Millions of protesters have returned to the streets and squares of Egypt. And this time they are determined to hold the ruling military council and the government of Essam Sharaf to account
Around a million people crammed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday of last week to demand justice for those who were killed during the uprising against President Mubarak.
Hundreds of thousands also marched in Alexandria, Mansoura, Suez, Mahalla and Egypt’s other cities. Tent cities have sprouted again and the engine of the gigantic street protests is driving the popular movement forward.
The demand for justice for the martyrs and their families has been the immediate trigger for the renewal of protest on such a massive a scale.
The decision by a court in Suez earlier this month to release seven police officers on bail who are accused of killing protesters sparked riots and demonstrations.
But it is clear that this explosion reflects the pent-up rage of millions at the failure of Egypt’s rulers to turn the slogans of the revolution into reality.
Amid the calls to speedily put those responsible for killing protesters on trial are other demands—including raising the minimum wage and a new budget that favours the poor.
Mustafa Bassiouny, an activist with Egypt’s Revolutionary Socialists, told Socialist Worker that many workers mobilised for Friday’s protests.
“There were delegations from the property tax collectors union, the public transport workers and the Mahalla textile workers—all marching with their own banners. They joined with many other workers in Tahrir Square, including delegations of
pharmaceutical workers and the Helwan steel workers.
“The newly-formed independent unions carried banners calling for the scrapping of anti-strike laws, for an increased minimum wage and for social justice.
“Together with the crowds in Tahrir they chanted for the overthrow of Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and the military council.”
As Socialist Worker went to press, numbers in Tahrir Square and the streets of other cities were swelling again in response to a call for mass demonstrations on Tuesday.
Protesters reacted angrily to a statement by prime minister Essam Sharaf promising a cabinet reshuffle and to the military council’s demand that they return home and allow the country to “return to normal life”.