Cairo Protesters Demand New Egyptian Revolution

Hundreds of thousands urge that President Mohamed Morsi to step down after just one year in office

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Amr Abdallah Dalsh / REUTERS

A general view shows protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shouting slogans against him and members of the Muslim Brotherhood during a protest at Tahrir square in Cairo June 29, 2013.

In the upscale Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, about a 20-minute walk from the presidential palace, the rally was in full swing. “We swear to the blood of the martyrs,” the marchers chanted as they moved toward the palace. “A new revolution from the start!”

That, as much as anything, captured the mood of Sunday’s wave of national protests against President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization. After a year under Morsi, preceded by a generally unhappy 15 months of postrevolutionary military rule, the protesters — angry about a weak economy, deteriorating security and rising Islamism — want a reset.

In terms of sheer numbers, Sunday’s anti-Morsi demonstrators had to be pleased with the turnout — in the hundreds of thousands. The figures equaled and possibly exceeded some of the highest peaks of the original revolution against deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak. Tahrir Square, on the edge of downtown Cairo, was packed to the point where crowds extended all the way across two bridges to the other bank of the Nile. And the crowds in Heliopolis were equally massive — completely covering the district.

(PHOTOS: Egyptians Protest the Rule of Morsi)

Yet, given the sheer undiluted rage directed at Morsi by many of his critics these days, Sunday’s protest atmosphere was surprisingly festive and optimistic. A large percentage of Sunday’s anti-Morsi demonstrators seemed to genuinely believe that their people-power movement will succeed in forcing Morsi from office — and relatively quickly. Rasha Soliman, a 40-year-old protester, offered this prediction regarding Morsi’s departure: “It will happen. Not in a day or two, but it won’t take a long time either.”

If this is indeed the beginning of a second Egyptian revolution, then it’s starting right where the first one ended. Back in February 2011, the protesters generally stuck to the Tahrir Square area for the majority of the 18-day uprising. It was only at the very end — when Mubarak provoked outrage by refusing to step down in a Feb. 10 speech — that protesters took their fight to the walls of the presidential palace. Within hours of that march reaching the palace, Mubarak was unceremoniously shoved from the stage by his own military and the next time anybody heard from him was months later addressing a judge from inside a courtroom cage.

This time, however, the fight is starting with direct confrontation with the presidency. Throughout the day, army helicopters hovered over the rally — with many of the demonstrators openly cheering them. While the military has remained cryptic about where it stands, a percentage of the anti-Morsi protesters openly welcome the intervention of the armed forces to end the stalemate.

(MORE: Egypt’s Morsi Faces Political D-Day One Year After Being Sworn In as President)

But amid the euphoria and talk of a second revolution, it’s worth noting that this is not 2011 and Morsi — no matter what his detractors say — is not Mubarak. He was democratically elected, with the votes of many of the same people calling for his ouster on Sunday, albeit by a thin margin. And Morsi has his own sincere and impassioned support base that sees the movement against him as a counterrevolutionary attempt to rob them of their own democratic rights.

On Sunday, the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies staged their own counterdemonstration at a mosque a short distance from the palace. The pro-Morsi demonstrations — numbered in the several thousands — passionately chanted in support of their embattled President and even unveiled a cake to celebrate the beginning of his second year in office. Egyptian TV channels resorted to showing as many as eight different screens to keep up with the competing rallies in the capital and those happening elsewhere in the country. Presidential spokesman Omar Amer was forced to hold two separate press conferences Sunday evening in order to react to events. Amer, in his comments, repeatedly and testily dismissed any talk of “concessions” from the President and instead offered yet another round of national reconciliation talks with an opposition that has largely sworn off talking to Morsi or his people. “The President has opened the door of dialogue to everyone,” said Amer. “Any request or input from any Egyptian citizen is welcomed.”

(MORE: After Sectarian Violence, Coptic Pope Takes On Egypt’s President)

Morsi, the Brotherhood and its affiliated Freedom and Justice Party have repeatedly claimed that he hasn’t been given a fair chance to rule and that one year is simply too short for this kind of backlash. But the sheer size, scope and diversity of Sunday’s anti-Morsi protests reveal, at the very least, a widespread dissatisfaction with his rule that the President will have to address in the coming days.

