June 30, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3963

Disappointed with Revolution's Gains, Egyptians Renew Protests

June 30, 2011
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 3963

Almost five months after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt, the revolutionary movement feels that the main goals for which it fought have not been achieved, and has launched a fresh round of protests. The movement planned a mass demonstration for July 8, 2011, but the protests broke out earlier, on June 28, during a memorial in Cairo's Balloon Theatre for those who were killed in the anti-Mubarak demonstrations. The memorial sparked widespread riots and violent clashes with the police in Al-Tahrir square and in front of the Interior Ministry building, in which hundreds of protesters were wounded and dozens were arrested. Subsequently, the youth organizations announced a sit-down strike in Al-Tahrir square, to continue until all their demands are met.[1]

Calls to Save the Revolution

Various groups on Facebook are protesting the authorities' failure to meet the demands of the revolution.[2] A Facebook page titled "The Second Egyptian Revolution of Rage" reads: "Seeing that the situation, under the leadership of the [Supreme] Council of the Armed Forces, is only going from bad to worse, and [since] the council has proven from day one that [public] pressure is the most effective policy for achieving the demands of the legitimate revolution, we have decided to take to the streets and squares [once again] and demonstrate throughout Egypt until our demands are met..."[3]

The main demand of these groups is to combine efforts toward achieving the goals of the revolution, including: banning military trial of civilians; raising the minimum wage; bringing Mubarak, his sons, and the senior officials of his regime to justice; banning former National Democratic Party (NDP) members from political activity for five years; releasing all political prisoners; purging the state institutions – the police, the legal system, the media, the universities, and the banks – of members of the former regime; electing new municipal councils; and stopping the exportation of natural gas to Israel.[4]

Some of Egypt's youth organizations also demand to postpone the parliamentary elections slated for September 2011 and to draft a new constitution at the present stage, rather than waiting for the elected parliament to do so.[5] They argue that a postponement will allow the new political parties formed following the revolution to prepare for the elections, giving them a fairer chance, whereas holding the elections as planned will give advantage to the established parties, such as the NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood. Once in power, they will be able to redraft the new constitution and shape the identity of the new Egypt according to their vision.

"I Sense No Change; I Am Heading Back to Al-Tahrir Square"[6]

"The Revolution Continues: No to A Second Dictatorship"[7]

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, who are opposed to the postponement of the elections,[8] have announced that they will not participate in the planned protests.[9] Among those opposed to the July 8 demonstration is also independent presidential candidate Dr. Mohammad Salim Al-'Awa, associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, who has called on the public to boycott the planned protests.[10] Among the parties and movements that do plan to participate in the July 8 demonstration are Al-Tagammu', the Democratic Front Party, Al-Wafd, Al-Ghad, the April 6 Party, the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, the Muslim Brotherhood Youth, the Kefaya movement, and some parties still in the process of formation, such as Al-Karama and Al-Masri Al-Dimukrati.[11]

The Supreme Council: We Are Satisfied with Our Achievements

So far, the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Egyptian government have not capitulated to public pressure to postpone the elections and to redraft the constitution before they take place. As for the protestors' other demands, Egyptian leaders promised to continue their efforts to fulfill them. In an announcement on its Facebook page, the Supreme Council stated that it is committed to meeting the hopes of the Egyptian people and to establishing a civil state founded upon the principles of democracy, freedom, and social justice, and that it is working to restore security, ensure the supply of basic goods for all, prosecute anyone involved in corruption, and defend freedom of expression and the media.[12]

In a speech marking 100 days since his government took office, Egyptian Prime Minister 'Essam Sharaf said that he had succeeded in returning Egypt to the track to growth and in improving tourism. He promised that his government would continue to work toward restoring the public's sense of security, advancing democracy, and bringing the corrupt to justice, and called on the youth of the revolution and on the various political forces to reach a broad agreement in order to ensure a successful transition period.[`3]

After clashes broke out between protesters and police at Al-Tahrir square, following the June 28 memorial, the Egyptian authorities hinted that members of the former regime were attempting a counter-revolution. The Supreme Council stated on its Facebook page that the events were unjustified, and were part of an organized attempt to exploit the blood of the victims in order to undermine Egypt's security and stability and drive a wedge between the people and the military establishment.[`4] Prime Minister 'Essam Sharaf likewise spoke of an attempt to torpedo the revolution and generate chaos in Egypt. Some political parties claimed that what had goaded Mubarak's people into action was Sharaf's announcement that the municipal councils will soon be dissolved.[15]

