Thousands of protesters demonstrated in downtown Cairo on Tuesday to commemorate the second anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes in 2011 that left approximately 50 dead.
The day began with rival protests on Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Tahrir Square, with the latter occupied by demonstrators supporting Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Meanwhile protesters in Mohamed Mahmoud chanted against the Muslim Brotherhood, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and the Ministry of Interior.
Protesters from the rival demonstrations faced off in Tahrir Square in the early afternoon and supporters of Al-Sisi were chased towards Abdel Moneim Riad Square, where security forces in front of the Egyptian Museum fired tear gas to separate the two sides.
Small-scale clashes between the two sides of protesters continued, while anti-SCAF demonstrators continued carrying out demonstrations on Mohamed Mahmoud Street and Tahrir Square.
Minor clashes took place in the area of Abdel Moniem Riyad between pro and anti-SCAF protesters. Both sides threw rocks at each other. The anti-SCAF protesters pushed the pro-Sisi demonstrators outside the square and put up barricades.
At Cairo University students of different affiliations demonstrated in the memory of the 2011 clashes. Outside the university campus and near the military barricade at Al-Nahda Square dozens of university students, most of whom were females, and a couple of university staff belonging to a group called Egypt will Prevail chanted in support of the military and General Al-Sisi. The students were wearing white t-shirts bearing the phrase “students against terrorism”.
General coordinator of the group Ahmed Hamdy said, “We held several demonstrations this week supporting General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and his road map, but we were always harassed by the students who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. That is why we are protesting off-campus – to avoid clashes with them.”
At the Faculty of Commerce hundreds of Student Against the Coup members protested against what they called “3 July military coup”. The students marched to the central library of Cairo University and stopped by the Faculty of Daral-Uloum where they ended their march in front of a photo exhibition of what they called “the Rabaa massacre.”
Students belonging to the Revolutionary Front protested against what they called “military rule and the treason of the Muslim Brotherhood.” The protest started from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, toured the university then headed to Abdeen metro station where it met marches belonging to the same group from other universities including Helwan and Ain Shams.
One of the coordinators of the Revolutionary Front at Cairo University, Mustafa Haggag, confirmed that minor clashes took place between the students and some Abdeen residents. “They threw water at us from the balconies, which provoked some of the students into a fight, but no one was injured,” Haggag said. “The student march then headed to Talaat Harb Square to join the main protest organised by the Front.”
A march that included the 6 April Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Front, and the Revolutionary Socialists marched from Talaat Harb Square to Mohamed Mahmoud on Tuesday evening carrying symbolic coffins representing those who had died in the 2011 clashes and in the following year amid protests against ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s controversial constitutional declaration. Protesters held up three fingers, which they claimed represented the three factions in the country that “betrayed the revolution,” which consist of military leadership, remnants of the Hosni Mubarak regime, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Tamarod (Rebellion) Campaign decided to cancel rallies it had called for in memory of those who died in clashes between demonstrators and security forces on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in 2011 and 2012.
The group decided to cancel the rallies after claiming to have “confirmed information from people on the ground of the descent of terrorist Brotherhood elements to Tahrir Square on the grounds that they were the youth of the revolution.” The campaign also claimed that these people sought to “drag the revolution and its youth to violent incidents.”
The newly erected monument in the centre of Tahrir Square was badly damaged and defaced on Monday night following a march commemorating the dead and in opposition of the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Interior and the Muslim Brotherhood. The iconic graffiti on Mohamed Mahmoud Street was also replaced by a colourful camouflage in preparation for Tuesday’s anniversary.
Tamarod is regarded as the driving force behind the mass protests that prompted the army to remove Mohamed Morsi as president in July.
The Revolutionary Front, a group that opposes the intervention of the Armed Forces in political life and the Brotherhood, has called for people to gather in Talaat Harb Square at 5pm on Tuesday and plans to march to Mohamed Mahmoud Street.
The front also organised student protests around the country. At Banha University, the front organised the exhibition entitled ‘Gadaa Ya Basha’ (well done) in reference to what some members of the security forces said to the infamous “eye sniper” who was prolific during the 2011 clashes.
Commemorative marches organised by the front were also planned to take place at the universities of Tanta, Helwan and Ain Shams. Other marches and demonstrations were set to take place in Alexandria, Beni Suef, Dakhalia and Port Said.
Supporters of the popular Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi began gathering in Tahrir Square to commemorate the anniversary and the birthday of the interim Minister of Defence. Media spokesperson Wael Abu She’isha of the Kammel Gemilak Campaign in support of Al-Sisi confirmed that the group decided not to march on Tuesday but instead will march on Thursday.