Morsi won’t have long to decide. Late Sunday night, organizers of the Tamarod (Rebel) campaign — the grassroots anti-Morsi signature drive that helped kick-start this latest wave of protests — announced it was giving Morsi a deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday to announce his resignation and an early presidential election or it would launch a nationwide civil-disobedience campaign. Egypt remains on edge.

Khalil is a Cairo-based journalist and author of Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation.

24 comments
JohnDahodi
JohnDahodi

Morsi has few options; (i) Arrest all the military heads and replace them (majority will like it) (ii) Change the Constitution to appease minorities (majority of rioters will like it) (iii) Blame foreign forces for this mess (no one will oppose) (iv) Appeal in the name of Islam to keep peace when the holy month of Ramadan is coming in few days (no one can oppose it) and the last (v) give dead line to all protesters to go back or get arrested, lose their jobs and jail term

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

OBAMA WAS THE CAUSE OF THE FIRST EGYPTIAN UPRISING .....OVERTHROWING MUBARAK......OUR FRIEND.....OUR ALLY.....WHO KEPT THE RADICAL MOSLEMS UNDER CONTROL......ON BEHALF OF THE USA.......THEN....OBAMA.....THE HIDDEN MOSLEM.......PRETENDING TO BE A CHRISTIAN.......BACKS THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD........WHO IS AGAINST THE USA.......IMAGINE......A US PRESIDENT.....OBAMA.....BACKING THE ENEMY......WHY?.......IS HE A FIFTH COLUMNIST?.......HE HAS DESTROYED AMERICA IN 6 YEARS.......MAKING US INTO A TRILLION DEBTOR NATION.....BETTERN THAN ANY ENEMY FROM THE OUTSIDE COULD.....

OBAMA......DID NOT BACK THE TRUE PEOPLE'S REVOLUTION IN IRAN........HE LEFT THE STUDENTS TO BE MURDERED, TORTURED AND RAPED BY THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS OF IRAN.....

WAKE UP.......STUPID PEOPLE......AND LEARN.......

NOW.......THE VARIOUS FACTIONS IN EGYPT........ARE REVOLTING AGAINST WHAT OBAMA HAS GIVEN THEM......

OBAMA GAVE 100 MILLION DOLLARS IN A1 ABRAM TANK AND F16'S TO THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD......ARMS THAT CAN BE USED AGAINST AMERICAN FORCES AND ISRAEL.......

NOW.......AFTER A YEAR OF WANNA BE DICTATORSHIP BY THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD.....THE PEOPLE OF EGYPT ARE STIRRING.....

IS OBAMA GOING TO BACK THE ANTI AMERICAN MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD OR.......THE PEOPLE. WHO WANT FOOD CLOTHING AND SHELTER.....AND FREEDOM.....

OBAMA IS SPENDING 100 MILLION TAXFRE DOLLARS.....FLYING ALL OVER AFRICA.....AS IF HE WERE AN AFRICAN DICTATOR........

WHO WILL SAVE AMERIC FROM THIS MAN WHO IS DESTROYING CHRISTIANS AND THE CONSTTUTION OF HE UNITED STATES......

VALENTINE, WORLD HISTORIAN, COMEDIAN....LOL......

MikeD
MikeD

It is all too sad that they need to go to the streets to protest again a year plus after they brought down their previous regim.

It suggests that it is actually easier to bring down a regim, as strong as it is, than building a long-lasting regim that is supported by its own subjects.

Here is a good analysis of what could, or should, happen in a post-Morsi Egypt.
http://al-taqareer.com/?p=3613

sridhar.sid
sridhar.sid

These scenes in Turkey and Egypt poignantly show that replacement of a dictatorship through an election, does not automatically produce a democracy. What has actually happened is that Islamic parties have used the huge discontent to create new Governments that shift the nation's stance towards Sharia. The Muslim Brotherhood derives its strength from rural, poor electorate who understandably are more conservative. What Egypt and Turkey needs is an inclusive Government, where a person is not disadvantaged merely because he wants not to belong to the Brotherhood view.

