Protests, Clashes on Anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud Street Battle
On the second anniversary of the 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud street clashes, hundreds of Egyptians came out to demonstrate against both the army and the Muslim Brotherhood and remember those killed fighting Hosni Mubarak’s security forces. Minor clashes broke out between pro-military protesters and the Mohamed Mahmoud demonstrators, and police responded by used tear gas and erecting barriers between the two groups. The original 2011 street battles left 47 people dead and 3000 injured. Earlier today, protesters hung banners across Mohamed Mahmoud street saying: “Revolutionaries only – no entry for Brotherhood, military or feloul (remnants of old regime).”
New Tahrir Square Monument Defaced
The military-backed interim government in Egypt began erecting a new monument in the middle of Tahrir Square this weekend, to commemorate the martyrs of the Egyptian revolution in 2011. However, not long after a commemoration ceremony which was attended by members of the armed forces and police, protesters used red paint and rocks to deface the memorial. Protesters also wrote graffiti denouncing both ex president Mohamed Morsi and current defense minister Abd el-Fatah el-Sisi. They chanted slogans such as “We don’t want to be ruled by soldiers, and we don’t want to be ruled by a Brotherhood that peddles religion,” the Associated Press reported.
The Egyptian newspaper Al-Sabah claimed this week that the number of atheists in Egypt could be as high as three million though it provided little evidence to support this claim. Atheism is still considered highly taboo in Egypt, and most atheists interviewed by journalists refuse to have their names printed because of fear of retribution or social isolation. A Gallop poll from 2009 said that 100 percent of respondents identified themselves as one religion or another. The majority of Egyptians identify as Sunni Muslim; Christians, the largest religious minority, make up about 10 percent of the population.
World Cup Playoff Game Tonight: Egypt vs. Ghana
In the last game of a two-game qualifying match to see who will go to the World Cup, Egypt faces off against Ghana tonight in Cairo. After losing to the Ghana’s team in the first round, Egypt would have to beat Ghana by at least 6 goals to be back in the running, which many believe is an impossibility. Egypt hasn’t sent a team to the World Cup in 24 years, though it won a record-setting seventh African Nations Cup title in 2010. Egypt’s coach Bob Bradley said that despite the odds, “We will fight till the last moment and play to win.”
Two Bombs Target Iran’s Embassy in Beirut
Two bombs exploded earlier today close to the Iranian embassy in Beirut, leaving 23 dead and wounding almost 200. A suicide bomber on a motorcycle carried out one of the attacks and a car bomb exploded soon after. Iran’s cultural attaché to Lebanon was killed in the attacks. A group affiliated with Al-Qaeda said that it was responsible and called for Iran to withdraw its military forces from Syria. Hizbollah, a militant Shia group in the south of Lebanon, has allied itself with Bashar al-Assad’s regime and has been fighting against rebels in Syria.