Six tents belonging to independent revolutionaries in front of the Mogama Building adjacent to Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday (Photo: Yasmine Wali)
After days of being packed with protesters, mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood, Tahrir Square is now almost empty. The Brotherhood joined the small number of vendors and tents already in the square on Friday, 22 June, in protest at the addendum to the Constitutional Declaration released by Egypt's ruling body, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which gave the military council – critics say – unfettered powers at the expense of the president.
Although there has been no official confirmation that the Brotherhood have now withdrawn from the sit-in, there are many reports that they have in fact left the square.
In Tahrir Square on Tuesday, a 27-year-old man who refused to give his name told Ahram Online: "I am a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both my parents are members of the Brotherhood, and so is my brother, but I will split from them. It is clear that President Morsi has deals with the military council. Where is the constitution? The Brotherhood betrayed the Egyptians - they left the square."
On Tuesday, the square contained a few tents, as well as numerous vendors selling drinks, food and a variety of cheap Chinese-made products. The main sit-in is in front of the Mogama, the large bureaucratic government building located on one side of the square. The garden outside the Mogama has a few tents, manned by independent revolutionaries and the so-called Hazemoon, the supporters of disqualified presidential candidate Hazem Abu Ismail.
Um Al-Shahid, a 60-year-old woman selling tea and coffee in front of her tent, says: "I am staying here for freedom. Justice is freedom. My son is a martyr and I refused to take the government's compensation - justice needs to prevail. I don't want to live in the injustice of the ousted president Mubarak days."
Many political groups have decided to withdraw from the sit-in, to give the new president a chance to achieve his promises. Those staying insist on proceeding with their protest until all their demands are met.
Salafist and Abu Ismail supporter Ahmed Mohsen has come from Mansoura in the Nile Delta. He stated: "We have five objectives to be fulfilled and we will not leave Tahrir until the addendum of the Constitutional Declaration is cancelled, the constituent assembly returns, the dissolution of parliament is rejected, and the right of the military police to arrest civilians is cancelled."
Mohsen added: "We are not against the president but our demands need to be met...how can the Brotherhood leave?"
Ashraf El-Tayeb, an independent revolutionary from Suez, says that, "Anyone who really loves Egypt should take measures to elevate the country. The Brotherhood hijacked the revolution and in 10 months, when Morsi will be ousted, we will be still ruled by the SCAF. We have been here since the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes in November and have been here until now. I won't go back to my children unless I have met the demands."
El-Tayeb was, like many protesters, concerned about the constitutional situation. "We are here because we refuse to have a president without clear powers."
According to El-Tayeb, the independent revolutionaries are comprised of 42 men in six tents, while the Abu Ismail supporters are in three tents.
On Monday, the April 6 Youth Movement announced the end of their participation in the Tahrir Square sit-in. The founder of the movement Ahmed Maher said that there will be other ways to pursue their demands and that they may be back later to the square if the goals aren't achieved. Other groups and political forces have also ended their participation in the sit-in.