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

Has anybody calculated recently how many people live in this region, the Middle East?  When you start adding it all up, with all this instability, it comes out to a very large number.  When there is no food left to eat, no water to drink, no cooking fuel, because the several governments involved in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and some of the minor players could not keep order, what will become of oil shipments then?  Oh, I get it:  the Russians will sell oil to the Chinese and the Japanese across their border, the Indians can burn coal, the Europeans can argue in Brussels and all will be well.

This is a much bigger mess than we realize.  And it's way bigger than this US administration can begin to deal with.  

AhmedBadran
AhmedBadran

حان وقت رحيل مرسى وجماعات التطرف التى ترعاها الولايات المتحدة الامريكية فى منطقة الشرق الاوسط ليس للارهابين مكان فى مصر

namso
namso

Once again  CNN, ABC, NPR, FOX, CBS and the TIMEs reporters interview a few dozen young, educated, well-groomed, English-speaking, middle-class, and professional Egyptians. From these interviews these reporters come to the bizarre conclusion that this small sample proved that the entire 80-90 million Islamically devout, Arabic speaking partially illiterate Egyptians want Western style democracy.

Newsflash even if 1 million urban dwelling Egyptians come out to call for the presidents ouster there is still that pesky majority of 79 million...

corky123x
corky123x

Gee what a surprise.  Hillary, the liar, said Masri would be Eqypt's salvation.  The head of the Muslim Brotherhood?  I say in 2016 we DON'T vote at all because 99% politicians are liars seeking just for themselves power.  

blastthebums
blastthebums

Oust the muslim brotherhood.

How can there ever be a true peace when you have radicals that believe in the teachings of the Q'uran.

Islamics kill people, who do not believe in Islam, in the name of the Q'uran and Mohammed.

Learn from HISTORY..... Islam is a Deadly Virus. Muslims get so obsessed over their evil trilogy (Q'uran, Hadiths, Sura) that they indulge in ruthless acts of terror, killings, forced conversion and population explosion, which they call Jihad in the name of Allah. It's sad that they really do not know God.

Their obsession with their evil books and scriptures makes them blind to the wonderful creations of God. As a simple example, the beauty of a woman is concealed behind a Black burqa (Hijab) all because the holy books or scriptures say so.

It is this kind of obsession with their evil books that makes them irrational and indifferent towards other religions.

corky123x
corky123x

But Hillary, just a few weeks ago Masri was to be the salvation of the country.  Are you dumb, lazy, lying or misinformed? We all knew he was head of the Muslim Brotherhood. Politicians are a sham and liars, just putting on circus acts to get POWER via election. 

LaxCircle
LaxCircle

Turkey,Brazil now.. Egypt Uprising !!!

Mmr
Mmr

1 million protestors? The estimate has been around 33 million protesters, out of 83 million Egyptians, that's more than ONE THIRD of the population. If even 10% of the American population came out to protest their president, he wouldn't be around for more than a few hours. Egyptians want democracy, there's no denying that, but you're right about one thing; it's the illiterate, uneducated and poverty-stricken that brought Morsi so many votes in the election, because the Muslim Brotherhood would hand out basic living necessities, namely food, in order to win their votes, it wasn't their political stance or policies. And these are the very people whose rights he ultimately would discard (along with religious minorities and women) in his hastily put-together and self-serving constitution.The people have seen their mistake and even the poor and illiterate are now out on the streets calling for political reform.

Mmr
Mmr

1 million protestors? The estimate has been around 33 million protesters, out of 83 million Egyptians, that's more than ONE THIRD of the population. If even 10% of the American population came out to protest their president, he wouldn't be around for more than a few hours. Egyptians want democracy, there's no denying that, but you're right about one thing; it's the illiterate, uneducated and poverty-stricken that brought Morsi so many votes in the election, because the Muslim Brotherhood would hand out basic living necessities, namely food, in order to win their votes, it wasn't their political stance or policies. And these are the very people whose rights he ultimately would discard (along with religious minorities and women) in his hastily put-together and self-serving constitution.

