Chronicle of a Revolution-in-Progress
1 January : Egypt wakes to news of the attack on the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve. Twenty Copts are killed as well as the church’s Muslim police guard. More than 100 are injured. No group claims responsibility.
14 January : Tunisian dictator Zein Al-Abidine bin Ali flees his country. Inspired by the Jasmine Revolution the ‘ We are all Khaled Said ‘ Facebook page decides to mobilise for a revolution on 25 January, Police Day in Egypt.
16 January : Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party’s steering office meets to discuss ways to curb inflation and fight poverty. The Egyptian press has reported more than 20 attempted acts of self-immolation since Bin Ali’s ouster.
Tuesday 25 January : Tens of thousands march to Tahrir Square in Cairo and squares in Suez, Ismailia and other governorates. Their chants echo the Tunisian revolution’s ‘The people want to bring down the regime’ and take up a new, Egyptian slogan: ‘Bread, freedom, human dignity’. By early evening numbers in Tahrir have swelled to 50,000. After midnight police use teargas and water cannons and fire live ammunition into the air to disperse the crowds. Armies of riot police swarm over central Cairo in an attempt to make sure the demonstrators don’t return.
Three protesters in Suez and one policeman in Cairo were killed as a result of clashes between security forces and demonstrators. At least 500 are arrested and 300 injured.
Wednesday 26 January : Twitter and Facebook are blocked. An Interior Ministry statement warns that anyone joining demonstrations will be detained and prosecuted. Protests continue anyway in downtown Cairo.
Thursday 27 January : Rumours circulate that the authorities plan to close the Internet and mobile phone services within 24 hours. The Internet goes down late in the evening, though not before activists and Internet users circulate tips and advice — learned from Tunisian activists — on how to counter the effects of tear gas.
The Muslim Brotherhood issues a statement saying it will participate in the 28 January protests. Pro democracy figure Mohamed El-Baradei flies to Cairo from Austria to join the protests. Salafi leader Yasser Burhami says he will not join. Violent clashes between protesters and police in Suezenter their third day.
FRIDAY OF ANGER 28 January : Mobile networks stop operating at 11am. Cairo’s streets are virtually empty for most of the morning.
Following Friday prayers millions of demonstrators take to city squares despite the blanket security presence.
Police attack protesters in the early afternoon as they approach Tahrir Square across Al-Galaa and Qasr Al-Nil bridges. Despite heavy rounds of tear gas and water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition, tens of thousands insist on marching on. Hundreds are killed, and injuries are numbered in the thousands. By 5pm security forces are in retreat. Mubarak orders the military to deploy. A curfew is imposed but ignored by protesters who continue to swarm towards Egypt’s central squares. The Republican Guard is dispatched to secure strategically sensitive locations. The army is met by cheering protesters who chant: ” the army and the people are one hand.”
The NDP’s main headquarters is set ablaze. Police stations are attacked and burned, and armed gangs roam the streets. Tahrir Square, empty of any police presence, is occupied by tens of thousands of protesters who will remain for 14 days. A smaller group continues the sit-in until the military breaks it up on 10 March.
After midnight Mubarak makes his first televised address to the nation. He says he regrets the loss of life of both protesters and policemen. Mubarak sacks the Ahmed Nazif government and says he will not tolerate violent demonstrations that could threaten the state’s security.
29 January : News of mass prison breakouts cause nationwide panic and fear as one senior police officer, Mohamed El-Batran, is mysteriously shot dead in Fayoum prison. Military continues to deploy further. In response to the security vacuum mosques begin calling on the male population to protect their neighbourhoods from potential violence or attacks. Popular defence committees are created. Cairo looks like a big war zone with charred burned buildings framing its skyline and military tanks everywhere. Military announces curfew from 4pm to 8am. Schools and universities are closed. The mobile phone service returns, but not the Internet.
Mubarak appoints Ahmed Shafik, former air chief of staff as prime minister and chief general intelligence officer Omar Suleiman as vice president. Protesters demand either Mubarak resigns or delegates all his powers to Suleiman. Demonstrations persist.
30 January : Protesters form security checkpoints at all entrances to Tahrir. Several warplanes buzz the crowds of protesters triggering speculation on a possible military attack. It provokes more passionate chants of “the people want to bring down the regime” and “Hosni has gone mad”.
