Tens of thousands in Tahrir as marches converge

Marches that began around different parts of the capital converged on Tahrir Square early in the afternoon, with tens of thousands assembled once again in the downtown Cairo square that became the epicenter of the 18-day uprising against President Hosni Mubarak one year ago.

The protest marches continued to grow as they moved through Cairo, merging with other smaller marches as the demonstrators chanted against military rule and reiterated demands from a year ago for bread, freedom and social justice.

The entrances to the square are being guarded for the most part by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, some of whom are identified by green hats. The marches, however, are bringing in protesters from across the political spectrum.

“I am here to continue the revolution, but at the very least we feel that a lot of Egyptian society is represented here, and no one is getting in anyone’s way and everything is going smoothly,” said Ahmed Emad, a 19-year-old student.

الذكري الأولي لثورة 25 يناير: ميدان التحرير

The largest march came from Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Giza, where a number of smaller marches from around Giza had converged.

“Today is for the completion of the revolution,” said Lousy al-Mazly, 35, who was protesting in Giza Square. “The main demands of the revolution were not achieved. There is no freedom, no social justice, no dignity. The only thing achieved is the death of fear inside of us.”

A march from the north Cairo neighborhood of Shubra was lead by the sister of Mina Daniel, an activist who was killed during violence that broke out at a Coptic Christian protest in October that left 28 people dead.

In Tahrir Square, different political parties and activist groups have set up their own stages. The Muslim Brotherhood’s stage seems more celebratory than others, but even there, speakers say the revolution must continue and its goals must be achieved.

But families of those killed by security forces over the last year are not all happy with how the day is going, and some feel it is too celebratory.

“We wish that today would have been a day to celebrate the execution of those responsible for the martyrs’ deaths,” said Aya Mohamed, holding a poster of her nephew Mohamed Sharif, who was killed during last year’s uprising.

Mahmoud, a friend of Sharif who did not give his last name, said, “The martyrs’ families think that everyone is coming down for their own interests.”

Eid Momen, the father of Momen Eid, a 21-year-old clothing store employee killed last year, agreed.

“I don’t get why people are celebrating. It means that our children’s rights, justice for their killers, are sold,” Momen said.

But Abdel Hady Hassanein, whose son Alaa Abdel Hady was killed on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in November when Ministry of Interior forces attempted to crush protests in and around the square, said he was happy with the day.

“It’s nice,” he said. “I consider that so many people are here an honor to my son.”

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