The people have seen their mistake and even the poor and illiterate are now out on the streets calling for political reform.

sridhar.sid
sridhar.sid

To suggest that the 89 million, who are not urban English speaking, support Brotherhood's version of Government, would be an over simplification. Unfortunately, when rational discussions are given an Islamic tinge, it gets hijacked. The reality is that Egypt needs good,inclusive Government that deals with development. This can be easily delivered by a non-religious party or leader, who really cares

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

@namso Looks like they could use it, seems what they are doing now is working out really well. This is what happens when you put 80 million savages together.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

@corky123x Yea cuase its Hillary's fault that Mooslims haven't got their shat together in the last 2,000 years. Glad we got our revolution out of the way a few hundred years ago. 

radwasaleh87
radwasaleh87

@blastthebumswith all my respect, but all you are saying is not true:

1- There is nothing in qoran that forces women to wear a burqua, it is a personal choice (sometimes forced by society). I'm muslim, I'm 26 years old, I live in Egypt and I don't wear a hijab, I even wear bikinis at the egyptian beaches!

2- Regarding those people called Jihadis, we - muslims - never consider them muslims. Mass killing is never an islmic act. If you have read the quoran (which you didn't) you would have found that it is a religion of compassion and not of hate. (for example: every muslim is obliged to give a certain percentage of his yearly income to the poor, and if he own gold (even in form of jewlery) he must calculate its value and give a percentage to the poor, even the poor should give to the poorer)

3- Don't ever mistake the acts of people for a religion. Whatever the religion. There is no religion in the world that forces its believers to do an act of hate (either psychological violence or physical violence). We cannot even say a bad word to people. We are literately forbidden to say "euuuf" to our parents (The qoran said: Don't tell them euf) Respect is the slogan of Islam, Respect to ourselves and respect to others. PEOPLE ARE BAD, NOT RELIGION. Don't tell me that prisons in your country are empty. Bad people are everywhere, they always have reasons: lack of money, bad childhood, crimes of passion... Religions is only one more reason, it doesn't mean it is a good reason. 

4- If you say that Islam disrespect other religions, God never asked us such things, he always praised Jesus and Moses, Miriam, Noah, Abraham...etc in his quoran, he ordered us that everyone is free to be muslim or other ("you have your religion and we have ours" he said in His quoran)

5- One question: Those terrorist live in desert, where do you think they get the financial means to do any act of terrorism (If you want to stop terrorism, stop the people that give them the financial means). 

And please ask the american administration to stop supporting the MB. Because of Obama, we have a stupid president working for the welfare of the MB (the international organisation of the MB, not even the local one) and not the welfare of Egypt. He didn't do anything for Egypt. 

I know i said too much, but imagine the killer of JFK sitting in the VIP section during the 4th of July's celebration, because that is what happened here in Egypt. During last 6 october celebration for a war won by previous president Sadat, the killer of the Sadat (who got out after the MB started ruling) was sitting on the VIP section of the celebrations! All non MB supporters criticized such action. Muslims are against terrorism and jihad and all acts of hate, racism..  

ShapaElJokar
ShapaElJokar

@radwasaleh87 @blastthebums  Very Nice Words from you But i don't think they can understand the Islam like the Real Muslim ( be-cos they 'v bad things you know like SEX WITH HER BOY FRIEND Or Girl Friend ) this things might be bad on Muslim way ( our way ) i wish every one know about Islam but i'm afraid that they love Israel and Jews and we are Muslim absolutely hate them Specialty the Israilian I wish EGYPT WOULD BE IN A BETTER MODE >>> ♥ Egypt >♥ Egyptian >♥Islam >♥♥Allah♥♥ > & absolutely ♥♥ Mohammed ♥♥

devdaw
devdaw

@radwasaleh87 @blastthebums 

You can judge a tree by its fruit and no other religion in practice on the Earth today is responsible for as many heinous acts of barbaric violence as Islam.  If so many millions can read your holy books and see their version as fitting within those texts then the texts must contain some fault.  You ma not consider them muslims, but they sure do.

We in the West will only believe what you say when you, the moderate Muslims, take up arms against the fundamentalists.