Army soldiers destroy tents of protesters staging sit-in on 1 August 2011 in Tahrir Square (Photo: Reuters)
The twenty-fifth of January will be made a national holiday, Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced on Wednesday.
According to SCAF member Lieutenant-General Ismail Etman, Egypt’s armed forces will hold celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to commemorate the first anniversary of the popular uprising that culminated in the ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.
Etman said the planned Tahrir Square celebrations, which will be held from 25 to 28 January, would include artistic and folkloric festivities representing Egypt’s 27 governorates. He added that the scheduled celebrations would also include martial displays by Egypt’s air force and navy, as well as musical concerts.
Another Tahrir Square celebration has also reportedly been scheduled for 10 February to commemorate the day on which SCAF issued its first communiqué to the public. The day’s festivities will reportedly feature a football match between Tunisia and Egypt to honour both countries’ respective revolutions.
A number of revolutionary activists, however, have expressed disdain for the idea.
“The SCAF leads the counterrevolution. It’s unbelievable that it would celebrate a revolution that it is trying to bring down and defame,” rights campaigner Nazly Hussein said. “There’s no reason to celebrate the 25 January anniversary because there have been no improvements this year, especially in terms of social justice and freedoms.”
“The revolution has yet to achieve its goals,” Hussein added. “In the last three months of 2011, the SCAF and the military were implicated in crimes against protesters. So why does the SCAF want to celebrate the revolution?”
According to award winning filmmaker and political activist Mohamed Diab, the move represents “a tactical move by SCAF aimed at winning public support.”
“I fear the event might lead to clashes between protesters and partygoers as a result of the current polarization in the Egyptian street between the various political powers” Diab told Ahram Online.
Mostafa El-Naggar, co-founder of the liberal Adl Party and newly-elected MP, for his part, said: “We don’t need any big celebrations now.” The best way to celebrate the revolution, he opined, was to “continue to work on achieving outstanding revolutionary demands.”
“When we achieve the revolution’s aims; when there’s retribution for the revolution’s martyrs; when there’s true democratic transition in Egypt – then we can celebrate the revolution,” El-Naggar told Ahram Online.
Liberal activist and Free Egyptians party member Mahmoud Salem also questioned the wisdom of commemorating the uprising when a number of its chief demands remained unfulfilled. “Revolution isn’t a military parade,” he said.