Notes from Tahrir: July 2nd
By Howaida Kamel, Cairo Community Manager
In the early afternoon, the army released the aerial footage that they captured above Itahadeya and Tahrir on June 30. This was a political move used to show the huge number of people that had come out against Morsi, and to show that the army is dedicated to following the will of the people.
At the halfway mark of the 48-hour ultimatum, I headed to Tahrir once again. Driving from Maadi towards Tahrir on the Corniche, we bumped into two different pro-Morsi groups of protestors, all holding pictures of the president shouting "shar3eya" (legitimacy). They were heading towards Cairo University, where a larger group of Muslim Brotherhood supporters decided to congregate.
We parked in Zamalek again to walk across Kasr el Nile into Tahrir. Again, there were police and army trucks parked nearby, and those on duty were smiling and interacting with people on the streets. Volunteers in neon vests organized the traffic on the bridge, and a wall of motorcycles blocked cars from passing. The volunteers stood on top of their motorcycles to direct people crossing the bridge to leave the other for car traffic.
Once we got to the bridge, we joined a huge group of people led by six men who used drums and horns to lead the crowd through a series of different chants. The men took turns carrying each other on their shoulders and leading the crowd through different forms of irhal ya morsi (see below). This group was made up of people from all social classes, and a significant percentage were women. The cheers also addressed the issue of gender equality, showing that many of those in Tahrir recognize the value of Egyptian women in society, and that the revolution is a fight for everyone's social rights.
In Tahrir, protesters had created seating areas near the entrance using plastic chairs, which protesters could rent for 5 EGP. There was a much more celebratory and festive vibe in the square compared to Sunday. At sunset, protesters set off fireworks above the square, and everyone was waving the Egyptian flag. Everyone had hope that the end of the Muslim Brotherhood had come.
President Morsi delivered a speech to the nation at around 11:30pm, making it clear that he has no intent of stepping down at the end of the 48-hour ultimatum. He continued to blame members of the Mubarak regime for the new protests, claiming that he has legitimacy because of the political process and that he was elected by the will of the people. Morsi argued that these protests are not part of the revolution, and are in fact against the wishes of the true revolutionaries of 2011. His speech left the country wondering what will happen tomorrow and what the army's reaction will be.
Below are some of the many chants heard in Tahrir in the past few days. I hope that these images and words will help give insight into the emotions, excitement, and apprehension we are feeling in Cairo and all of Egypt.
The rule of the Murshid will fall
Oh the embarrassment, the Ikhwan are pretending to be revolutionaries
As long as Egyptian blood is cheap, any president will fall
Pamper them, pamper them, the Muslim brotherhood were pulled out
They said the woman's voice was her genitals, the voice of women is the revolution
Leave means go, do you understand or no
Every Morsi Mubarak will fall
I'm not atheist, I'm not a sinner, the rule of the Murshed will fall
Morsi you pansy, come on, leave, fuck off
Tahrir says the brotherhood is the old regime
Leave Morsi, feel sorry for the chair