Video: Tahrir Square, a melting pot for Egyptian revolutions
Egypt’s Tahrir Square is emblematic of the Arab Spring uprising. In January 2011, thousands of Egyptians thronged onto the Cairo square to protest society-wide corruption and police brutality. Today, and despite the country’s financial crisis, some Arab Spring participants still converge there in a bid to relay their revolutionary ideas to new generations...
In Cairo, there is not a single person who hasn’t heard of Tahrir Square. It all began on Jan. 25, 2011, when several thousand Egyptians gathered there to protest police brutality. What had initially been planned as one day of rallying turned into three weeks of protests - not to mention the “million-man march” - which would bring anti-government activists together not only in Cairo, but all over Egypt.
The protesters would pay a steep price, however: during their 18 days of protests, more than 850 people were killed, and 6,000 people were injured. But on Feb. 11, 2011, they finally achieved what they no longer thought possible: President Hosni Mubarak stepped down after more than 30 years in power.
Two-and-a-half years went by, and the calm slowly seemed to be returning to the square. The army had been put in charge of handling the transition process and the Islamist Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected president. But in June 2013, Morsi’s supporters and critics began a month-long stand-off on the square, and in July Morsi was finally removed from power. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected president one year later, and has since ruled Egypt with an iron first.
Although the 2011 revolution might seem like a long time ago, some of those who made it happen still try to keep the revolutionary spirit of Tahrir Square alive, despite the repression they face in doing so. Our reporters, Nadia Bléty, Éric de Lavarène and Claire Williot went to meet them.