Why we are holding Egypt's second 'Friday of rage'
May 27, 2011
In Egypt this week, plans for a large protest on Friday 27 May have attracted more controversy than any other call for a "millionia" (a million-man march) since the revolution. Partly this stems from the names used to describe the day this time: in accordance with the revolutionary tradition of giving names to the various Fridays since the "Friday of rage" on 28 January, it has already become known as "the second revolution", or "the second Friday of rage".
The call for a "second revolution" chimes with a growing restlessness and impatience at the pace of developments and the overall performance of the governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). This culminated in the #NoSCAF blogging day, when more than 200 bloggers criticised SCAF to show that no one is above scrutiny in the new Egypt. Simultaneously, activists – myself included – have called for consensus demands aimed at mobilising large sections of the people. Below are these demands.
One concern is the growing talk and continuous leaks about intentions to pardon Hosni Mubarak and members of his regime from facing criminal trials. We demand no clemency for Mubarak, his family or his regime.
The biggest grievance has been the manner in which the security forces – the military police, the army and the police – reacted when the protests got more heated. There has been more than one incident since the revolution when they have used disproportionate force, mass arrest, torture as well as live ammunition against protesters. We demand that not a single peaceful demonstrator should be confronted, arrested, beaten up or humiliated. The Egyptian people have earned themselves that right.
The army have also extended their use of military trials against civilians to unprecedented levels, with hundreds of civilians having received severe and disproportionate prison sentences. At first, this was presented as a measure to restore security in the absence of a regular police force; increasingly, however, it has been used at will against protestors and normal citizens. We demand the immediate end of military trials, not only against activist and protestors, but also against petty thieves and so-called thugs. We refuse to trade our security with our basic rights
Pressure from below has been the main instrument of democracy during this transitional period in Egypt's history. Occupying the square has been our tool to achieve the demands of the revolution since Mubarak stepped down on 11 February. The collapse of the Shafik government (the prime minister appointed by Mubarak, who outlasted him for a few weeks); the banning of the National Democratic party; even the criminal indictment of Mubarak and his gang: they were all achieved through the Midan (the square).
We will be out again in Tahrir Square on Friday 27 May in order to assert that the interim power respect our rights and demands. The Egyptian people have earned their right to control the future of this country.