The authorities close Al-Jazeera ‘s office in Cairo. Saudi Arabia and Turkey send planes to evacuate their nationals. The United States advises Americans to leave Egypt. El-Baradei makes a brief appearance in Tahrir Square and demands that the regime leaves office. Al-Jazeera estimates the number of protesters in Tahrir at 150,000.
31 January : Calls for a nationwide general strike on 1 February gain momentum. EgyptAirsuspends all flights. A new cabinet is sworn in. Mamdouh Wagdi, a close aide to Habib El-Adli, replaces his former boss as interior minister. Mubarak asks the new government to open up a dialogue with the opposition.
1 February : Mubarak delivers a second televised speech to the nation. He says he’s not running for a new presidential term, vows to live and die on Egypt’s soil and promises constitutional amendments.
BATTLE OF THE CAMEL 2 February : Hundreds of pro-Mubarak thugs armed with Molotov cocktails, knives, swords and live ammunition, attack approximately 20,000 demonstrators in Tahrir Square. Dozens of armed plainclothes men on horses, camels and donkeys storm the square from Abdel-Moneim Riad, close to the Egyptian Museum. Scores of protesters are killed in the clashes which continue into the morning of 3 February. The square is saved by human walls of demonstrators formed at all six entrances. The Muslim Brotherhood and Football Ultras are at the frontlines and emerge as the heroes of what was instantly dubbed “the Battle of the Camel”. Protesters improvise barricades and break paving stones to throw at their attackers. Makeshift field hospitals are created in the square. Internet service returns.
3 February : Prosecutors order the freezing of Habib El-Adli’s assets and ban him from travelling abroad. Demonstrations continue in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and in Mansoura. The American ABC news station airs an interview with Mubarak who says he is “fed up” with being president but can’t leave office now because Egypt will sink into “chaos”.
4-6 February : Protesters across Egypt gather for the ‘ Friday of departure ‘, demanding Mubarak stand down immediately. It is followed two days later by the Sunday of Martyrs.
Gamal Mubarak and Safwat El-Sherif resign their posts in the ruling party. Massive demonstrations continue for the 13th day with chants of “we won’t leave, he must leave” and “down with Hosni Mubarak”.
8 February : Mubarak forms a committee to amend the constitution to allow for rotation of power and ease restrictions on any candidates seeking to stand for the presidency. He orders premier Shafik to form a committee to investigate the violence against protesters. Omar Suleiman warns of a possible military coup should dialogue with opposition forces fail.
9 February : Thousands of postal workers join the protests. Civil disobedience appears contagious with reports of workers from a host of public institutions beginning strikes. As the uprising enters its 16th day Suleiman says Mubarak will not be travelling to Germany for medical reasons, a move that some had argued could help solve the crisis.
10 February : The number of tanks stationed around the presidential palace in Heliopolis increases. In the late afternoon Egyptian TV airs footage of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) — a hitherto shadowy committee formed of the military’s top brass — meeting without the commander in chief, Mubarak, or his vice president. SCAF issues communiqué number 1 which supports the “legitimate demands” of protesters. The brief five sentence statement triggers widespread speculation on a possible military coup. TV reports that council is meeting continuously and will issue communiqué number 2 soon. Expectations are that Mubarak will finally resign.
Mubarak gives his third and last TV address. It’s long and badly edited. Instead of announcing he will step down, he plays up his achievements. Half way through his speech the crowds in Tahrir break into an echoing roar: “Leave!”
Shafik forms a fact finding mission to investigate the killing of protesters during the uprising.
11 February : SCAF issues communiqué 2 at noon which seems to confirm the status quo. Tahrir Square is packed with angry protesters demanding Mubarak and his regime go. State TV announces that an “important” statement will be issued by the presidency.
At 6pm a solemn looking Omar Suleiman announces that Mubarak has stepped down. The country celebrates and a new chant is raised: “Lift your head high, you’re Egyptian.”
The ex-president flies to his Red Sea home in Sharm El-Sheikh with his family.
SCAF issues communiqué 3 which is read by General Mohsen El-Fangari who thanks Mubarak then performs a military salute for the martyrs.
THE PEOPLE AND THE ARMY ARE ONE 12 February : SCAF announces Egypt will honour all international treaties to which it is a signatory. The daily Arabic Al-Ahram, always a mouthpiece of the Mubarak regime, executes a U-turn and splashes the headline “The people brought down the regime” across its front page in bold, red hand written Arabic font positioned above its pyramid logo.
