Mass protests in Egypt last Sunday were the beginning of a second revolution.
Around 17 million people came onto the streets. In the capital Cairo there was a festival mood—people ate ice cream and let off fireworks. There was no tension.
People felt they had won and that president Mohamed Mursi is finished.
All of Egyptian society took part, from the middle classes to the poorest of the poor marching without shoes. At least half of those on the streets of Cairo were women.
I have never seen anything of this size, even in the 18 days that brought down former dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Mursi has been so bad that he has pushed people beyond democratic boundaries. They don’t care that he was elected—he hasn’t delivered what people wanted so he has to go.
People say, “We’ll get rid of you like we got rid of the last one”.
Everyone feels Mursi will go, though it’s not clear how. Even if the army move to force him out, people will see it as a victory for mass action.
Mursi never did understand there was a revolution.
A small group of people started the Rebel campaign (see pages 10&11). Others took the petitions into their villages and towns. They turned it into a mass movement of millions.Nobody expected it.
The whole country was shut down on Sunday. Everything stopped. People blocked railway lines and occupied government buildings.
Bus drivers took marchers to protests. Sometimes they stopped at one of our stalls and the driver would get out to get leaflets and then everyone would buy a paper. These are things we have never seen before.
The only security presence was some army at entrances to towns and cities. The army is seen by many as supporting the movement against Mursi. When army helicopters flew over Tahrir Square people clapped. “We started it so you must finish it,” they said to the soldiers.
There have been arguments about whether the army is an ally. People don’t want to see a military government—they just want the army to help get rid of Mursi.
The Muslim Brotherhood has lost so much support, especially in the urban areas. This opens up the possibilities for all sorts of ideas.
The Revolutionary Socialists sold loads of papers on the demos. People are asking what are the alternatives to Mursi. They ask what is liberalism, what is socialism?
Unlike how some of the media are trying to show it, these protests are not about secularism versus religion.
The demos in Cairo were completely mixed. There were women in the niqab, in hijabs and others with their hair out. The marchers were all ages and there was a massive representation of Christians.
But there was no visible presence of supporters of the old regime—no pictures of Mubarak for example.
People are so politicised, they are debating about what sort of society they want to see. Confidence is through the roof.
This was the biggest protest in world history. It will have an effect around the globe from Turkey to Brazil.
This struggle is not over.
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