Tuesday July 2 in Cairo, Egypt was fraught with the frustration and grinding weariness Egyptians have all but grown accustomed to in the 12 months of Muslim Brotherhood rule, but yesterday was different.
Throughout the day and into the night protesters at Tahrir Square gathered to chant, pray, and call for the resignation of President Morsi. Cairo reporter Wafaa Badry tells Business Insider that thousands of protesters remained in the square throughout the night, quieting for only a few hours in the early morning before picking up their chants to greet the rising sun.
It’s been just over a year since public elections here placed the Brotherhood’s Morsi into office and set the country into a year long economic decline. Coupled with growing lawlessness and political corruption all too similar to that of the former Mubarak regime, the people here have simply had enough.
The scene wasn’t so placid at Nahda Square where Badry says police allegedly fired on peaceful demonstrators showing their support of the president with machine guns and automatic weapons. This divide between the police and the administration is another irreparable fissure in Morsi’s tenure and coupled with the military’s ultimatum, more violence today is all but certain. Badry believes that unless both sides show restraint there is a very real threat the country could slide into an all-out civil war.
With the Egyptian military Monday giving Morsi 48 hours to meet the demands of the people, the power to escalate conflict on both sides is immense. The two days wind down in hours and many Egyptians look to that deadline for nothing less than Morsi’s unlikely resignation.
Today promises to hold decisive events for the nearly 83 million Egyptians fed up with a bad jobs market, rising fuel, food, and utility prices and a shattered tourism industry showing no signs of rebounding. At 10 a.m. Eastern time the Army’s deadline draws to a close. Badry says Egypt’s national television station ordered its staff to clear their building and leave only engineers streaming video to the web from reporters in the street. The military assumed control of that building just moments ago. Anticipation is building for a decisive moment that will alter the country’s history once again.
Hopefully achieving that change won’t be as deadly, or as long in coming, as many here fear. We’ll continue with updates and photos from Badry, who contributed to this article.
Cairo reporter Wafaa Badry estimates there were more than two million protesters in and around Tahrir Square for nearly all of Tuesday July 2.
Tahrir Square became a focal point for Cairo demonstrations that grew so powerful in 2011 they helped oust former president Mubarak from more than 30 years in office.
The Mogamma government building once symbolized the sprawling corruption of Egyptian bureaucracy. Tuesday saw protesters camped in the building's courtyard.
This is just one stage currently in the square where protesters lead chants calling for the removal of President Morsi.
Badry points out Tuesday's protests were much more welcoming of women after sexual aggression here earlier in the week.
Even without electric amplification, chants calling for the president's removal erupt from around Tahrir Square.
This opposition tent is one of many holding a patch of ground here, surrounded by shelters occupied by many classes of Egyptians.
While most restaurants are closed, Badry says street vendors are having a hard time meeting demand for coffee and tea.
Badry says the women may currently express their opinions at the protests without fear of harassment.
The uncharacteristic display coupled with the heat saw this group of men taking a break from the protest as Tuesday wound to a close.
Unable to find work and start a family, young couples like this counting down days to their wedding, shared the street with residents from many classes of society.
The anti-Brotherhood sentiment here has no class boundaries with this upscale home hosting a flag to express the desire for Morsi to step down.
With Wednesday July 3 marking the Army's deadline, events will continue to unfold throughout the day.
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