Mosaic Blog

Back to Tahrir Square

"The revolution in Egypt is not over. It has hardly begun," writes Omeya El Naggar in an article titled "Will Egypt's Arab Spring Turn Into an Arab Nightmare." Egypt's Tahrir Square looked like a nightmare today, ten months after protests brought down Hosni Mubarak's regime, as clashes between protestors and police continued for a third consecutive day. Al Jazeera reports that 33 people have been killed and over 1,500 injured since Saturday. 


Protesters run from tear gas fired by riot police in a side street near Tahrir Square in Cairo

Thousands of protestors gathered in Tahrir Square, the symbolic epicenter of the Arab Spring, to demand the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) swiftly transfer power to a civilian authority and to protect their revolution from what they say is an attempt to hijack it. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to start on November 28, but presidential elections won’t be held until a new constitution is written, which could take up to a year. In the meantime, executive powers would remain with the army. 


According to the Cairo daily Al Masry al Youm, protestors were using firebombs and shotgun pellets against the police. At a brief news conference, a representative of the military, General Said Abbas, said that the security forces had not initiated any violence and had only defended themselves. This video however, shows police officers beating lifeless bodies and dragging others by their hair across the square. One activist tweeted, "There are protestors writing phone numbers on their arms so that in case they're killed their family members can be contacted. #Tahrir." Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh said the clashes were "very intense, with the people on the street telling us…that the military has shown its true colors."


In the face of such bloody protests, interim Prime Minsiter Essam Sharaf and his cabinet submitted their collective resignation. However, the military council reportedly announced they will not accept the resignation until Egyptian political forces decide on a replacement prime minister.  


In an article titled "Cairo Jumps the Rails," Marc Lynch says, "Now is a time for the Egyptian political elite to unify -- Islamist and non-Islamist, elite and popular -- around clear demands for a speedy political transition to civilian rule. Protestors, bloody and mourning their dead, will not be satisfied with minor political concessions." Others say it is easier said than done. In an increasingly heated and complex political climate, Al Ahram’s Elias Harfoush argues that "the ongoing competition…over the inheritance of Mubarak's regime has its justifications…Mubarak's absence has left a great vacuum  in the prime seat of power in the largest [and most populated] Arab country." In other words, the stakes are high. 


As over 20,000 protestors filled Tahrir Square on Monday night, activists are calling for a "million man march" on Tuesday to call for a new civilian government and national unity.  


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