The 2011 revolution in Egypt started with marches, demonstrations and civil resistance on January 25.
Protesters were inspired by the successful uprising in Tunisia, where demonstrators succeeded in bringing down the government.
People came on to the streets demanding the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They complained of poverty, unemployment, corruption and autocratic governance of the president who had ruled the country for 30 years.
Demonstrators included Islamic, liberal, anti-capitalist, nationalist and feminist elements.
Violent clashes between security forces and protesters resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people and thousands more were injured.
After 18 days of protest, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced on February 11 that Mubarak would resign as president, handing over power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The announcement sparked jubilation on the streets and sent a warning to autocrats across the Arab world and beyond.
Mohamed Morsi declared Egypt’s president in 2012
Egypt’s military rulers in 2012 recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, handing the Islamists both a symbolic triumph and a potent weapon in their struggle for power against the country’s top generals.
Mr. Morsi, 60, an American-trained engineer and former lawmaker, is the first Islamist elected as head of an Arab state. He becomes Egypt’s fifth president and the first from outside the military. But his victory, 16 months after the military took over on the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, was an ambiguous milestone in Egypt’s promised transition to democracy.
Following a week of doubt, delays and fears of a coup after a public count showed Mr. Morsi winning, the generals temporarily showed a measure of respect for at least some core elements of electoral democracy by accepting the victory of a political opponent over their ally, Ahmed Shafik, a former air force general. “Today, you are the source of power, as the whole world sees,” said Mr. Morsi, pointing into the television camera during his victory speech.
Two weeks before June 30, 2012, their promised date to hand over power, the generals instead shut down the democratically elected and the Parliament; took over its powers to make laws and set budgets; decreed an interim Constitution stripping the incoming president of most of his powers; and reimposed martial law by authorizing soldiers to arrest civilians. In the process, the generals gave themselves, in effect, a veto over provisions of a planned permanent Constitution.
Al-Sisi declares his military coup against Morsi in 2013
Only one year after President Mohamed Morsi took office, Egypt’s military led by Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, ousted him in a move supported by large swathes of the Egyptian public on July 3rd 2013.
In fact, the military succeeded in inciting the public opinion against the elected president.
The military tanks were deployed overnight on the main streets of Cairo and army checkpoints were set up all over the country to prevent Morsi’s supporters from reaching Egypt’s squares to protest the coup.
However, Morsi’s supporters and members of his Muslim Brotherhood took to the streets for demonstrations and they organized sit-ins in Rabaa Al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares.
But they were faced out with harsh crackdowns from the Egyptian police and military forces.Hundreds – maybe thousands -were killed and tens of thousands thrown behind bars.
One of the main features of the military coup in Egypt was the bloody coup confrontations in facing the democratic pro -Morsi supporters who were faced in the immediate aftermath with helicopter gunships opening fire on peaceful demonstrators.
The most notorious incidents, as documented by human rights organizations, is the violent evacuation of pro-Morsi’s peaceful sit-ins of Rabaa al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda square leaving hundreds — perhaps thousands dead.
“Unarmed protesters, including many women and children, were cut down in their tracks by army snipers,” said Anadolu Agency.
Moreover, the injured protesters who did not die at once from the coup gunfire were denied treatment at hospitals and left to die on the street. In addition, there were recorded reports of women being raped in police detention sites.
The military coup regime in Egypt also seized the assets of known Morsi supporters who were then labeled as “terrorists” by the pro-army media.
Despite Morsi’s sucess in Egypt’s 2012 presidential elections with some 52% of the vote, he only enjoyed the hard-core support of between 20 and 25 percent of the voting public, according to rough estimates.
The security forces in Egypt were stuffed with elements loyal to the former toppled regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Before Egypt’s military coup, a public campaign known as Tamarod (Rebellion) movement played a leading role in inciting the public opinion against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Tamarod spearheaded the mass anti-Morsi protests that culminated on June 30, 2013, which the army then used as a pretext to arrest the president and assume control of the country.
The military has also used Tamarod in inciting the public opinion against the elected president. There was a clear evidence that they have coordinated with the Tamarod movement before the coup, one of Tamarod cofounders Moheb Doss said the group’s leaders had communications from the army and other state institutions
Tamarod was also assisted by the machinery of the former National Democratic Party (NDP), Mubarak’s political party, which was in full force, as many of its former officials led the efforts in providing resources and collecting signatures across Egypt.
At the same time, the Businessmen’s private media escalated the opposition campaign against Morsi and the MB. For several months, over a dozen private owned satellite channels were devoted to the demonisation of Morsi and his group. They were accused of every crime and were blamed for every problem the country faced.
Morsi and his administration largely failed to contain the private media’s round-the-clock propaganda attacks, which prepared public opinion for the army’s coup bid.
