x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Egyptians to hold victory march to mark Mubarak fall

Thousands are gathering in Tahrir Square, the heart of the protests that unseated Hosni Mubarak, after Friday prayers, calling it the 'Friday of Victory and Continuation'.

CAIRO // Egyptians by the thousands gathered for prayers Friday and a planned victory march through Tahrir Square to mark the fall of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak a week ago.

The groups that sparked the 18-day revolt that led to Mubarak's downfall are calling this the "Friday of Victory and Continuation," a name reflecting both their pride in forcing a change in national leadership and their worries about the future.

People streamed into the square, even though a main access road was blocked by an army jeep and a barricade, and those entering on foot had to present identification to soldiers.

The atmosphere was festive, in keeping with the aim of the event, which was to maintain the upbeat spirit of the earlier protests. Families brought their children and some flag-draped Egyptians clapped or played musical instruments as they waited for prayers to begin.

Organizers planned a lineup of bands in the afternoon, while an ad agency was looking to shoot footage to promote Egypt's tourism industry, which has been hard hit by the nation's political tumult.

Among those waiting in line was a group of about 30 activists from the "Visit Egypt" campaign. They wore matching T-shirts with the slogan "Support Freedom, Visit Egypt" printed on the front.

Despite Friday's festivities, the situation in Egypt remains unsettled amid labor unrest and worries the military council running the country won't implement promised reforms. Banks and the stock market have been shuttered, and the military has twice warned Egyptians not to strike. Even so, at least 1,500 employees of the Suez Canal Authority protested for better pay, housing and benefits Thursday in three cities - just one example of workers nationwide using this opportunity to voice long-held grievances.