Word on the Street: Do demonstrations achieve any tangible results?

Ahmad Aboul-Wafa
5 Min Read

CAIRO: Over the past two years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of demonstrations taking place on Cairo’s streets – whether concerning the Qualified Industrial Zones agreement, constitutional reform, presidential elections, parliamentary elections or the violence in Lebanon, many people have had their say.

Some demonstrations were conducted with incident, while others featured multiple arrests and clashes with security forces. The Daily Star Egypt took to the streets to find out what the Egyptian public thinks of demonstrations.

I think peaceful demonstrations are a very civilized way of expressing the opinion of the people. Unfortunately some protestors deal with demonstrations as a good excuse to exert anger in a destructive way. Security forces deal with them in the same way and it turns into an uncivilized scene. Layla, housewife, 40

I think demonstrations are the best way to express opinions. In all developed countries people demonstrate to voice their opinion. If it was not a good way they wouldn t have done it, as these people don t waste their time. Time is money for these developed countries and they put it into demonstrations.Waleed, dentist, 30

Demonstrations? This kind of protest should only take place in a democratic country. Here in Egypt if anyone thinks of saying something he is taken to unknown prisons. In Egypt we should hide behind the wall, not think about demonstrations. Dawood, retired civil servant, 62

Parents have taken a negative view of demonstrations. They always advise us to stay away from demonstrations, but I certainly don t like this ideology. I have to be active in the development of my society. We should express our opinion. We really want a real change in the mentality of the Egyptian people, not simply to stay like this in the era of passivity and fear.Mohammed, law student, 20

I am completely in support of demonstrations, although I haven’t taken part in any. When I see a demonstration I feel that I exist and can still voice my opinion. I feel that there are still some people who can say ‘no’ and who can object to the unbelievably bad situation we have reached, especially in the past decade.Dalia, unemployed commerce graduate, 24

I see that any demonstration is prohibited. It is considered as a sort of outlaw behavior and disobedience to the ‘Imam.’ There is no proof that there were demonstrations during the time of the Prophet or his caliphs. So I don t believe that any Muslim should protest in demonstrations.Abdoul-Allah, sheikh in the Ministry of Awkaf, 30

The Prophet told us to try to change what we see wrong, whether by doing something about it or saying something against it. So if we see something wrong we should try to change it. But demonstrations should be peaceful and I believe we will be rewarded by God for trying to change the community.Abdoul-Rahman, engineer, 50

I don t like demonstrations. I don t see it as a good way of voicing your opinion. There are many other ways like sending emails and faxes to officials and the newspapers. I think it is much better than demonstrations.Abdoul-Allah, student, 18

I think all demonstrations end up helping the government. When they want to show that it is a democratic country they allow demonstrations to take place, and when they don t want a headache they just prevent it. But in all cases I hate demonstrations because of the traffic jams they cause. Ali, cloth merchant, 33

The views expressed in Word on the Street do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Star Egypt.

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