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Unmet Demands Make For 'Second' Revolution In Egypt



WATCH: Protesters demonstrating on Cairo's Tahrir Square

CAIRO -- Riding a sea of change that arose in Tunisia and eventually swept across the Arab world, Egyptians took to the streets on January 25 in protest against the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Their revolutionary zeal paid dividends, with the toppling of Mubarak and the promise of the chance to forge a new democratic future.

Why then, six months later, is the capital's Tahrir Square once again occupied by protesters? And why did more than 25 political entities of all shapes and sizes meet this week to hammer out a joint position ahead of a mass rally scheduled for what has been tabbed "Popular Will and Unity Friday." Why are some Egyptians talking about the need for a "second revolution"?

RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal headed to the heart of the protests, a tent camp pitched in the center of Tahrir Square, for the answers to these questions.

Hana Muhammad says simply that she has not seen enough real change, despite the toppling of Mubarak's regime.

"Actually the regime has changed but our demands have not been fulfilled," she says, pointing to the fact that "some but not all" of those involved with the previous regime have been removed from office. "We are here and we are still protesting because we want the entire regime to step down and we want real changes. If the regime steps down without change, nothing happens."

Protesters Want 'Real Justice'

Muhammad maintains that the protestors want all officials of the previous regime to face trial along with those who she claims used corrupt practices to line their pockets. She also says that policemen who killed protesters in January should face "real justice."

Another young protestor, who provided only her first name, Ayesha, claims she is not satisfied with what the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has accomplished since taking over the country's affairs in February.

"The only thing that happened was the overthrow of the head of the former regime and an end to the system of inheritance," she says. "Thus, the people of Egypt got some freedom. It was proved with experience that people can get their due rights through demonstrations, protests and agitations, but silence and stillness cannot help people get their rights."


WATCH: Youth groups implementing their own security arrangements at the protests

Recent rallies have been highly organized and controlled by a large number of revolutionary youth groups. Members of these groups have been stationed at entrances to Tahrir Square, searching the bags and checking IDs of those heading for the tent camp.

No police or army personnel are allowed entrance, in the belief that they could undermine security efforts.

'We Don't Want Outside Help'

Gamal Abdul Azeem, who was leading one group, told RFE/RL he cannot deny the impartial role of the Egyptian army, but believes reforms must speed up.

"We demand the complete overthrow of the previous regime," he says. "We want real change, freedom, and justice. Some of our demands were fulfilled but some are not addressed yet. We want the trial of Mubarak and other official officials of the previous regime.

"One reason for our protest was that all those police officials who had killed a large number of protestors were declared innocent. On the other hand, four ministers of the previous regime who were involved in the corruption were also released. It was a ridiculous act in the course of the Egyptian revolution."

Many protesters express a desire for Egyptians to be allowed to sort out their own problems.

Ayesha is among them. She thinks a lesson has been learned from involving other countries in Egyptian affairs.

"Egyptian revolutionaries need nothing from the world and they don't want any kind of help," she says. "We can help ourselves. We trust ourselves. We have got a lesson that Western and other foreign countries help only when they need something from the other side such as disrupting internal politics. We don't want a repetition of the colonialism era. We need nothing."

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