As military choppers hovered over the squares of Cairo, where protesters have congregated since 30 June to demand the departure of President Mohamed Morsi, the crowds cheered, pointing their green laser lights at them.
“The army and the people are one hand,” they chanted. The chant alienated some protesters, who had toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and forced the military junta to hand over power to civilians in 2012, after a tumultuous eighteen-month interim rule.
But their cynicism did not mean nonparticipation. Anti-military activists marched on 30 June for a third alternative to that of the Brotherhood rule and a military coup to reverse it, chanting against the military, the police, the Mubarak regime and the Brotherhood. They believe Egyptians should protest all forms of oppression and dictatorship.
The march started from Al-Fath Mosque in Ramses Square led by the April 6 Youth Movement, Strong Egypt Party, the Revolutionary Socialists and other revolutionary coalitions.
Marching in Ghamra, protesters chanted against police brutality when they saw a police truck, which quickly left the scene.
But besides antagonizing symbols of the old and deep state that other protesters are celebrating such as the military and the police, this march’s activists chose to also focus on social justice. The chants of the march centered on social justice and the deteriorating economic situation, to draw people’s attention to the necessity of focusing on the revolution’s basic demands.
Across the way from Ramses to the presidential palace in Heliopolis, the protest walked through the narrow streets of Qubba district chanting for economic and social rights, which encouraged more protesters to join and gathered huge support from the residents, who notably stood in front of their homes demanding that President Mohamed Morsi step down.
Fatheya Mohamed, 60, who joined the protest in Qubba, said she voted for Morsi, but he disappointed her.
“I live in a very critical condition. I get insurance from the government worth LE180. How should I live in this country with this income? Morsi is working on tightening his grip on the country and forgot about the poor who elected him,” she added.
Political analyst Amr Abdel Rahman, however, is weary of revolutionaries’ cynicism. “This is not a military coup. This is exactly what happened during the first wave of our revolution- massive protests that forced the military to take the side of the protesters in order to avoid a total disintegration of the state,” he wrote on in a post on Facebook.
“And we are not naive. We understand that the overlap with the military is temporary. We learned our lesson during the interim period that followed the ousting of Mubarak. There will be no carte blanche to the army.”
[This article originally appeared on Mada Masr.]