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Symbolic coffin placed over Tahrir monument

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The monument was defaced within hours of its inauguration

 Egyptians gather near a memorial to those killed in Egypt's uprising that has a fake coffin on its top on November 19, 2013 in Tahrir square in Cairo as dozens of supporters and opponents of the army mark the anniversary of anti-military protests. (  AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

Egyptians gather near a memorial to those killed in Egypt’s uprising that has a fake coffin on its top on November 19, 2013 in Tahrir square in Cairo as dozens of supporters and opponents of the army mark the anniversary of anti-military protests.
( AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

A symbolic coffin covered with an Egyptian flag now sits over the monument inaugurated by Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi on Monday.

The monument, which lies in the roundabout of Tahrir Square, was built in “memory” of those who lost their lives  during the 25 January and 30 June revolutions. It was inaugurated one day before the second anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes and is made up of a paved circle with a podium in the middle. Bright yellow bricks were used to build the monument.

On the occasion of laying the monument’s foundation stones, El-Beblawi gave a speech to send “a message” to martyrs that the “people will never forget your sacrifices”.

But the proximity of the monument to Mohamed Mahmoud, the street and the anniversary was met with antagonism by protesters. Within hours and on the eve of the anniversary, protesters who oppose the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Interior and the Muslim Brotherhood used red spray paint to write insults on the monument, directed at both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, a video by non-profit media group Mosireen showed.

A plaque with the names of Interim President Adly Mansour and El-Beblawi along with bureaucratic information on government officials who attended the inauguration was also damaged by protesters. The monument is now a pile of rubble after protesters removed many of the yellow bricks used for building the podium, revealing a block of cement underneath.

Around 50 people lost their lives during deadly clashes in Mohamed Mahmoud Street in 2011. The second anniversary comes amid heightened tensions among various groups planning to commemorate the anniversary, but with different secondary goals, varying between showing support or opposition to the army.


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