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Egypt: Will January 25 be the Day of the Egyptian Intifada?

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Egypt, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Politics, Protest

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011 [1].

What is going to happen in Egypt on January 25? People are calling for demonstrations and sit-ins everywhere. Who is going to participate, and where? What are their demands? Isn't it possible that some people are against the whole thing? We just need to pay the Egyptian blogosphere a quick visit to find out answers for all our questions.

Egyptian Wish, who lives in the US, wrote calling people to participate in the demonstrations and sit-ins that are going to take place in Egypt on January 25 [2]:

يوم 25 يناير بداية إنتفاضة الشعب المصرى
كن جزء من تجربة يمكن أن تجعل أولادك وأحفادك فخورين بأنك كنت جزء منها ، سنتصدى للفساد مهما كلف الثمن ، قد لا يكون هذا الحدث هو النهاية ، ولكنه بالتأكيد سيكون شرارة وبداية للتغيير الحقيقى إن شاء الله.
The Egyptian people's intifada will start on the 25th of January.
Be part of the experience that might make your children and grandchildren proud of you some day. We will demonstrate against corruption, no matter how much this will cost us. This might not be the end, but for sure it will be the beginning. It will be the spark and the first step of the real change.

Thanks to the events in Tunisia that forced former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country, as it seems that the Tunisian syndrome is being spread across the Arab world, and some might consider Tunisia as the first tile in the domino effect [3].

Egyptian Wish continued:

فى تونس نزل الآلاف من المواطنين صامدين مصممين على ضمان حقوقهم وحقوق الأجيال القادمة وحصلوا على حقوقهم كلها حتى هروب الديكتاتور بن على و مصر مش أقل من تونس.
In Tunisia, thousands of the Tunisians demonstrated for their rights and those of the coming generations, and they insisted on their rights until achieved their goals and forced Ben Ali the dictator to flee the country. The Egyptians aren't any less brave than the Tunisians.
Jan25 Freedom to Egypt [4]
The Brazilian cartoonists Carlos Latuff dedicated [5] many [6] of his [7] cartoons [8] to the event.

Freedom to Egypt, on the 25th of January.

Zeinab Samir, like many Egyptians, is still not sure what will happen on that day [9].

ماكدبش عليك، أنا مش عارفة إيه اللي هيحصل يومها، مش عارفة العيال اللي على فيس بوك هينزلوا فعلا زي ما بيقولوا وللا لأ.. مش عارفة حتى إذا كان يضحك وللا يبكي إنها تتسمى “ثورة”.. يعني، من باب إن الثورة دايما بتبقى مفاجأة مش بمعاد
Frankly, I do not know how things will go on that day. I am not sure if those who are calling on Facebook for people to go out to the streets are going to demonstrate themselves or not? I am not sure if it a funny thing to call it a “revolution” or not, since no revolutions are made according to a pre-set schedule.

Many groups and events are scheduled on Facebook for the demonstrations. More than 78,000 Egyptians have so far confirmed their participation in the event created on “We Are All Khaled Said” group there [10]. Zeinobia wrote here to sum up the participants so far [11]. Even outside Egypt, people are calling for demonstrations in front of the Egyptian embassies in London and Washington [12].

Zeinobia wrote:

The January 25th protest is getting serious attention more and more. More Facebook pages and groups are calling for the #25 Jan and more political groups are going to participate in the huge event “They are about 17 groups”.

But why this specific date? Zeinobia sees it is a reminder to the Egyptian people and to the police [13] that on that day, the police stood with the Egyptian people against the occupation forces there at that time.

25th of January is the national day of Egyptian Police where we remember how our police force in “Ismailia [14]” stood besides the people and the resistance against the British occupation in a very rare patriotic incident in 1952.

While now, especially after the murder of “Khaled Said” [15], the situation is not the same.

Zeinobia explained:

Now in 2011 there is a big event organized by “We are all Khaled Said” group [10] and supported by other opposition political parties and groups on that day and there are huge hopes that this event will change Egypt forever especially after what happened in Tunisia.

Zeinobia then listed the requests of the callers of the demonstrations.

The group is calling the people to go to the street in order to achieve certain demands:

  • To raise the minimum wage limit to LE 1200 and to get an unemployment aid.
  • To cancel the emergency status in the country , to dismiss Habib El-Adly and to release all detainees without court orders.
  • Disbanding the current parliament , to have a new free election and to amend the constitution in order to have two presidential limits only.

The question now, where is presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradie [16] and the heads of the opposition movements from all this. Nawara Negm [17] quipped:

اه وربنا
والبرادعي مسافر
والاخوان خالعين
ومش محتاجين نقول الوفد خلع لانه مالوش لازمة في الحياة اساسا
بس التوانسة نازلين عشانا… ومش بعيد الاردن كمان تنزل عشانا، ويمكن نتفاجئ ان الجزائر كمان نزلت عشانا، وامبارح كان فيه مظاهرات في السودان على الغلاء، على الله بقى السودان تنزل عشانا
النكتة حتبقى لو كل دول نزلوا عشانا واحنا ما نزلناش بحجة ان “القيادات” مش نازلة.
Ah, really!
El Baradie is travelling abroad. Ikhwan [18] are out. We needn't to say, that Al Wafd Party [19] is also out, anyhow we all know it's a useless party.
But the Tunisians are going to demonstrate in solidarity with us. And most probably the Jordanians as well. And who knows, may be the Algerians too. And yesterday there were demonstrations in Sudan because of the rise of the prices.
It will be really funny if all those people demonstrate for us, while we consider the unavailability of the opposition heads a reason for us to stay at home.

Although the “Salafists Movement for Reform [20]” aka “HAFS” announced that it is going to participate [Ar] [21], yet normally most of the other Salafy movements are against the whole thing. Also some bloggers are suspicious and not sure if this calls might end with uncontrollable riots and unrest. Amira Bahhy El Din wrote here about her fears [22].

لن اقول لكم لاتحرقوها ….
لكن تذكروا ان هذا الوطن اغلي من العبث به وبحياه مواطنيه !!
ربما نعيش ايام سوداء لكنها ليست الاسود !!!!
ولو احرقتموها واحرقتمونا ، فلا تبكوا ولا تندموا فوقت البكاء والندم سيكون قد فات !!!!
I am not going to ask you not to burn our nation.
But remember that this nation is too precious to be the subject of our experiments and games!
We might be living in bad days now, but it's not the worse!
If you burn it and get burnt, then you shouldn't regret nor cry over spilt milk.

Finally, we have to wait an see what is going to happen in the next few days. We have to wait and see who really is going to participate, what will they do, and how will the regime react [23]. And then days will prove if Tunisia is really the first tile of the domino effect in the region, or the situation in Tunisia is totally different than that in Egypt, Algeria, and in the other Arab countries [24].

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011 [1].