Egypt Marks Five Years Since Start of Arab Spring Uprising

Washington, D.C. Monday marks the fifth anniversary of Egyptians launching protests against longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in a revolt that helped spark a wave of uprisings across the Middle East.

Tahrir_Square_-_February_9,_2011People congregated in Tahrir Square on 9 February 2011. Photo: Wikipedia.

Over the course of nearly three weeks, Mubarak fought back with security forces cracking down on protesters, particularly in the capital, Cairo, but ultimately he stepped down after 30 years in power.

Current President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi praised the 2011 revolution Sunday, saying it brought a “new Egypt.”

Banned group

He accused others of using it for personal gains, in reference to the banned Muslim Brotherhood that won elections to take over the government following Mubarak’s ouster.

Sissi led a 2013 effort to push President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood member, from power after a year, then oversaw the creation of a new constitution and new elections that made him president.

Rights groups have sharply criticized Sissi’s Egypt, saying it is reminiscent of life under the strongman Mubarak.

They cite a strong crackdown on democracy advocates and others who oppose Sissi, particularly the Brotherhood, which has seen Morsi and many other top leaders arrested and put on trial.

People detained

Authorities in recent days have detained people who planned protests for Monday.

A Brotherhood website urged Egyptians to gather in “liberty squares across Egypt” and chant for “freedom, social justice, human dignity.”

The focal point for the 2011 uprising was Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where dramatic television images sent across the world showed protesters gathering day and night to call for Mubarak’s resignation.

They persisted through deadly assaults by security forces and eventually hundreds of thousands of people celebrated in the square when Mubarak stepped down.

By Chris Hannas.

VOA News
Voice of America (VOA) is the official external broadcast institution of the U.S. government. VOA produces about 1,500 hours of news and feature programming each week for an estimated global audience of 123 million people, to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas.

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