CAIRO: Some 50 political movements, groups and parties announced Wednesday plans for mass protests and marches over a week starting Jan. 20 to commemorate, not celebrate, the anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising.
In a meeting at El Sawy Culture Wheel Wednesday evening, the groups announced the details of the “Week of Anger and Mourning” starting with marches on Friday, dubbed “The Friday of the Dream of the Martyr,” and another marking the inauguration of the first session of the newly-elected People’s Assembly on Jan. 23.
“We are not going down [to Tahrir Square] to celebrate, but only to continue our unfinished revolution,” a statement signed by the groups said. One of their main demands was for the ruling military council to hand over power to a civilian authority.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had announced last week a series of celebrations to mark the anniversary of the popular revolt that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak. Thirteen performers will participate, including a folk band that will tour Al-Arish, Alexandria, Marsa Matrouh, El-Nouba and Suez.
“We won’t celebrate when the blood of the martyrs [was wasted] without proper retribution; 14,000 prisoners are in military jails; the symbols of the old regime still rule Egypt; emergency law is still in place; social justice that has not been accomplished….We won’t celebrate because they [the military council] are liars,” the statement said.
This Friday, marches will take off from the homes of martyrs in Maadi, Shubra, Estiqama Mosque in Giza, Mostafa Mahmoud Square, Al Azhar Mosque, Abbaseya and other areas. The march will converge at Tahrir Square where a film documenting the history of martyrs from Jan. 25 to the Cabinet clashes will be screened. Other groups like a Christian choir and Eskenderella band will also perform.
Three marches planned for Jan. 23 will mostly begin at noon. Marches dubbed “Retribution”, “Social Justice” (planned by the Union of Independent Workers) and “No to Military Trials” will start from Abdel Moneim Riyad Square, Qasr Al-Aini, and the High Court of Justice. They will finally meet at the parliament building.
Besides condeming the complete absence of justice for the martyrs, they are also objecting to the systematic media distortion of the image of the revolutionaries, the yet un-purged judiciary, and the numerous arbitrary arrests of protesters on vague charges of conspiracy and incitement of violence.
“A police force that has recovered its violence and insolence in a systematic way [has returned to the scene].
“It is all run by a tyrannical military ruler that is working hard to extinguish the revolution, filter out its sons, and dissipate its objectives, and turn it … into an occasion to celebrate… without meting out any consideration or appreciation to the brave people of this country who sacrificed thousands of martyrs and injured in order to achieve a few goals that can be summarized in one slogan: ‘bread, freedom, and social justice,’” said the statement.
Plans for protest action following Jan. 25 are yet to be announced.