Egyptian opposition protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday to mark the two-year anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled longtime former President Hosni Mubarak.
Clashes between protesters and security forces started on Thursday night. Some of the forces burned tents where demonstrators were camped and fired birdshot and teargas at them, reported the Egypt Independent publication. Protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at security forces in response.
It appeared that the tensions had died down as of Friday morning after at least 61 civilians and 32 security forces were injured, reported Reuters
But throngs of protesters converged on Tahrir square later in the day, chanting against the current government of President Mohamed Morsi, reported Ahram Online. Angry with Morsi’s government, many protesters accuse him of betraying the revolution.
“I’m here today because I believe oppression, poverty and injustice is not the written fate of the Egyptian people. Millions have been struggling for freedom and dignity. However, unfortunately, we are cursed with one leader after another who believe that coming to power simply means enjoying the privileges of the position without its full responsibility and duty,” journalist Sherin Ali told Ahram Online.
“I’m here today not to remove Morsi, because he assumed power through the ballot box, but to remind him that he has a duty to the Egyptian people and that he can’t oppress and exclude the opposition,” she added.
Since last November, walls were erected on roads between Tahrir Square and several government buildings, but demonstrators attempted to dismantle one of them to get through, reported the BBC.
Two years ago, Egypt’s revolution—which came just after the one in Tunisia—inspired people in other Arab countries to take to the streets to protest against their own leaders, including in Yemen and Syria.
But in Egypt many liberal and leftist opposition members believe that that revolution was hijacked by Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood decided against coming out en mass to mark the day.
“The Brotherhood is very concerned about escalation, that’s why they have tried to dial down their role on January 25,” Shadi Hamid, director of research with the Brookings Doha Center, told Reuters. “It’s definitely tense on the ground, but so far there hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary or anything that really threatens to fundamentally alter the political situation.”
According to Ahram Online, there has been an increase in police abuses under Morsi’s government.
“The police consider everyone a suspect until they are proven otherwise. They have arrest quotas and this is their target, not maintaining security,” Mahmoud Kotri, an ex-brigadier general and security expert, told Ahram Online last year. “This is one of the reasons why torture and abuse continue to occur.”