13 February : The military’s popularity peaks as activists meet with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. The “We are all Khaled Said” Facebook page hails the army for refusing to fire at protesters during the uprising. In a meeting with youth activists SCAF generals vow to guarantee the process of democratisation and promise not to interfere in the political process. They also commit themselves to prosecuting anyone found to have fired at demonstrators.
SCAF issues a constitutional declaration which suspends the 1971 constitution, dissolves parliament and sets a six-month deadline for the military’s staying in power.
14-15 February : Tantawi appoints prominent judge Tarek El-Beshri, a historian and inspiration to anti-Mubarak dissent movements, to oversee the constitutional amendments needed to kick-start the transfer of power from the military to civilians via presidential and parliamentary elections. SCAF appoints seven members — three judges from the supreme constitutional court and four legal experts — to the committee El-Beshri heads and charges them to draw up the necessary constitutional amendments within 10 days. Mohamed El-Baradei warns that the timetable is rushed, and tells Al-Jazeera that limiting the transitional period under military rule to six months is unrealistic. He proposes a “presidential council” consisting of civilians, a judge and a military figure to oversee the interim period.
SCAF issues communiqué 4 urging demonstrators to end protests, sit-ins and strikes because of their negative impact on the economy.
18 February : Habib El-Adli, steel magnate and Gamal Mubarak associate Ahmed Ezz, tourism minister Zoheir Garana and minister of housing Ahmed El-Maghrabi are arrested on corruption charges. SCAF issues a statement warning of the economic costs of continued unrest.
COUNTER-REVOLUTION 19 February : Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the Arab world’s leading commentator, appears on state TV and warns of a “counterrevolution” which he suggests is being organised by Mubarak in Sharm El-Sheikh. Heikal calls on Mubarak to leave Egypt.
Rights groups investigating casualties during the revolution reveal that the death toll, thought to be 362, is in fact more than 800. Evidence emerges that the authorities are not serious in documenting the killings or conducting autopsies on bodies before burying them.
A court ruling grants the Wasat Party a licence after it had struggled for 15 years to be registered legally.
21 February : Three SCAF members appear on TV to refute Heikal’s warnings.
22 February : A minor cabinet reshuffle fails to placate protesters in Tahrir who view Ahmed Shafik’s government as comprising little more than remnants of the Mubarak regime. They demand an end to the emergency law and chant: “Tantawi, where is change?”
24 February: Police arrest Anas El-Fiqi, minister of information under Mubarak, and head of the TV and Radio Union Osama El-Sheikh. Both face charges of corruption.
26 February : SCAF issues a statement containing nine constitutional amendments that will be put to a public referendum. The amendments set new conditions for eligible presidential candidates and limit presidential terms to two. They also mandate the next elected parliament to select a committee that will be charged with drafting a new constitution within six months. Presidential elections will be held after the assembly is formed. The amendments also limit the power of the president to declare or renew a state of emergency.
28 February : The prosecutor-general sequesters assets, including bank accounts, real estate holdings and stocks and shares, of Mubarak and his family. A travel ban is imposed. Some press reports claim the Mubarak family fortune is as high as $70 billion.
1 March : SCAF starts meeting with revolutionary youth and intellectuals to discuss the interim period and the economy.
3 March : Ahmed Shafik resigns a day ahead of a one million-man demonstration called to protest against his government. Essam Sharaf, who served for a year as a transport minister under Mubarak but who also joined the demonstrators in Tahrir, is appointed as prime minister. His name had been floated by revolutionary youth coalitions to SCAF. Seven new ministers are appointed including Nabil El-Arabi, a former International Court of Justice judge, as foreign minister. Onetime Cairo Security Chief Major General Mansour Eissawi replaces Mahmoud Wagdi as minister of interior.
4-5 March : Crowds storm the notorious State Security Intelligence (SSI) headquarters in Alexandria where security personnel were destroying documents and takeover the building despite facing live ammunition. The move resonates across Egypt. In Cairo hundreds burst into the SSI’s headquarters in Nasr City, long known as Egypt’s Bastille. Thousands of SSI documents were already shredded but protesters managed to seize hundreds of intact files. One document that circulated on social media websites implicated Habib El-Adli in ordering the attack on the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve, but the document’s authenticity is questioned. The SSI raids are seen as a blow to Mubarak’s brutal police state.
