir Square, after which Syrian protesters held a demonstration against their autocratic president, Bashar Al-Assad.
Eid Al-Adha, literally the Greater Eid, is the grand feast of sacrifice that is also the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. To mark the occasion, prominent Sheikh Mazhar Shaheen, who often holds his Friday sermons in Tahrir, addressed the press gathered in Egypt’s revolutionary square, stressing in his sermon that the popular uprising continues and that its demands have not yet been fulfilled.
He also called on all political forces to work together during this month’s parliamentary elections in order to ensure that remnants of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s regime do not win seats in the new Parliament, as a disfranchisement law was never passed by the military council.
As a result, National Democratic Party (NDP) members, refusing to be politically exiled, have established a host of new political parties ahead of Egypt’s upcoming elections, such as Nahdet Masr (Egypt’s Renaissance), El-Mowaten El-Masri (The Egyptian Citizen) and Misr El-Hadisa (Modern Egypt).
What’s more, according to Shaheen, Mubarak era oligarchs are still in power. This is a result of those politicians who “sought to take up positions and [have] ignored the main objective, which is to free the country of injustice and oppression.”
After the prayers, pro-democracy Syrian protesters marched through Tahrir Square, chanting “down with Bashar Al-Assad’s rule.” Protesters promised the leader the same ugly fate as former Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi who was brutally killed by Libyan rebels last month.
Several protesters carried a 20 metre-long flag of the former Syrian Republic - before the 1963 Baathist coup - while others waved normal-sized Egyptian and Syrian flags in the square.
The Egyptian-based Syrians also repeated slogans against Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has retained a tight grip on power despite overwhelming opposition by protesters who have staged mass demonstrations since February.
Meanwhile, another group of Egyptians held a vigil, carrying banners bearing slogans condemning Egypt’s de-facto ruling body, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.