The Strong Egypt Party held a march on Friday which began at the Istiqma mosque near Giza Square. The party had pledged it would not be calling for the regime’s downfall. However, the chants uttered during the three-hour march to Tahrir Square did just that.
Prior to the start of the march, Mohamed El-Fouly, the Giza Governorate party coordinator, said that the party was not in support of calls being made for the downfall of the President Mohamed Morsy’s government. He stressed that Morsy needed to see reason, and through popular pressure, El-Fouly hoped the people’s demands would be made clear.
The march began shortly after Friday prayers with members filing out of the mosque and rallying around banners and speakers. As the march got underway, the crowd erupted in chants calling for the downfall of the President Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood and their Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie.
Former presidential candidate and Strong Egypt Party leader Abdel Moneim Abdul Fotouh made an appearance, chanting and marching alongside his supporters. His appearance was brief, however, as the former Brotherhood member is suffering from diabetes and issues with his blood pressure.
Participating in the march was a subgroup of the party, calling themselves the Ultras Strong Egypt Party. One of the group’s members, Ahmed Maher, said they were not Al-Ahly Ultras but were rather a politicised group.
Maher explained the chants reflected a general view of the population but stressed that they did not seek open confrontation with the Brotherhood, the police or the army. “We are here to make our demands heard, and the president must comply with the demands of the people,” he said. He added the party demanded the government hold serious trials for those involved in the murder “of all the martyrs in Egypt, including those of Port Said and Tahrir.”
The party made 11 demands: fair trials for those involved in the murder of protesters, punishment for all those who helped in disposing of evidence related to the murder of protesters, no reconciliation with former regime figures, no foreign intervention, no International Monetary Fund loan, no military trials for civilians, the re-examination of certain articles in the constitution, purging of the Ministry of the Interior, implementation of minimum and maximum wage laws, social justice and trials for financial corruption.
The marchers moved onward past the Giza zoo and Cairo University, through Dokki and onwards to Tahrir Square. During the march protesters waved large Strong Egypt Party banners and called the Ministry of Interior thugs. Several people in buildings surrounding the march waved flags and cheered protesters, prompting an eruption of cheers and chants calling for the locals to come down and join the march.
Several marches across Cairo congregated in Tahrir Square, where the tear gas emanating from Qasr Al-Aini Street can be felt. Thousands packed into the square while police nearby clashed with protesters.