SECTARIANISM REARS ITS HEAD 5 March: A romance between a Muslim woman and a Coptic man in Atfeeh village south of Cairo results in a gun battle between the two families in which the woman’s father and a Muslim fruit vendor are killed. A group of Muslims respond by burning the village’s church. The military seeks the mediation of Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, a Salafi televangelist, to calm the situation and vows to reconstruct the church by Easter. The issue snowballs as violent clashes erupt in Cairo following rumours of attacks on churches across Egypt. Thirteen are reported dead.
8 March: Copts demonstrate as a religious group for the first time since the revolution in front of the TV building in Maspero, downtown Cairo, in response to events in Atfeeh.
9 March: The government issues a statement warning of “counter-revolution” and calls on Egyptians to cooperate with the police which will soon return to the streets.
10 March : Aboud El-Zomor and his cousin Tarek, two military officers convicted of involvement in president Anwar El-Sadat’s assassination in 1981, are among those released from prison. They had served 30 years.
ISLAMIST-SECULARIST POLARISTION 13 March : Two weeks after they were made public a campaign against the constitutional amendments is launched by secular, liberal and left wing movements. The Muslim Brotherhood supports the amendments and Egypt is suddenly polarised between “No” and “Yes” camps. The “No” camp has reservations over the political process envisioned for the interim period. They want a constitution to be written ahead of elections which some argue could be postponed for up to two years, and accuse SCAF of marketing a “ragged” constitution instead of compiling a new one. Mohamed El-Baradei tells a TV talk show he will not run for the presidency under a flawed constitution. The ‘Yes’ camp is given an Islamist flavour because of the Brotherhood’s support of the amendments. They back the proposal, which sets a clear plan for the military’s exit and democratic transition.
17 March : The prosecutor-general levels new charges against Habib El-Adli that include the murder of protesters.
18 March : The Muslim Brotherhood applies for a licence for the Freedom and Justice Party.
19 March: The constitutional referendum is held, Egypt’s first free vote in six decades. Seventy-seven per cent vote yes to the amendments despite an intense media campaign by the “No” camp, employing political and entertainment celebrities, warning voters that a “Yes” vote will bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power. Social media websites are saturated with “NO” user pictures as the political civil war unfolds. The results are a severe blow to liberals and presidential hopefuls Amr Moussa, Mohamed El-Baradei, Karama Party leader Hamdeen Sabahi, and judge Hisham El-Bastawisi, who campaigned against the amendments.
Voter turnout is 41 per cent.
24 March : Military police violently break up an 18-day student strike at Cairo University where students and some staff are demanding the dismissal of the faculty dean. Four professors are arrested. It is the first violent attack by the military on protesters. Cabinet approval of a law criminalising protests and sit-ins that “damage the economy” causes uproar. Anyone deemed responsible for inciting a protest could now be imprisoned.
28 March : SCAF issues a new political parties law allowing for the formation of parties by notification to a legal committee provided applicants have a minimum of 5,000 members. A party will be deemed legal if there are no objections raised by the committee of seven judges from the courts of cassation, appeals and the State Council within 30 days of the application.
Nabil El-Arabi, the minister of foreign affairs, insists Iran is not a hostile country but a neighbour with long historical ties to Egypt. He also says Cairo will approach the humanitarian situation in Gaza differently and “everything will change”. El-Arabi’s statements signal a major shift away from Mubarak’s foreign policy which had been aligned with Washington against Tehran and with Tel Aviv against Hamas.
In the face of public pressure demanding Mubarak face trial SCAF places the ex-president and his family under house arrest in Sharm El-Sheikh.
30 March : SCAF issues a constitutional declaration including the amendments approved by the referendum and 53 articles from the 1971 constitution to serve as the legal framework during the interim period.
A military source is quoted in the media saying that Zakaria Azmi, Mubarak’s chief of staff, had resigned after it was revealed that he had retained the job.
31 March : The Ministry of Justice’s Illicit Gains Office places a travel ban on Azmi, ex parliament speaker Fathi Sorour and ex NDP secretary-general Safwat El-Sherif and their families.
Sharaf replaces the editors-in-chief of several national newspapers but the changes are widely viewed as cosmetic.
