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Inside Story

Egypt: Taking stock of the revolution

Three years after the fall of Hosni Mubarak we analyse what Egyptians have achieved and where the country is headed.

Last updated: 27 Jan 2014 10:56
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Rival rallies marked the anniversary of the 2011 uprising in Egypt, reflecting the deep divisions that still exist after a revolt that raised hopes of political reform. 

Dozens of protesters were killed, and hundreds arrested, on Saturday as Egypt marked the popular revolt that overthrew long-time leader Hosni Mubarak three years ago.

Gatherings painted starkly contrasting scenes. Thousands turned out for state-backed rallies in Cairo's Tahrir Square, celebrating the overthrow of Mubarak as well as the removal of elected leader Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed by a military coup in July last year.

[The revolution] was stolen but now the revolutionaries will take it back, and the way that they are standing in the streets and are giving their blood and giving their lives for their freedom, this is really a historical moment we are witnessing in Egypt.

Zakaryya Mohamed Abdel-Hady, Qatar University

At the same time, security forces moved in on demonstrations in support of Morsi - a movement which remains strong in the face of arrests and detention; many leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have been jailed.

Security forces also shut down rallies by secular activists who led the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, but who are now critical of both sides.

The political picture in Egypt is a complex one where the army currently calls the shots, led by general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The military governed Egypt after the fall of Mubarak and then removed Morsi from power last year.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928, and has been banned for much of its history, is at the centre of recent events in Egypt. Its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, won the most seats in the 2011 election but it was reclassified as a terrorist group by authorities in December.

There is also the April 6th movement, young activists who helped mobilise the protests in 2011. They allied themselves with Tamarod - or the rebellion - calling for President Morsi to resign, but then also boycotted this month's constitutional referendum.

And the al-Nour Party - seen as ultra-conservative and aligned to the Salafist movement - ran second to the Freedom and Justice Party in the 2011 poll, but has since distanced itself from the Muslim Brotherhood. It is now backing the new constitution.

The call of the Egyptian people appeared simple back in 2011: Bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity. But, three years later, how much of that has been achieved? And is this the anniversary Egyptians had hoped for?

To discuss this, Inside Story presenter Adrian Finighan is joined by guests: Naomi Ramirez Diaz, a researcher at Autonoma University in Madrid, who specialises in political Islam; Zakaryya Mohamed Abdel-Hady, an associate professor of Islamic thought and culture at Qatar University, who studies Egyptian politics; Omar Ashour, a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter's Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies who is the author of, among other things, The De-Radicalisation of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements.

"The Nour Party belongs to a category of authoritarian Salafism which supports the state regardless of who controls the state and how he got to control the state."

Naomi Ramirez Diaz, Autonoma University

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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