Egypt's 'Day of Rage': Six years on

Egypt's 'Day of Rage': Six years on
3 min read
28 Jan, 2017
Egyptians commemorate the Day of Rage on social media amid tightened security measures to prevent any public gatherings marking the sixth anniversary of the 25 January revolution.
Millions gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square demanding an end to Mubarak's 30-year rule [AFP]

Amid tightened security measures to prevent any public gatherings marking the sixth anniversary of the 25 January revolution that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians took to social media on Saturday to commemorate one of the most iconic days of the revolution: the Day of Rage.

Within hours of the Friday prayers on 28 January 2011, only three days after protesters began to gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square and other public spaces across the country demanding an end to Mubarak's 30-year rule, the number of protesters increased to hundreds of thousands.

Realising the protests signaled something bigger and more serious than the usual demonstrations, Egyptian authorities shut down internet services and blocked all communications across the country to prevent people from organising.

Throughout the day, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons into crowds during violent clashes between security forces and protesters.

The first protester killed during the revolution was shot dead on that day in the city of Suez.

By 6pm, the government had ordered a nationwide curfew, which was ignored by protesters before police forces withdrew and army troops were deployed.

For 18 days, millions demonstrated in makeshift tent camps, denouncing social inequalities, government corruption and police abuse, and calling for democratic reforms, before Mubarak resigned on 11 February under increasing pressure.

Translation: Today marks Egypt's Day of Rage six years ago. On this day, everyone wished they were Egyptian, and what happened later is beyond me.

Translation: Despite what happened to the revolution, its youth, and to Egypt, when I remember what happened on 28 January, the Day of Rage, and during the 18 days at Tahrir Square, I can say I had truly lived.

Translation: Six years later, we witness the return of the greatest day in Egypt's history to remind us of renewing our pledge to most honourable of all. 28 January is the path to justice and equality, so do not feel discouraged if it is currently abandoned. Glory to the martyrs.

But the revolution's victory was short-lived. In 2013, the military - led by then-defence minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi - overthrew the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sisi soon ascended to power, officially becoming president in June 2014, and has since led a violent crackdown on opposition, particularly members of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

Security measures intensify in January every year to prevent any celebration or resumption of the once victorious protests.

Last year, on 24 January, Egyptian activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh was shot dead by a police officer while marching with protesters in Cairo to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the revolution.

A day later, Italian researcher Giulio Regeni was abducted from the heavily-policed downtown Cairo. His body was found a week later in a ditch outside Cairo bearing severe torture marks, suggesting he died of torture at the hands of security services during an interrogation, an allegation the Egyptian government has strongly denied.

In addition, thousands remain in prison today on related charges, including posting anti-regime content on social media, wearing t-shirts with anti-torture slogans, and taking part in peaceful protests.

Article continues below interactive timeline