PRESSURE ON SCAF 1 April: Tens of thousands in Tahrir on ” Save the Revolution ” Friday protest against the authorities’ unwillingness to progress with trials of Mubarak, his associates and those responsible for the killing of more than 800 protesters during the uprising. The demonstration was called by the Muslim Brotherhood, the “25 January Youth Coalition” and several political parties who said they feared remnants of the regime remained in place in the media, the security apparatus and government bureaucracy.
8 April : For the second week in a row, hundreds of thousands assemble in Tahrir, this time for the “Friday of Purge and Trial”. Eight military officers in uniform join the protesters and demand that a civilian council replace SCAF. The demonstration continues as a sit-in which is violently attacked by the military the next day. The eight officers are arrested. Dozens of protesters are wounded. More than 40 are detained for violating the midnight curfew and the ban on demonstrations.
10-11 April: The Saudi Al-Arabiya TV station broadcasts an audiotape by Mubarak denying all allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement and threatening legal action against anyone tarnishing the reputation of his family. Mubarak’s former prime minister Ahmed Nazif, NDP secretary-general Safwat El-Sherif, presidential chief of staff Zakaria Azmi and former minister of housing Ibrahim Suleiman are remanded in custody on charges of illegal profiteering.
12 April : Prosecutors order the detention of Mubarak and his two sons for 15 days pending investigations on charges of financial corruption and ordering the killing of protesters. Mubarak reportedly suffers a heart attack and is rushed to hospital while his sons, Alaa and Gamal, are moved from Sharm El-Sheikh to Cairo’s Tora prison by helicopter.
16 April : An administrative court orders the dissolution of the National Democratic Party.
19 April : The fact-finding committee charged with investigating the murder of protesters by ex premier Ahmed Shafik releases its report. It reveals that 846 were killed and at least 6,400 injured. It accuses former interior minister Habib El-Adli of ordering the use of live ammunition against protesters in 16 governorates.
26-27 April : The prosecutor-general announces that deteriorating health prevents Mubarak from being moved from his hospital in Sharm El-Sheikh to Tora prison. He is charged with ordering the killing of pro-democracy protesters and helping business tycoon Hussein Salem monopolise the sale of natural gas to Israel in return for hefty commissions.
5 May : Habib El-Adli is sentenced to 12 years in prison for illegal profiteering and money laundering.
7 May : The Virgin Mary Church in the Cairo working class district of Imbaba is looted and burnt by a mob of angry Muslims. Fifteen people are killed and 240 injured in sectarian clashes that erupted on Saturday after a group of Muslims attempted to enter Mar Mina Church in Imbaba’s Luxor Street in search of a Christian woman, Abeer Fakhri, who had converted to Islam and who the attackers believed was held captive in the church. Approximately 190 Muslims and Copts are arrested the following day. Hundreds of Copts return to Maspero and start a sit-in to demand those responsible for the killing of Copts and burning of churches be brought to justice.
Abeer hands herself over to the military police. She’s charged with polyandry for marrying her Muslim husband while not divorced from her Coptic one — and is remanded in custody.
10-17 May : Muslim Brotherhood reformist figure and head of the Arab Doctors Union Abdel-Meneim Abul-Fotouh decides to run for president, violating the organisation’s decision not to field a presidential candidate. He is expelled from the Brotherhood.
Foreign minister Nabil El-Arabi is appointed Arab League secretary-general after the resignation of Amr Moussa. El-Arabi’s removal from the Foreign Ministry is widely seen as a sign of SCAF’s annoyance with his statements regarding Gaza and Iran which had alarmed Gulf states, Israel and Washington.
Thousands from across the political spectrum demonstrate in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo to mark the Nakba — the catastrophe — ie Israel’s creation in 1948 on Palestinian land. Police fire tear gas to force back demonstrators after they break through a barricade in front of the embassy. More than 180 are detained during the ensuing clashes.
19 May : Sectarian clashes erupt briefly in the district of Ain Shams in Cairo after Salafis protested against the opening of a church. The Maspero sit-in enters its 14th day.
ANTI-SCAF 23 May : Activists speak out on social media against the military council on ” No SCAF ” blogging day, an attempt to break the decades old taboo on criticising the Armed Forces. The content is focussed on the military’s human rights violations against activists since March.
27 May : Thousands of protesters hold a ” Second Friday of Anger ” in Tahrir Square demanding the trial of Mubarak, a media purge of former regime figures and the dissolving of the NDP-dominated local councils.
