Violence flares on anniversary of Egypt uprising
2013-01-25 0:00

By Aya Batrawy and Mariam Rizk |

Two years after Egypt’s revolution began, the country’s schism was on display Friday as the mainly liberal and secular opposition held rallies saying the goals of the pro-democracy uprising have not been met and denouncing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

With the anniversary, Egypt is definitively in the new phase of its upheaval.

From the revolt that began Jan. 25, 2011 and led to the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the country has moved into a deeply divisive struggle between ruling Islamists, who say a string of election victories the past year gives them to right to reshape Egypt, and their opponents, who say Islamists are moving to take complete power.

Overshadowing their struggle is an economy in free-fall that threatens to fuel public discontent. The vital tourism sector has slumped, investment shriveled, foreign currency reserves have tumbled and prices are on the rise. More pain is likely in the coming months if the government implements unpopular new austerity measures.

"Today the Egyptian people continue their revolution," said Hamdeen Sabahi, a leading opposition leader who finished a close third in presidential elections held in June. "They are saying ’no’ to the Brotherhood state ... We want a democratic constitution, social justice, to bring back the rights of the martyrs and guarantees for fair elections."

Tens of thousands massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where the 2011 uprising began, and outside Morsi’s palace, with more heading to join them from other districts. Banners outside the palace proclaimed, "No to the corrupt Muslim Brotherhood government" and "Two years since the revolution, where is social justice?" Others demonstrated outside the state TV and radio building overlooking the Nile.

Similar if smaller crowds gathered in most of Egypt’s main cities, including the Mediterranean cities of Alexandria. The protesters chanted the iconic slogans of the revolt against Mubarak, this time directed against Morsi – "Erhal! Erhal!" or "leave, leave" and "the people want to topple the regime."

Clashes erupted in multiple places between police firing tear gas and protesters throwing stones – in side streets around Tahrir, in Alexandria and the city of Suez and in six other cities. Outside the gates of the presidential palace in Cairo, masked protesters tried to push through a police barricade, prompting a barrage of tear gas by security forces.

Read it on Global News: Global News | Egypt marks uprising anniversary with rallies against Islamist leader


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