As the Maspero Youth Union joined massive demonstrations to mark the first anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution, the Martyrs Obelisk – their creation, bearing the names of all those protestors killed in clashes with police and military since last January – was carried from Shubra to Tahrir Square in a march that took place on Wednesday 25 January 2012.
For the past year, political activists and movements as well as the families of the martyrs waited for the Egyptian regime to honour the martyrs, not just financially but symbolically. That simple demand was not met, however; and so, on the first anniversary of the uprising, protestors did it themselves.
Major media channels including Al Jazeera broadcast the obelisk being raised by the people in the evening, but the sculpture was soon removed. As it seemed, protestors failed to summon up the necessary leverage to erect the sculpture.
Artists Tarek Hassan and Gamal Hameed brought in another sculpture – this time of a candle. The Martyrs Candle, carrying the words “Egypt Revolution 25” above images and names of the martyrs in Tahrir Sqaure, written in hieroglyphics.
The candle remained lit during sit-ins all night. Hassan and Hameed had already created one such candle bearing names of those killed during clashes with police on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, off Tahrir Sqaure, on the 19 November 2011.