The demonstration is set against a backdrop of another political civil war, as a campaign surfaces opposing the constitutional amendments approved in March. Prime minister Essam Sharaf and other cabinet members publicly oppose the amendments. Opposition mounts amongst secularists against a proposed electoral law, which Mohamed El-Baradei slams for not allowing Egyptians abroad to vote. He reiterates his demand to postpone parliamentary elections until liberal forces have taken root and are able to compete against Islamist movements.
6 June : The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is officially approved. A week later theSalafi Nour (light) party is also granted approval.
15 June : The curfew in force since 28 January is lifted.
17 June : A “Constitution first” campaign is launched by critics of the constitutional amendments and lobbies for a demonstration on 8 July.
21 June : A deal is reached between secular parties and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to set parameters for the writing of a new constitution which all parties vow to respect after parliament is elected. The parties now fall under the umbrella of the “National Democratic Alliance”, which is being promoted as a solution to the constitutional battle. Al-Azhar issues a document taking a firm stand on religious tolerance and supports the establishment of a modern, democratic and constitutional state that will observe the separation of powers and guarantee equal rights to all citizens.
28 June : Thugs attack families of martyrs who were being honoured in a public theatre. The news immediately triggers demonstrations in Tahrir, which turn violent when security forces confront protesters with heavy rounds of tear gas. It’s the first such confrontation with the police since the Interior Ministry’s withdrawal on 28 January. The clashes are echoed in Suez and Alexandria which witness a return to massive demonstrations and sit-ins that go on for days. It’s the first political crisis for the Essam Sharaf government. Over 1,000 are injured, including 70 policemen.
8-9 July : After much deliberation between political forces who want to avoid division Constitution First Friday is replaced by the Friday of Reckoning. Hundreds of thousands demand a purge of the security apparatus and justice for the revolution’s shuhada (martyrs) in demonstrations in Cairo, Suez and Alexandria. They also protest against civilians being tried by military courts. The first sit-in since Mubarak’s ouster on 11 February begins in Tahrir.
After abolishing the Ministry of Information following Mubarak’s ouster, SCAF resurrects it and appoints Osama Heikal, former editor of the Wafd Party mouthpiece and an ex military correspondent, as minister.
12-15 July : Two days ahead of the planned ” Friday of the Last Ultimatum ” SCAF spokesman Mohsen El-Fangari reads out communiqué 67 which warns that the army will not tolerate any attempt to “pounce on” power and legitimacy. The statement emphasises SCAF’s commitment to the timetable it has set out for parliamentary and presidential elections and the writing of a permanent constitution. His threatening tone provokes an angry protest in Tahrir against SCAF, the Interior Ministry and the Essam Sharaf government. Sharaf responds by promising a cabinet reshuffle. Yehia El-Gamal, repeatedly attacked by political forces, resigns from his post as Sharaf’s deputy.
Demonstrations extend to Alexandria and Mansoura. Protests continue in Suez where seven police officers accused of killing protesters are released by a court.
Tens of thousands pour into Tahrir on Friday 15 July to join protesters who have been camping in the square for a week. The massive demonstrations demand Sharaf’s resignation and the trial of Mubarak. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups refuse to participate. Other Islamist parties join.
17 July : The ministers of finance and industry resign. Economist Hazem El-Biblawi is appointed as minister of finance and deputy prime minister. He promises to set a decent minimum wage for public workers.
29 July : In response to the month long “constitution first” campaign by liberals the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi groups hold a massive demonstration in Tahrir. The Brotherhood disapproves of but has no control over Salafis chanting that “the people want to implement the rule of sharia “. Attempts by activists to persuade the Salafi organisers to focus on national demands fail and the demonstration turns into an Islamist show of strength. The media calls it the ” Friday of Kandahar “. Shocked, many liberals who were part of the Democratic Alliance respond to the demonstration by leaving the coalition and calling for the formation of a secular bloc.
1 August : On the first day of Ramadan military police and security forces disperse the three-week long sit-in in Tahrir Square.
3 August : Mubarak, his sons, El-Adli and six of his top aides appear in court in what is dubbed the trial of the century. The trial is broadcast live on the third day of Ramadan. Millions watch in disbelief as the former president is wheeled into court on a stretcher and placed behind bars with the co-defendants. It is the first time Egyptians have seen Mubarak since his 10 February TV address to the nation. All the defendants deny the charges.
