Egypt: the revolution continues

The people who continue to protest in Tahrir [Liberation] Square are still chanting &quotthe people want to get rid of the regime&quot.



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    The people who continue to protest in Tahrir [Liberation] Square are still chanting ‘al shaab yorid esqat al nezam’,‘the people want to get rid of the regime’.

    For the average Joe, or in this case Salah, the obvious question is "What regime? Isn’t Mubarak gone?"

    Salah, 34, a taxi driver who drove me to the square, asked: “Why are you going there? There is nothing there. I don’t know why people are still sleeping in the square?”

    In his opinion the country’s economy is now damaged and the protesters are holding the entire country hostage.

    “We were behind them when they pushed for change and got rid of the regime, but what they are doing now doesn’t make any sense!.

    "Khalas, (enough), he [Mubarak] is gone! What else do they want? They will never have enough. Their demands will never end!

    "People need to get back to work, look even Ahmad Shafik resigned and they are still not happy! Nothing will make them happy!”

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    People continue to gather in Tahrir Square to demand the fall of the entire regime [Fatma Naib]

    Prior to Ahmed Shafk’s resignation on Thursday, many people were calling for him and the rest of his government to step down.

    A million man protest in Tahrir was planned last Friday, and Alaa Elaswany, the Egyptian novelist, was one of those that called for Shafik’s  immediate resignation.

    He said on TV a day before that he would personally go to Tahrir to protest against Shafik. The internet was buzzing with heated discussions about keeping the Tahrir momentum up, and millions were expected to hit the streets to demand the ouster of Shafik.

    His sudden resignation was received with mixed feelings, but many were pleased because they felt that this was the first step towards fulfilling the rest of their demands.

    ‘The right man at the wrong time’

    Others were unhappy because in their opinion he was a good guy and he had done a lot for the country and needed more time.  The debate that followed these events sums up how the people in Egypt feel about the continuous protests in Tahrir.

    Ahmad, a teacher, said:”Shafik is clean, he is not corrupt, he has done a lot for the country. I am not happy, he should have stayed. His only crime is that he was sworn in under Mubarak. He was unlucky, the right man at the wrong time.”   

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    Civilians check for IDs at almost every gate leading into Tahrir [Fatma Naib]

    Last Friday was meant to be the ‘millions protests day’ to oust Shafik, but instead it saw another ‘victory’ Friday that turned into a carnival. This has been the case almost every Friday since Mubarak’s ouster. The scenery is the same, the check points that lead to the square are organised by civilians that check IDs to avoid armed thugs from entering.

    The moment you hit Tahrir you are surrounded by flags, street vendors selling badges, flags, and t-shirts with Jan25 and "I love Egypt" slogans. 

    Different chants in every corner. Some call for the end of the emergency law, others demand the release of political prisoners.

    Patriotic songs blast through the big speakers everyone is waving the Egyptian flags. Big banners are seen everywhere with the slogan “the revolution continues until all our demands are met”.

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    Many belives that the revolution should contiue until all the demands have been met [Fatma Naib]

    The difference between the two Fridays’s I had attended in Tahrir earlier was the obvious lack of military presence. They were around but they were no longer the ones checking ID’s and controlling who enters the square.

    Since the clashes between the military and the protesters on Friday, Feburary 25, the army withdrew gradually from the square. The square has gone back to Mubarak era mood, highlighted by the number of tents that are set up and the way the square is organised.

    Everywhere you look in the square people are engaged in mini debates and discussions about Egypt and the future.

    Mustafa Ismail, a banker, belives that the revolution should contiue because the "regime's left over’s are still around and need to go".

    “A bad plant needs to be extracted from the root, we can’t cut off the tree from the top and leave the rotten roots, everything needs to go.

    “Everything needs to be cleansed we can’t have any of the corrupt regimes around. If we leave one element of corruption then everything will be ruined.”

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    Amro continues to protests to ensure the demands of the revolution are met [Fatma Naib]

    ‘Supervising the revolution’

    Amro el Shebly, an engineer , he has been actively protesting in Tahrir since the January 25, and he continuous to protest in Tahrir.

    He doesn’t feel that all the demands have been met, although Mubarak stepping down was a dream that no one dared to dream he still feels that the revolution is not over.

    “what we are doing now is more of a supervision of the revolution, we are ensuring that those people that we trusted are meeting our demands.

    “our main demand right now is the release of all the political detainees, abolish the emergency law and reform the state security intelligence services.”

    “Despite everything, I believe change will take time, but I am optimistic about the future of the country.”

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    Dina el Gebaly, a consultant, joined the revolution on the 28th and started to come to Tahrir almost on a daily basis.

    “The constitution needs to be changed amongst other demands, I am positive and I wish for Egypt  to become a civilian democratic country.

    “I am with people going to work, a lot of people go to work and come to Tahrir straight after. We need to show them that we are still here, until all our demands are met.”

    As Mahmood, 18, a high school student, put it “the head of the pyramid is gone [Mubarak] but we need to get rid of the rest of the regime that are still there.

    “The whole pyramid of corruption must fall,” he said.

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    Mahmood wants those responsible for the killing of the protesters to be brough to justice [Fatma Naib]

    Mahmood has been actively protesting in Tahrir [Liberation] Square since January 25. He was never politically active before the revolution, but he found himself getting involved after the violence he encountered on January 25 on the hands of the police.

    He does not like the carnival like atmosphere Tahrir becomes every Friday.  

    “The martyrs that died for this country have not been vindicated yet. Those responsible for their death are pretty much at large, they are still free. No one has been prosecuted yet. We can’t celebrate yet, it is not over.”

    People come from all over Egypt to Tahrir, Mohammed and his friends came from Mahalla. “We come here to show our brothers and sisters in Tahrir that we are with them. It is not over yet and they need to know that entire Egypt is with them.

    “We didn’t get the same media attention but this is the capital of the revolution and we need to show solidarity and express that we are here too.”

    The square has seen several attempts by various people that tried to evacuate it by force. The last attempt was on Saturday morning when a group of people gathered around the square chanting “the people demand to evacuate the square”.

    Only time will tell how the story of the square will end - but for now the tents are there and the people continue to chant that the revolution is not over.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News



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