Two Hundred thousand in Cairo….thousands in other cities, all across Egypt citizens are flooding the streets on the first anniversary of President Mohammed Morsi’s inauguration, to
demand that the president resign and call for an early presidential
Tahrir Square which housed the demonstrations that ousted Hosno Mubarak saw a crowd of more than 200,000:
“Amid a sea of national flags, a festive atmosphere reigned supreme for the most part of the day, with chants of “Irhal!”— Arabic for “Leave!” — urging the president to relinquish his post. The numbers are expected to swell further into Monday.The people want the fall of the regime!” they shouted, echoing the Arab Spring rallying cry that brought down Mubarak – this time yelling it not against an ageing dictator but against the first elected leader in Egypt’s 5,000-year recorded history.
Organizers called on demonstrators to continue to occupy central squares in every city until Mursi quits. The Tahrir Square crowd roared with approval as an army helicopter hovering overhead dropped Egyptian flags on the protesters.
A military source said the move was intended to promote patriotism and was not a gesture of political support.
Many demonstrators bellowed their anger at the Brotherhood, which they accuse of hijacking the revolution and using electoral victories to monopolize power and impose Islamic law.
“I want my country back,” said Dua Badrawy, who came to the square from
Giza, a neighborhood that is home to Egypt’s most prized pyramids. “We
are all Egyptians, and we want a real democracy.”
Protests are being held all across Egypt:
- In Alexandria, the second-biggest city, thousands of protesters
gathered for a march to the central Sidi Gaber area, BBC Arabic’s Rami
Gabr report.A Reuters journalist said hundreds of thousands of anti-government
protesters marched through the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, Egypt’s
second city, and a military source reported protests in at least 20
towns around the country.
- A big stage has been erected in the main square of the Suez
Canal city of Port Said, and protesters are checking the identities of
those going in and out of the square, BBC Arabic’s Attia Nabil reports
- Rallies were also expected in Suez, Monofia and Sharqiya – the birthplace of President Morsi.
Interviewed by the British paper The Guardian , Mursi voiced his resolve to ride out what he sees as an undemocratic attack on his electoral legitimacy. He offered to revise the Islamist-inspired constitution, saying clauses on religious authority, which fuelled liberal resentment, were not his choice. He made a similar offer last week, after the head of the army issued a strong call for politicians to compromise. But the opposition dismissed it as too little to late. They hope Mursi will resign in the face of large numbers on the streets.
The military, for its part, was not taking any chances. Helicopter gunships were hovering around parts of the capital Cairo, while tanks and soldiers maintained a visible presence. Security was ramped up around the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest waterways. Army officials have made it clear they would intervene if violence escalates just as they forced Mubarak out when it was clear he couldn’t calm the violence.
Can Morsi survive? That is still unknown. But what is known is despite what President Obama and other progressives have maintained the Muslim Brotherhood is not “secular” and the proof is in today’s protests in Tahrir Square and across Egypt.