8 August : Eleven governors are replaced in a reshuffle which fails to appease forces demanding meaningful political reform and the resignation of premier Essam Sharaf.
15 August : Ahmed Refaat, the judge presiding over Mubarak’s trial, imposes a ban on live television coverage.
17 August : Ali El-Selmi, a former leader of the Wafd Party and Essam Sharaf’s deputy, floats a document of inviolable constitutional principles to which he expects the coming parliament, once it’s elected, to adhere. El-Selmi says that once there is agreement over the document it will be issued by SCAF in the form of a “constitutional declaration” that will include the “criteria” for selecting members of the committee charged with drafting Egypt’s new constitution. His statements spark outrage, particularly amongst the Muslim Brotherhood who refuse to support a document that will limit the actions of the yet to be elected parliament.
PALESTINE 18-19 August : Israel’s air force violates Egyptian territory in its hunt for Palestinian militants and launches air strikes that kill six Egyptian police guards. Thousands demonstrate in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. They demand Cairo recall its ambassador to Israel, expel the Israeli ambassador to Egypt and cancel the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. A young man scales the 23-storey building and removes the Israeli flag hoisted above the embassy. The scene shifts public attention to the Palestinian question which originally instigated the decade-long movement of dissent that finally toppled Mubarak.
3 September : The military builds a three metre high wall in front of the residential building that houses the Israeli embassy.
9 September : Thousands demonstrate in Tahrir to protest against SCAF’s management of the interim period. Most anger, though, is directed at the Interior Ministry the headquarters of which some young people attempt to storm. Hundreds of protesters head to the Israeli embassy and succeed in pulling down the wall and then storm the embassy itself. Tel Aviv has yet to issue an apology for killing the Egyptian border guards. Police clash with protesters, killing four and injuring over 1,000.
10-11 September : SCAF announces it will revive the emergency law in full despite Essam Sharaf’s month old promise to revoke it ahead of parliamentary elections in November. Security forces raid the offices of an Al-Jazeera affiliate station, Al Jazeera Egypt, which had broadcast live events at the Israeli embassy.
24 September : Tantawi testifies at Mubarak’s trial. Despite a media blackout his testimony is leaked. He says he was not aware of any orders given by Mubarak to open fire on protesters.
27 September : SCAF issues a constitutional declaration setting 28 November as the date for parliamentary elections to begin. The three stage poll is to be held over three stages, ending on 3 January. Details of the electoral law under which they will be held are made public.
30 September : Six presidential hopefuls release a statement announcing the expiry of the emergency under the March constitutional declaration. They give SCAF an ultimatum to go back to the barracks by March 2012. Mohamed El-Baradei doesn’t sign the statement which is ignored by the military council.
4 October : Angry Copts return to Maspero to protest against the partial burning of yet another unlicensed church, this time in Edfu. Military police use force to disperse the crowd.
9 October : A peaceful march organised by Copts and Muslims to Maspero comes under attack. The final death toll is 27, the majority killed beneath the tracks of armoured vehicles. Others were killed by live ammunition. A state-run TV news bulletin called on citizens to protect the army from “Coptic attacks”. The massacre sends shock waves across the nation. SCAF holds a press conference at which it denies running over the protesters or using live ammunition. It blames all the violence on an unidentified third party. SCAF’s response is unconvincing but divides Egyptians nonetheless. The council doesn’t apologise and Coptic rage grows when the military prosecutor is placed in charge of investigating the incident.
12 October : Registration for candidates in the parliamentary elections opens.
25 October : The administrative court grants Egyptians abroad the right to vote. The Supreme Elections Committee complies with the verdict.
2 November: Campaigning for the first parliamentary election since Mubarak’s ouster begins.Cairo Appeals Court meets to review a request, submitted by lawyers representing the families of protesters killed during the uprising, to replace the judicial panel presiding over the trial of Mubarak.
DOWN WITH THE MILITARY RULE 17-19 November : The premier’s deputy, Ali El-Selmi, fails to reach an agreement with the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, and other parties that object to his document of inviolable constitutional principles which now includes two articles placing the Armed Forces beyond the control of elected representatives. In response the Brotherhood organises a massive demonstration in Tahrir Square on Friday 18 November. It’s joined by several presidential candidates, the liberal Ghad Party, the Revolutionary Socialists and the 6 April Movement. The bulk of protesters leave the square in the evening. A small group of people injured during the uprising continue with a sit-in they began a week before.
