Up to 5,000 Egyptian activists defied police to march through the centre of Cairo on Wednesday of last week. The demonstration was called by the Kifaya (Enough) movement to protest against the inauguration of president Hosni Mubarak.
One activist told Socialist Worker that the marchers, who were singing banned revolutionary songs, were cheered on by bystanders as the security forces stood by.
This is the first time since 1977 that security forces have allowed a demonstration to march through the Egyptian capital.
The Kifaya movement has called many demonstrations over the last year and has usually been attacked by police and thugs associated with the ruling National Democratic Party.
Last Sunday, the Students For Change group launched a campaign in the universities demanding an end to the presence of security forces on campus.
The student group brings together leftists, Arab nationalists and Egypt’s biggest opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The campaign was launched at the Cairo Conference in March.
A democracy activist, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Socialist Worker that the Kifaya slogan has now become a popular cry among Egyptians.
The movement has called for an end to corruption, torture and neo-liberal policies.
Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak is a key US ally in the region, and has ruled Egypt since 1981 under harsh security laws. Earlier this month he was re-elected after a poll that was widely condemned as rigged.