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Friday 29 August  
January 25th revolution Egypt
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cairo, Egypt
cairo, Egypt

“Million Man March against the ‘Brotherhoodisation’ of Egypt”

Published on : 24 January 2013 - 1:04pm | By RNW Arab Desk ((C) ANP/AFP)
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 “What’s going to happen on January 25th?”, “Will there be a second revolution against the Brotherhood ?” These questions are being asked by many Egyptians as the country prepares for the second anniversary of the demonstration in Tahrir Square that marked the beginning of Egypt’s revolution and the eventual fall of the Mubarak regime. Two years on, plans have been made for a “Million Man March” against Muslim Brotherhood rule – and there are fears of violent clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi.

Fathya Eldakhakhny

“What’s going to happen on January 25th?”, “Will there be a second revolution against the Brotherhood ?”  These questions are being asked by many Egyptians as the country prepares for the second anniversary of the demonstration in Tahrir Square that marked the beginning of Egypt’s revolution and the eventual fall of the Mubarak regime. Two years on, plans have been made for a “Million Man March” against Muslim Brotherhood rule – and there are fears of violent clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi.

No to a Brotherhood state
In a press conference last Sunday, 52 political parties and revolutionary movements announced their participation in the protests being organised for January 25th, under the slogan “No to the Brotherhood state – the revolution continues.” The routes of the various marches - each with a different slogan - have been determined. Among the slogans are: “Social justice: No to the oppressor state” and “No to the price hikes constitution and tyranny.” 

Speaking at a joint press conference, a leading figure in the opposition Constitution party Shady El-Ghazaly Harb said: “Our main demand is the cancellation of the despotic constitution. If it continues to express the perspective of the Muslim Brotherhood exclusively, then let our objective be the fall of the regime”. 

Taqadom El-Khatib, a National Association for Change leader, said: “The second anniversary of the revolution is a reminder to all of the necessity of sentencing former leaders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. They were involved in the Port Said and Maspero massacres, and the killing of protesters, but they were granted safe passage from power by the Brotherhood.” 

“It’s no use.”
While political forces are busy preparing for this anniversary, Egyptians are divided over the fruitfulness of further protest. Some are eager to participate and demand the fall of the regime while others see no point. 

“Although the people took to the streets, nothing has changed, so it’s useless. The regime continues to implement whatever it wishes,” says Abdullah Saad, an employee in a phone shop, adding that the opposition forces are divided and incapable of mobilising enough people to protest effectively against the regime.

Housewife Oum Ahmed agrees and won’t be taking part in the protests. “The Brotherhood is still in power, and demonstrating is useless,” she says. 

Said Abdel Fattah, who works in a bakery, thinks protesting is disruptive at a time when Egypt needs a return to normality: “Enough demonstrations already... we need stability for tourism and the economy to recover.” 

No to a new dictatorship 
But student Ali Mahmoud believes taking part in Friday’s commemoration will send a strong message of rejection to the regime, insisting that “the regime’s actions are no longer tolerable, and Egyptians do not accept the ‘Brotherhoodisation’ of the state nor a new dictatorship.” He adds: “We do not seek the fall of the regime, but we say no to the government’s actions which are harmful to the country.”

Fellow student Basma Mahmoud is hoping for a second revolution, pointing out that when Egyptians fist took to the streets on January 25th 2011 their demands were bread, freedom and social justice–none of which have been met. “We have to take to Tahrir square once more to renew our demands and realise the goals of the revolution,” she says, adding that “the Egyptian people will not let their revolution go up in smoke.” 

Rumours and anxiety
There are also fears the demonstrations could spiral into violent clashes between supporters and opponents of president Mursi. Yasir Mohamed, a medical student, anticipates bloodshed because, he claims, the Muslim Brotherhood will pay any price to preserve their power and will not allow a second revolution to overthrow them. 

Egypt’s streets are teeming with rumours that thugs have been secretly told to deliberately incite unrest. “Prisoners are on the run, and there will be death and destruction like the first revolution,” says Oum Mahmoud, a housewife. 

The Interior Ministry has announced it will stay away from Tahrir Square to avoid confrontations with protesters. It will, however, have an undercover presence in the surrounding area to apprehend troublemakers and prevent them from entering Tahrir Square.

Violence and restraint
There have already been bloody clashes between citizens and the police in the run-up to this second anniversary of the revolution. Five people died and 12 were injured in one such incident in the Cairo suburb of Shubra El-Kheima. Violent clashes between security forces and citizens also took place in the port city of Alexandria, after an Alexandria criminal court returned a case related to the killing of protesters in the governorate during the January 25th uprising two years ago. 

In an attempt to defuse the tension, the Muslim Brotherhood has issued assurances that it will not participate in tomorrow’s demonstrations. The Brotherhood claims this restraint will help thwart the efforts of those who want to let chaos reign.

Instead, the Muslim Brothers will limit themselves to providing several services including medical convoys that will perform examinations free of charge, the provision of foodstuffs at reduced prices, a campaign to plant trees, and efforts to reform governmental institutions especially schools and hospitals.

The author is a journalist with Al-Masry Al-Youm, one of Egypt's leading independent newspapers, 

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