Saturday 1 Sep 2012
Revolutionary and leftist forces gathered Friday condemning Muslim Brotherhood domination of national political life, insisting that key revolution demands must be met
Over five thousand protesters gathered in downtown Cairo's Talaat Harb Square late Friday night protesting alleged Muslim Brotherhood attempts to dominate state institutions, urging that the revolution's demands be met instead.
The release of the revolution's prisoners was the main demand expressed by protesters during the demonstration which toured the streets downtown for several hours.
"The people's first demand is the release of our brothers from prisons," chanted the young revolutionaries.
Socialist red flags and Ultras football fan banners were waved while activists also held pictures of Egypt's new president, Mohamed Morsi, comparing him with Mubarak and saying he has failed to meet the revolution's goals.
"Be happy Mubarak, Morsi is finishing what you started," chanted the protesters.
The anti-Brotherhood protesters held sign with the slogan, "I support Mubarak and wish to meet him,” attributing the statement to Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
The now famous chant, "Sell the revolution Badie," was also reiterated.
Revolutionary groups have been accusing the Brotherhood of selling out the revolution ever since they supported and campaigned for the roadmap set by the former ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) ahead of the March 2011 referendum on constitutional amendments.
Morsi recently came under strong attack from leftists and other young revolutionaries after requesting a loan from the International Monetary Fund of $3.2 billion and later attempting to boost it to $4.8 billion.
Since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, activists have been campaigning under the banner "Drop Egypt's Debt," raising awareness about the likely consequences of an IMF loan, which they argue would only work to impoverish Egyptians.
The leftist assault on the Brotherhood's Morsi for accepting the loan triggered a backlash from Freedom and Justice Party acting chairman Essam El-Erian last week, accusing leftists on Twitter of receiving international funding, being anti-religion and looking down on the people, claiming that these are the reasons for their failure in the region.
"Where is El-Erian … the left is here," chanted some protesters Friday.
El-Erian backed down on his criticism saying, a day later, "No consolation for the (old) left led by Refaat El-Sayed (the leader of El-Tagammu, the oldest formal leftist party) … the hope now is in a new left led by Abdel Ghafar Shukr from the older generation, Kamal Khalil from the middle generation, and Wael Khalil from the young generation."
Prominent leftist activist Kamal Khalil, praised by El-Erian, who called for the Friday demonstration, was seen carried during the protest on the shoulders of recently released political prisoner Sambo, arrested during the Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes, spending more than a year in military detention.
"The left is rising, from the streets and factories," chanted protesters as they waved both Egyptian and red flags.
The implementation of a monthly national minimum wage of LE1500 was a demand frequently articulated in protesters' chants.
An Al-Azhar cleric joining the protest also led a chant against the constitution drafting body, the Constituent Assembly, seen as completely Muslim Brotherhood dominated. Earlier, representatives of Al-Azhar walked out of the first assembly complaining of Brotherhood domination.
"Bread, freedom, social justice!" the protesters kept chanting, insisting "The revolution still continues."
*Photo by Mai Shaheen