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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Egypt’s Friday protests and divisions among the activists

Egyptian protesters

Friday protests in Cairo and in other Egyptian cities as well (such as Alexandria, Suez) were attended by a few thousands of demonstrators who were protesting against Muslim Brotherhood political domination and voiced their key demands addressed to the Egyptian authorities. The protesters claimed Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy and his government didn’t make active steps in implementing their promises. The protesters insisted that the key revolution’s demands must be met by President and state’s authorities.

But after thousands of protesters gathered in the squares of Egyptian cities to voice their demands and protest against Muslim Brotherhood’s domination in Egyptian political life, the activists became divided. Some of them see the protests as an important and decisive step in building the new strong opposition. Another group of activists disagree and consider those protests being an incorrect move which leads to division only and do not represent the demands of all the people.

Friday protests were expected to be bigger, with the higher participation, especially of those with secularist and leftist views. Although the numbers were less the activists claim it’s very important that the people came to the streets again to voice their demands and to express their concerns.



The representatives of Kefaya Movement, Revolutionary Socialists, Egyptian Communists parties, the activists of No Military Trials group and the members of some other political forces participated in the Friday demonstrations. There were also several independent activists and prominent figures taking part in the protests too.

Those protesting on Friday are disappointed with the policy of Muslim Brotherhood which became a leading political force in Egypt, and there are many worries and fears regarding their domination in Egyptian political sphere and in all the main government structures. The protesters accused Islamists of working for their own agenda only and for not making any decisive steps for Egypt. They were also accused of using the IMF agenda, as most of revolutionary activists, mostly leftists, strongly oppose the idea of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) loan. They claim this loan is for spreading capitalism in Egypt and in the world only and it will not help to improve the economy in Egypt but will only lead to its deterioration.

It’s worth mentioning that Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy, who came from Muslim Brotherhood, made a request to IMF asking for $ 4.8 billion loan to help to restore Egyptian suffering economy and to get back the foreign investments.

The demonstrators and activists stressed that Muslim Brotherhood’s relation to the poor people were made only through their charity work, and there were nothing done for the country’s economy.

The activists who are mostly sharing leftist and socialist views claim they will continue the protests until Egypt’s President and Muslim Brotherhood will take actions and make positive steps for Egypt’s developments.

The demands voiced by protesters during Friday marches were also the following: trial of SCAF’s and former regime’s members for killing the peaceful protesters during January 25 Revolution and the following events; releasing all political prisoners and halting the practice of military trials for civilians; raising the salaries for the state’s employees and implementing the minimum and the maximum wage; rejecting the IMF loan and the financial aid from World Bank as well.

But some other activists and Egyptian people disagreed with those protests claiming they represented mostly the leftists and socialist forces and their interests, but not all the Egyptian people. Some activists stress those moves could lead to isolation from the people, as calling for ousting and stepping down of an elected President and state’s authority and demonstrating against the Muslim Brotherhood is unacceptable and incorrect. Thus there were accusations that those protests were leftist, and only leftist and socialist forces could benefit from them.

But other groups, headed by the protests’ organizers, do not describe those demonstrations as the leftist protests. The leftists are the part of Egypt’s revolution, and those demonstrations are revolutionary protests as they are calling for meeting the revolutionary demands and achieving its goals.

The representatives of Islamist forces in their turn claimed their opponents have to fight them through elections, not through street activities and such protests. They claim it’s a sign of political weakness of leftists.

Meanwhile chanting and protesting against Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist domination aren’t new for Egypt. They have been held since January, when Muslim Brotherhood was accused of collaborating with SCAF.

So, the activists are divided in Egypt after Friday protests, as some of them think it’s a wrong way to protest in attempt to overthrow President backed by Muslim Brotherhood, as it could lead to the repeating of the old scenario from the revolution’s times, when the dictator was ousted, but there were no unity and no plan for the further actions to implement revolutionary demands. This time there should be consolidated decisions and steps, cooperation between political forces and a special program.

Some revolutionary activists, for example Ahmed Imam, who is a member of National Front of Defending the Revolution, said he and his organization didn’t participate in the Friday protests, as the chants against Muslim Brotherhood and even using the term “Brotherhoodisation” referring to Islamists political domination is vague and could signal the fear in front of Brotherhood’s forces. Imam stated all other demands voiced on Friday were actual and his organization’s member agree on them, but the calls against Morsy and Muslim Brotherhood are unacceptable, and the people have to give a chance for the President and his government to work for developing Egypt.

Thus the activists were divided after the Friday marches, with one group considering the protests being the real and important steps and calling for the next protests, and with another group which takes such moves incorrect and claiming the protests do not represent all the Egyptians.