CAIRO: Political powers and activists are calling for a candlelight vigil to be held on New Year’s Eve in Tahrir Square, to honor the martyrs who lost their lives throughout the year in Egypt’s fight for democracy.
“It is every Egyptian’s right, even those marginalized [by society], street children and those who can’t afford it to welcome the new year with a heart full of hope after all the pain of the past year,” said activist Gameela Ismail of what activists have dubbed a night of “Prayers for a free and happy Egypt in 2012.”
“Let us all look forward with great optimism for a free and happy Egypt in 2012,” she added.
The night will kick off at 8 pm and will include Sufi, patriotic and religious songs, as well as church hymns and recitals by Azza Balbaa, Ramy Essam, Ali El Haggar, Ahmed Fouad Negm and Sayed Hegab.
The April 6 Youth Movement will be taking part in this event to show the world the revolution is still ongoing.
“We called for freedom and dignity in 2011 and will continue to do so in 2012 until we are on the right path to democracy,” said Ingy Hamdy, spokesperson of the movement.
“There is no celebration yet, but we hope with our will and unity next year we will be celebrating the true success of our revolution,” said Hamdy, adding that power will be handed over to a civilian rule, those accused of killing protesters will be prosecuted and the army will return to their barracks to protect the people not fight them.
Qasr El Dobara Evangelical Church, which had opened its doors to doctors treating wounded protesters throughout 2011, will be holding a prayer as part of the event.
“Based on the invitation from our fellow Muslim brothers, we are inviting all Christians to join us in welcoming the New Year together,” the church said in a statement in which they asked participants to bring along a candle and an Egyptian flag or a picture of the martyrs.
The ruling military council said Friday it has tasked the armed forces and the police to protect churches during the celebrations.
The head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has instructed security to cooperate with the youth of the revolution and the politial powers to secure the celebrations in Egypt’s churches “to prove to the world the civility and the peaceful nature of this great country,” the council said in a statement released on its Facebook page.
On its part, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) said that it will send “a high-profile delegation” led by Deputy Supreme Guide Mahmoud Ezzat to convey their wishes and greetings to the Christians for Christmas and the New Year.
The MB called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the security forces to protect the churches just as it had protected the polling stations during the elections. “We are prepared to cooperate with the authorities and form popular committees of MB members to help protect the churches,” the statement read.
An attack on Al-Qeddesine Church (The Church of the Two Saints) in Alexandria in the first minutes of 2011 claimed the lives of 24 Christians and injured over 90 others including Muslims.