Hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Egypt on Sunday to call for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The protests marked the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration.
The protests are the biggest challenge to date of Morsi and his political party, the Muslim Brotherhood. A crowd numbering over 200,000 took to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Sunday.
The crowed waved national flags and shouted for Morsi to “get out” in a familiar scene. Sunday’s was the largest demonstration seen in the country since the people rose up and overthrew Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, in 2011.
In an echo of the Arab Spring rally cry, the crowds changed, “The people want the fall of the regime!” The main protests on Sunday remained peaceful, but that did not hold true around the country. In the town of Beni Suef, one Morsi supporter was killed and 37 others were injured.
Organizers of Sunday’s protests called on demonstrators to occupy the central square of every city in Egypt until Morsi steps down. One protester, Dua Badrawy, commented, “I want my country back. We are all Egyptians, and we want a real democracy.”
Despite President Morsi being the first elected leader in the country’s 5,000-year recorded history, opponents have contended that they are not living in a true democracy. The feeling stems from late last year, when Morsi issued several decrees that gave him power over the rest of the government.
While the Egyptian president eventually removed all of the decrees, the damage was done. Demonstrators on Sunday shouted their anger at Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. They accused the political party of hijacking the revolution and using a fake democracy to institute their Islamic law.
While Sunday’s protests in Egypt remained largely peaceful, tension between the two sides continues, leading some to expect more violence in the coming days. Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also warned last week that the military may intervene should it decide Egypt is close to entering a “dark tunnel.”
[Image via Gigi Ibrahim]