It has existed among revolutionaries since Egypt’s presidential election ended on Thursday, but on Monday evening, it spilled over.
Ahmed Shafiq, the candidate who they say they hate, has made it to the second round runoff election for Egypt’s next president.
Despite allegations of fraud and other voting irregularities, the Presidential Election Commission (PEC), which has the final say on election results, rejected seven appeals that candidates only had a few days to prepare and submit after polls closed on Thursday night.
At a press conference on Monday, the five PEC judges held a press conference where they announced the results and the rejection of appeals, but did not offer any further explanations. The media was given only five minutes for questions before the judges abruptly walked out.
The result of round one was final: the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi vs Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister and former air force commander.
For supporters of the revolution, Shafiq, along with former foreign minister Amr Mousa, were “felool”, or remnants of the old regime. Thanks to campaign budgets larger than most others, their ads were often out of reach, high atop buildings across Cairo. But when they were found at street level, it was usually with the word “felool” scrawled across them in graffiti.
Both, however, drew support from areas across the country from people who felt that they were the only candidates who could bring stability back to Egypt. In the end, it was Shafiq and not Mousa who would succeed in taking 24 per cent of the vote, second only to Morsi.
Immediately after the PEC’s verdict, which came as no real surprise to most activists, the protests began.
They reportedly happened in Alexandria, Suez and other cities including the capital.
What started as a few hundred at Tahrir Square grew to over a thousand. They marched through downtown Cairo chanting against the country’s military rulers and, of course, Shafiq.
Marching on Shafiq’s HQ
In the nearby Dokki area of Giza, just a few kilometres away from Tahrir Square, a breakaway march of a few hundred marched to Shafiq’s campaign headquarters.
The chanting crowd seemed hesitant, perhaps expecting to face some resistance. They never did.
Once they reached Shafiq’s headquarters, many marchers did not stop. They kept marching as a few activsts shouted that they had arrived at their intended destination.
“Are you sure? We don’t want the wrong one,” shouted back others, and the argument went on for a few minutes.
After a few minutes of arguing, someone climbed over the gates and returned a minute later with a package. He stuck his hand inside and tossed tens of campaign fliers with Shafiq’s face into the air.
The crowd roared as others began to also jump the gate or bring it down with whatever objects they could find on the street.
Inside, the lights were all off and there was no indication that any of Shafiq’s team were present. There could easily been a violent confrontation, had they been there.
Soon, there were sounds of smashing glass, and the building was set ablaze. Fire trucks arrived at the scene to deal with the blaze, and the crowd made its way to Tahrir, tearing up the stolen Shafiq propaganda on the way.
Back at the square, a protester stopped me after realising I was a journalist.
“Do you know why we’re here?” he asked me in English.
“Because you are against Shafiq?” I asked.
“Not only Shafiq, but Morsi and SCAF too. We don’t want any of them,” he shouted before walking off to join his comrades.