Attempts by security forces to violently disperse the sit-in on 19 November leads to the return of the revolution to Tahrir Square. Thousands rush to support the sit-in as security forces attacked protesters with massive amounts of tear gas. The war zone is focussed on the entrance of Mohamed Mahmoud Street, off Tahrir. Approximately 42 people are killed and over 3,000 injured. Chants demand the “execution” of SCAF’s commander, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, and the immediate exit of the military. Tantawi makes his first TV address to the nation on 22 November in which he insists elections will be held as scheduled and brings forward presidential elections to June 2012. It’s the first time SCAF sets a firm date for the presidential poll. The El-Selmi document is retracted and the Essam Sharaf government resigns. In a second TV address Tantawi states that the “position” of the Armed Forces in the new constitution will not differ from the 1971 constitution.
Hours later SCAF issues a communiqué saying that an investigation into the violence would be undertaken by the prosecution-general. It also says that investigations into the 9 October Maspero clashes will be transferred from the military to the prosecutor-general. The military erect a concrete barrier across Mohamed Mahmoud Street.
24 November : Kamal El-Ganzouri, a former premier under Mubarak, replaces Essam Sharaf as new prime minister.
ELECTIONS 28 November : Egyptians surprise themselves when they queue for hours outside polling stations to cast their ballots in the first stage of the elections, despite a climate of fear and uncertainty following the violence in Tahrir. Voter turnout is over 60 per cent and shifts the public mood. Results reveal a sweeping victory for the Islamists and defeat for Mubarak loyalists.
14 December : The second stage of elections is held. Both the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice and the Salafi Nour parties consolidate their victory with 65 per cent of the votes. The liberals come in third place with 29 per cent.
16 December : A sit-in in front of the cabinet building to protest against the appointment of El-Ganzouri as premier is attacked by military police. According to the Ministry of Health 17 died and 530 were injured. The state-run media describes the protesters as “thugs” and “vagrants”. The official narrative is undermined when it is revealed that senior Al-Azhar scholar Emad Effat, who was with the protesters, was shot and killed during the clashes.
The building of the Egypt Science Institute is set ablaze. Footage of a veiled female protester being dragged across the ground by men in military uniform is circulated online. Her clothes have been torn away and she is being kicked in the head and chest by her booted assailants. The image is splashed across the front page of the privately owned Al-Tahrir newspaper under the headlinekazeboon — liars — a reference to SCAF.
The headline inspires activists to launch a nationwide campaign called kazeboon to correct media disseminated misinformation on the revolution and SCAF.
28 December : The trial of Mubarak, his sons and associates resumes.
29 December : Police and military personnel raid 17 Egyptian and foreign non-governmental organisations to investigate their funding. Targeted NGOs include rights groups which have been active in documenting military human rights violations. Activists accuse SCAF of attempting to salve its legitimacy by making good its claims that foreign hands and foreign-funded NGOs are behind the violent clashes.
3 January : The third and last stage of the elections is held.
14 January : Mohamed El-Baradei pulls out of the presidential race, citing a “political system that has yet to embrace democracy” and attacking the military’s management of the interim period. Close aides say El-Baradei’s decision also took into consideration his low popularity levels and slim chances of ever winning.
15 January : Prosecutors release Nawara Negm and 6 April activist Ahmed Abu Doma andSheikh Mazhar Shahine, imam of the Omar Makram Mosque in Tahrir Square after interrogating them in connection with the cabinet sit-in violence.
16 January : The Freedom and Justice Party’s Saad El-Katatni is selected to be the new speaker of the People’s Assembly.
21 January : Final results of the parliamentary elections show that the Freedom and Justice Party led coalition, the Democratic Alliance, have clinched 47 per cent of the seats, followed by the Nour with 24 per cent, the liberal Wafd with eight per cent and the liberal Egyptian Bloc with seven per cent.
Tantawi orders the release of 1,959 civilians tried before military courts, including blogger Mikael Nabil. The move is widely seen as an attempt to quell anger ahead of demonstrations planned to mark the first anniversary of the revolution on 25 January.
23 January : Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliament holds its opening session.
Amira Howeidy is an editor at Al Ahram Weekly.