Can you give us some background on the group of activists you currently work with?
We are a group of independent activists, who used to practice politics a long while a go. We are not willing to be part of any organisation, but we depend on our history and ability to mobilise people and defend the rights of protesters. This group of activists, which is currently playing an influential role in Tahrir is a bit controversial. Sometimes we know how to coordinate and at the same time we don’t belong to a certain movement. I would say the main focus of our group stems from the Egyptian Front to Defend Protesters.
However the revolution has also added weight to certain activists. Moreover, most of us work in the field of human rights and thus we are always able to reach a consensus quickly. I would say we are 100 strong activists who manage to play a role and proceed with a revolutionary mission.
Following the first anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes, how did you organise yourselves in reaction to the announcement of the constitutional declaration?
We were about 550 Egyptians in Gaza only one day before the anniversary of Mohamed Mahmoud Street. We wanted to refresh the memory of one of the most important battles of the revolution, in which 65 people were killed and many lost their eyes. However, some other protesters felt the urge to take revenge upon the Ministry of Interior on the same occasion. We could not encourage this group or discourage them because we were not there. We focused on regaining the rights of those killed. We earlier called for the removal of the ministry from this street, but nobody listened.
The ministry insisted on provoking the protesters on the same day. I believe that Mohamed Mahmoud Street brings good luck for Egypt’s politics. After the second Mohamed Mahmoud street incidents and the killing of Gaber Jika, it was proved that there was no difference between Morsy and Mubarak. After these recent clashes, we have 400 people being detained by police forces.
Then came the constitutional declaration, which for us is a setback. After witnessing the clashes in Mohamed Mahmoud [Street] and all the casualties, we cannot give this person (Morsy) the opportunity to show up and say I am your new God. This new constitutional declaration is a crisis, which reinstates the emergency law. It is just a new method to eliminate the remaining revolutionaries and the concepts of the revolution.
How would you comment on the law to protect the revolution?
They have just established a prosecution to ‘protect the revolution’ in which they intend to send all those who express their opinions, or criticise Morsy and his regime, to trial. That’s why we have completely denounced this new law. Morsy’s new declaration has even escalated the situation in Tahrir Square and Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which was already on fire a few days before the announcement of the decree.
We were just hoping that one day Morsy would prove to Egyptians that he is a real president for all Egyptians. He hasn’t done so. He has put the interior ministry’s forces next to the protestors, and when clashes took place, he came up with his constitutional declaration that set the country ablaze.
In Alexandria, people got into fights with the Brotherhood’s militias. Honestly, the important fact we extracted from the constitutional declaration is that we know that the Muslim Brotherhood has militias that are ready to do anything. When we decide to take to the streets we think first, we take the consensus of the entire group, we talk over the phone and organise meetings. We might disagree, quarrel with each other, or agree. But in their case, the order comes, ‘Go and support the president’, why? He doesn’t know. When will he return home? He doesn’t know.
They follow the same definitions of regular forces, regardless of their weaponry. In general, the Muslim Brotherhood constituted a question which required to be answered.
Are you planning to stay in Tahrir until the constitutional declaration is cancelled? It seems that the president is not showing any signs of retraction.
It has become a live or die battle for the revolution. We prepared large demonatrains in cooperation with other revolutionary forces for Tuesday protests. Marches have taken place from most renowned places across Cairo; Al-Istiqama Mosque, Al-Sayyida Zeinab, and Shubra Roundabout. In parallel, there are marches in other governorates. We intended to gather in Tahrir Square. We will remain there until the cancellation of this constitutional amendment.