Women's march to Tahrir square (Photo:Reuters)
Several political parties and movements are calling for a million-man protest this Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square devoted to the Egyptian women and activists killed in recent clashes with security forces and to demand a swift end of military rule.
The planned protest, to be dubbed the “Friday of regaining honour,” follows one week of violent confrontations between security forces – both police and military – and anti-government protesters in and around the flashpoint square that have left 16 of the latter dead and hundreds injured.
Online video footage and eyewitness testimonies revealing excessive violence used by security forces against protesters – especially women – have prompted considerable popular anger.
According to political activists, the Friday event will feature three separate rallies, including a protest march from Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque – where funeral prayers will be conducted for fallen activists – to Tahrir Square. This is expected to include a number of Al-Azhar scholars and sheikhs, given that a leading Al-Azhar official – Sheikh Emad Effat – was killed by security forces in clashes last week.
Friday’s demonstration will also feature a rally by women to condemn recent brutal attacks on female protesters, as well as another rally at 4pm from Talaat Harb Square devoted to the plight of street children, several of whom have been accused of involvement in the recent violence.
The Wasat Party, the Adl Party and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party have all announced their intention to take part in the protest, along with the Egyptian Current party, the Revolutionary Socialists, the April 6 youth movement and the Revolutionary Youth Coalition.
While the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) does not plan to participate in the event, prominent Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy has said he would take part on an individual basis. In comments to the media, El-Beltagy stressed that young Brotherhood cadres were also free to participate in an individual capacity.