Egyptian Columnist: The Egyptian Administration Is Trying to Ignore the Revolution

Criticism against the new Egyptian government for failing to meet the demands of the revolution was also voiced in the Egyptian press. Columnist Noha Al-Sharnoubi wrote in the government daily Al-Ahram: "Why don't any of the [government] officials want to believe that we have staged a revolution? I will present you with numerous questions, so that you will know why I and many others feel so frustrated: Has the [country's] wealth been redistributed justly? Has a maximum salary been set?... In a democratic country, [the salary of] the most senior functionary in an institution must not be more than 14 times higher than [the salary of] of the most junior functionary. Has that been achieved since the revolution?... Has there been a public trial for the officials of the previous regime, or do we see Mubarak in a Sharm Al-Sheikh hospital, supposedly due to depression?

"Have the municipal councils been dissolved until elections are held to replace their heads? Have all province governors and university rectors from the previous regime been replaced? Have we been guaranteed independent and objective media? Does the legal system enjoy total independence? Do food and fuel subsidies go to those of low and medium income, or do they also go to the rich millionaires and billionaires?... Is there any real inclination to make the desert bloom and establish industrial centers to stop the unemployment and poverty that afflict 40% of the Egyptian people? Is there any intention of improving the lives of those living in cemeteries and slums? Is there a popular debate on the budget, and do the residents of every village or province decide their own expenditure priorities?...

"Have we begun to reclaim government land and property, which were handed over to criminals privileged [by the former regime], by direct order and without tender, at a price [far] lower than their [real] market value? Have we witnessed public trials for the murderers of protestors? Have we witnessed a public trial of interior ministry snipers who fired live rounds at protestors from rooftops, or police officers who fired live rounds at protestors in public squares? Do we see that the media enjoys freedom of expressions, [considering that] many talk show hosts and journalists have recently been called in for questioning? Most recently, three judges were called before a military judge for making statements to the press without the justice minister's approval. The said that it is a citizen's right to be tried by a regular [rather that military] judge..."[16]

Egyptian Intellectual: The Revolution May Yet Be Hijacked

Another article, in the Egyptian daily Al-Wafd, was penned by Dr. 'Azza Haikal, an Egyptian writer and intellectual, and a former columnist for the daily. She wrote: "Over four months have passed since the January revolution, yet we find that the simple Egyptian citizen, for whom the revolution was started, is still suffering from the same problems. In fact, conditions have become even harsher and more bitter, and may lead him and us to another uprising, [resulting in] moral and humanitarian chaos. If the revolution came out against oppression, corruption, poverty, and the domination of a [certain] group over public affairs, we now find ourselves repeating the same script and dialogue, only with different names and titles, all of which lead to the same result.

"The national dialogue and national accord committees; the Youth Coalition; the Youth of the Revolution; the Police Officers' Coalition; the Muslim Brotherhood Youth; the Council of the Armed Forces; and [various] new ministers and party heads, whose level of influence on the street is unknown; [as well as all the] other, old parties, who were once a decoration for a totalitarian, tyrannical regime, but [now] refuse to cease deceiving the street and the political [arena] – all this political momentum hasn't yet yielded a single social or economic plan. What these movements suggest in the media is that people be patient and restrained and assist the police; that they preserve national unity, not smuggle diesel or horde food, act morally, and tolerate the hunger, the poverty, the high cost of living, the crowded public transport, the stifling streets, and the air and water pollution – [all] so that they get a pay raise in five years...

"Today, even though we are in the midst of so-called revolution, change, and reform, we find ourselves experiencing half of a revolution, one quarter of a life, one eighth of a change, and zero reform... We feel that the revolution can yet be hijacked, fail, or change direction, and we will find ourselves back at square one..."[17]


[1] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 30, 2011.




[5] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 27, 2011.



[8], June 23, 2011.

[9] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 25, 2011.

[10] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 27, 2011.

[11] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Egypt), June 25, 2011.

[12], June 22, 2011.

[13] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 24, 2011.


[15] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 30, 2011.

[16] Al-Ahram (Egypt), June 18, 2011.

[17] Al-Wafd (Egypt), May 24, 2011.

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