CAIRO: Thousands of Muslim and Coptic protesters marched from Shoubra to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution, raising pictures of the martyrs who lost their lives during the January uprising and the subsequent clashes throughout the year.
Banners displayed pictures of Mina Daniel, an iconic Coptic martyr of the Maspero clashes, Mohamed Gamal, an activist with April 6 Youth Movement who was killed on Jan. 21, 2012, and Sheikh Emad Effat, a top official at Dar Al-Iftah who was killed during the Cabinet clashes.
Daniel, who was a Shoubra resident himself, was killed in a crackdown on a mostly Coptic march last October. His mother Nadia joined the march Wednesday, saying all martyrs are her children either Copts or Muslims.
"Mohamed Gamal has just died few days ago. Forty days haven’t passed yet,” she said, "How can we celebrate the revolution while the martyrs’ blood hasn’t dried yet?"
She added that protesters came to defend their revolution in the face of tyranny and to call for the martyrs’ rights.
Demonstrators said they are protesting on the first anniversary of the revolution rather than celebrating since they haven’t seen any change over the past year, neither have the revolution’s demands been met.
Protesters called for the same demands raised during the 18-day revolt, including the downfall of the regime, as well as “bread, freedom and social justice.”
"We are not calling for power to be handed over to parliament because there hasn’t been a general consensus among us on who should take over power,” Tamer Qenawy, one of the march’s organizers, said.
"We are trying to reach the most possible consensus by voicing the main demand that we all agree on," he said.
Protesters also called for retribution for the martyrs and the prosecution of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council, according to Manal Bayoumi, a protester.
"I am protesting for the rights of the martyrs and the Jan. 25 revolution’s goals that should be achieved," Ramy Lakah, a Coptic businessman and head of Reform and Development Party, told Daily News Egypt.
Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahy said that he participated in Shoubra’s march to continue the revolution and achieve its objectives.
"Revolutionaries are the conscious of Egypt and its great spirit. As long as we are one hand Egypt will remain safe," Sabahy said addressing revolutionaries.
Lakah said those celebrating the anniversary of the revolution are celebrating the fall of oppression, inheritance of power and corruption.
"We are not concerned with the celebration that the military council is trying to delude Egyptians with. We came today to pay tribute to the revolution’s martyrs and retrieve it from those who stole it," Father Botrous, a priest at Anba Paula monastery, said.
Father Botrous said the revolutionaries did not achieve any of the revolt’s demands except for martyrs’ blood.
"The only party that achieved gains was those who fought for the parliament and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces," he said. "Everyone wants to continue their revolution except for a hired minority."
Ahmed Samy, member of Al-Tayar Al-Masry Party, said that he believes that even those who are celebrating only wanted to commemorate the revolution but are still calling for the same demands of the revolution that have not been achieved especially retribution for the martyrs.
Sabahy’s campaign organized the march with around 57 other coalitions and political movements including the Revolution Youth Coalition, April 6 Youth Movement, Socialist Revolutionaries, Maspero Youth Coalition, Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement, Al-Karama Party and Kazeboon (Liars) campaign among others.
The Maspero Youth Coalition and Al-Katiba Al-Taybiya, two Coptic movements, set up an obelisk that commemorates the revolutions’ martyrs that was later erected in Tahrir Square.
Shoubra is home to a large Coptic population and was the base of several marches calling for unity and Coptic rights, including the notorious Oct. 9 march.