‘WE WANT A SECULAR STATE’ – demand Egyptian workers and youth


An unprecedented number of Egyptians took to the streets and squares of Egypt on Wednesday 25th January in commemoration of last year’s momentous Day of Rage.

Marchers in Tahrir Square chanted against the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, repeating slogans such as ‘We want a secular state, neither a Brotherhood nor a Salafist one,’ and ‘I can hear the mother of the fallen calling, saying the Brotherhood has traded my son’s blood for power’.

Thousands marched from the High Court to Tahrir Square, bearing a huge Egyptian flag, chanting against the ruling junta and calling for revolutionary trials of those responsible for the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising.

Marchers streamed into Cairo’s iconic protest grounds.

In a throwback to times long gone, the Maspero Youth Union hauled a massive wooden obelisk inscribed with the names of slain protesters into Tahrir Square via Qasr El-Nil bridge.

Another march led by Coptic Christians also arrived in the square. Originating in Shubra, the march, which kicked off at 2:30pm, was marked by anti-SCAF chants and calls for a swift transfer of power to a civil authority.

Nearby, on the Nile corniche, a march converged on Egypt’s state television and radio offices (Maspero).

Protesters in Alexandria, their numbers estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands, marched towards the northern military zone, near the district of Sidi Gaber. University students from several of the city’s institutions also joined the protests.

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean port city, protests erupted in front of the Two Saints Church, site of the New Year’s Eve bombing in 2011.

Moderate Islamist and presidential hopeful Mohamed Selim El-Awa, along with around 20 of his supporters, joined Tahrir Square’s protesters.

The podium associated with families of the slain protesters screened biographical videos on those killed in the uprising.

A large banner adorning the stage read ‘Thanks to Heba El-Swidy for her help and support’. El-Swidy, a daughter of a prominent businessman, has earned notoriety for assisting injured protesters by paying for their hospital expenses.

Demonstrators in Tahrir Square fastened together two Egyptian and Syrian flags, both dozens of metres long.

The Ghamra and Ain Shams University marches, whose numbers exceeded 10,000, reached the iconic protest grounds in Cairo, chanting ‘Down with military rule’.

Marcher numbers were unprecedented, outnumbering last year’s biggest days.

Tahrir’s entrances became clogged as numbers climbed in the square and densely populated marches continued to arrive at its fringes.

Tens of thousands of protesters marching to Tahrir Square from Mostafa Mahmoud Square were unable to make their way into the occupied grounds.

The Dokki march also found it difficult to access the protest’s focal point, as they were unable to pass through Galaa Bridge.

In the canal city of Suez, thousands of protesters set off from Arbaeen Square and marched around the city, chanting ‘Down with military rule’.

Suez has historically been a hotbed of discontent and a focal point for revolutionaries along with Cairo and Alexandria.

A march to honour Mina Daniel, a Coptic activist shot during the 9 October clashes at Maspero, arrived in Tahrir Square.

Several other marches, including those that originated in Shubra and Giza, headed toward Qasr El-Nil Bridge to participate in a minute of silence to honour the casualties of the uprising.

Around five thousand protesters marched from Ghamra and Ain Shams University to Tahrir Square, raising images of slain protester Alaa Abdel Hady.

Demonstrators paused at Al-Gomhoreya newspaper’s offices on Ramsis Street, chanting ‘Liars, liars’.

In Ramsis Square, Ultra football fans donned V for Vendetta masks, rallied and waited for another march from the neighbouring Ghamra neighbourhood.

The fans paraded images of Shehab Ahmed, a colleague killed late last year during clashes with security forces. Ahmed was a member of Zamalek’s Ultra White Knights.

The entire country saw protesters taking to the streets.

In Alexandria, droves of demonstrators marched from the Two Saints Church in Alexandria’s Sidi Bishr neighbourhood.

The demonstrators, carrying images of slain protesters and chanting against the ruling junta, headed to Semouha along Gamal Abdel Nasser Street.

Protester Mohamed Hani said that he was demanding a swift transfer of power to parliament as the ruling SCAF have mismanaged Egypt’s transition period.

The Cairo University march, numbering tens of thousands, stopped on Galaa Bridge to observe a minute’s silence for the ‘martyrs’.

Azhar scholars gathered before the US Embassy in solidarity with Omar AbdelRahman’s supporters.

Abdel Rahman, a spiritual leader of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, has been imprisoned in the US since the 1990s accused of terrorist activities.

The family and the supporters of the blind leader have been demonstrating before the US Embassy since the summer of 2011 demanding his release and return to Egypt.

Two protest marches, one coming from Nasr City and another from Heliopolis merged together in Salah Salem Street, completely cutting off traffic, as the thousands of protesters marched on Tahrir Square.

In Mohandiseen, protesters congregated in Mostafa Mahmoud Square and set off down Al-Batal Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Street, the suburb’s major thoroughfare, before heading toward Tahrir Square.

In the governorate of Gharbiya, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Mahalla, calling for the swift transfer of power from the ruling junta to a civil government.

On the stage in front of Hardee’s, members of the April 6 Youth Movement called for a revolutionary trial for the ousted Mubarak to be held in Tahrir Square, the uprising’s epicentre.

Protesters on the same stage announced the organisation of a march that would set off from Tahrir and converge at the medical centre where the ousted dictator is hospitalised.

The marchers aim to bring Mubarak back to Tahrir for the aforementioned trial.

Furthermore, another group of protesters called for another march to move from Cairo suburb of Maadi to Tora prison, where corrupt figures of the old regime are being held. The objective is also to bring them to trial.

In Giza, the Cairo University march connected with three other marches. The thousands of marchers have swelled and will soon fuse with a fifth group of protesters marching around Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Mohandiseen to amass even more protesters.

Around Mohandiseen’s main square, protesters distributed masks adorned with the photos of slain protesters, one of which bore the image of Khaled Said, the iconic face of the victims of police brutality.

A larger than life effigy of a military man, a symbol of the ruling junta, was borne around the square, inviting the rebuke of protesters.

The mother of Mina Daniel, a young protester slain during the bloody military crackdown at Maspero on 9 October, joined the hundreds of protesters in Shubra Square.

The protesters chanted ‘Shubra people let us go again and seize our victory,’ as they marched to Tahrir Square.

Veteran socialist activist Kamal Khalil led chanters on top of a truck equipped with large amplifiers.

Marchers called for retribution against the ‘killers of the slain protesters’, also directing their chants at the farcical trial of Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal.

Labour lawyer and Revolutionary Socialists member Haitham Mohamedein said that he was not demanding the handover of power to the People’s Assembly.

Rather he is calling for the ruling SCAF to simply be brought down.

The stage at Omar Makram Mosque became a platform for around 30 political groups, including the Democratic Front, the April 6 Youth Movement and the Revolutionary Socialists.