The Egyptian media overwhelmingly supported the coup, while international media coverage remained neutral or – in some cases -even supported the coup, with the exception of a handful of news websites.
Moreover, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Egypt to support the army’s seizure of power from the country’s first democratically-elected president, thereby ensuring the coup’s success.
When Morsi’s supporters were violently suppressed by the military gunfire and snipers, al-Sisi was receiving “hefty financial support from the Gulf States to prop up Egypt’s moribund economy.”
Moreover, al-Sisi imposed-right after the coup success- a state of emergency that was used to arrest Morsi administration officials and Muslim Brotherhood members and confiscate their property.
Many revolutionaries supported the coup against Morsi
Many Egyptians, including January revolution activists supported the July 3 military coup, believing that the military would be able to lead Egypt to a better form of democracy, or, at least, to more social stability.
But military coups never lead to democracy, and Egypt’s coup has not generated greater levels of stability.
Unsurprisingly, and since the coup, Egypt’s military and police have solidified their authoritarian grip over Egypt. They have killed more than 2,000 protesters and arrested tens of thousands more; passed draconian legislation; shut down opposition media; carried out sham elections; and banned and eliminated their only serious political competitors. As political space has been closed off and government violence and repression have increased, ISIS has turned to Egypt as a new recruiting ground. Previously dormant terror cells have successfully recruited disaffected Egyptian youth. Terrorism has increased substantially. By any reasonable measure, Egypt is considerably less stable now than it was prior to the coup.
Egypt’s revolutionaries – where are they now?
Six years on, the activists who spearheaded the protests in Egypt that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak have met different fates.
Many are in prison or have fled abroad, while others are restricting their activism to social media.
Though hundreds of them, if not thousands, were killed by the Egyptian police, and tens of thousands were detained and given prison sentences, the Muslim Brotherhood members and Morsi supporters are still active in the streets more than three years after the coup and six years after the January Revolution, leading a relatively weakened mobilization against the regime.
In fact, Al-Sisi regime’s continuing repression and crackdown on the revolutionaries – including Brotherhood members and others, particularly after the military coup – has badly affected the anti-regime protests.
Sameh Abu Arayes, one of the supporters of al-Sisi and the military coup in 2013 has criticized the al-Sisi regime and publicly apologized to Morsi on his Facebook page
Sameh Abou Arayes was one of the supporters of the military coup in 2013 against Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected in Egypt’s history. He always defended Mubarak, the late tyrant of Egypt who was overthrown by the January revolution in 2011. Also, Abou Arayes was the organizer of the 2012 presidency election campaign for Umar Suleiman, the director of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service during the era of Mubarak.
Sameh Abou Arayes was also a strong supporter of Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who led the military coup against Morsi in 2013. Moreover, he has been attacking and insulting Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood over three years.
However recently, Abou Arayes has publicly apologized to President Mohamed Morsi . He said in a statement he posted on his Facebook page:
“I have a couple of words that I want to say at the beginning of the New Year in order to relieve my conscience. After the government has approved the waiver of the two islands of Tiran and Sanafir (to Saudi Arabia) and referred them to the parliament for ratification, it is clear that Al-Sisi is currently committing all what we previously accused “Morsi” of or what we were afraid he (Morsi) would have done (if he had remained in office).
– We were afraid that Morsi would waive part of the Sinai Peninsula, but today Al-Sisi is waiving the two islands of Tiran and Sanafir (to Saudi Arabia).
– We were afraid that Morsi would plunge Egypt into debts, implement the agenda of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), devaluate the Egyptian currency, and lift subsidies, but today Al-Sisi has carried out all this. He flooded Egypt with foreign loans, and the dollar’s exchange rate has reached twenty pounds. He (Al-Sisi) is canceling subsidies, wants to sell the government-owned hospitals, and is literally implementing all the agenda of the International Monetary Fund.
– We used to say that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood would repress anyone who might disagree with them, and that they would follow a fascist policy in the name of religion and turn their opponents into ant-religion actors. However today, Al-Sisi and his supporters have turned Egypt into a fascist country in the name of patriotism. Those who oppose Al-Sisi are now considered anti-army actors, traitors, and they are usually exposed to insults by the (pro-regime) media and electronic committees. The Al-Sisi opponents are possibly exposed to enforced disappearance, detention, or they would even be liquidated on the street.
The truth is that the current regime is committing much more heinous acts than what we were afraid the Brotherhood would have done.
It is noteworthy that most of the things that we attacked Morsi for were only fears and expectations. In fact, we haven’t seen Morsi waiving Egypt’s lands, for example. Also, we have not seen Morsi slaughtering dissidents in the streets such as what happened in Rabaa and Al-Nahda and others. We have not even seen any cases of enforced disappearance during Morsi’s era.
So, I feel that we really wronged Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Oh Morsi, we are sorry!!”