Friday, March 22, 2013

Tahrir Square

English: Over 1 Million in Tahrir Square deman...
English: Over 1 Million in Tahrir Square demanding the removal of the regime and for Mubarak to step down. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 Tahrir Square (Arabicميدان التحرير‎ Mīdān at-TaḥrīrIPA: [meˈdæːn ettæħˈɾiːɾ], English: Liberation Square), also known as "Martyr Square", is a major public town square in Downtown CairoEgypt.

History

The square was originally called "Ismailia Square" (ميدان الأسماعيليّة Mīdān al-Ismā‘īliyyah), after the 19th-century ruler Khedive Ismail, who commissioned the new downtown district's 'Paris on the Nile' design. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, the square became widely known as Tahrir (Liberation) Square, but the square was not officially renamed until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which changed Egypt from a constitutional monarchy into arepublic. The square was a focal point for the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.[1]

 Features


At the centre of Tahrir Square is a large and busy traffic circle. On the north-east side is a plaza with a statue of nationalist hero Omar Makram, celebrated for his resistance against Napoleon I's invasion of Egypt, and beyond is the Omar Makram Mosque.[2]
The square is the northern terminus of the historic Qasr al-Ayni Street, the western terminus of Talaat Harb Street, and via Qasr al-Nil Street crossing its southern portion it has direct access to the Qasr al-Nil Bridge crossing the nearby Nile River.
The area around Tahrir Square includes the Egyptian Museum, the House of Folklore, the National Democratic Party-NDP headquarters building, theMogamma government building, the Headquarters of the Arab League building, the Nile Hotel, Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church and the originaldowntown campus of the American University in Cairo.
The Cairo Metro serves Tahrir Square with the Sadat Station, which is the downtown junction of the system's two lines, linking to GizaMaadiHelwan, and other districts and suburbs of Greater Cairo. Its underground access viaducts provide the safest routes for pedestrians crossing the broad roads of the heavily trafficked square.

 Public use and demonstrations

Tahrir Square has been the traditional site for numerous major protests and demonstrations over the years, including the 1977 Egyptian Bread Riots, and the March 2003 protest against the War in Iraq.[3]

 2011 Egyptian Revolution




The square became established as a focal point and a symbol for the ongoing Egyptian democracy demonstrations. On 2 February, violence erupted between the pro-Mubarak and pro-democracy demonstrators there, followed by the 3 February 'Friday of Departure' demonstration, one of the named "day of" events centered in the square. Within a week, due to international media coverage, the image and name of Tahrir Square became known worldwide.[12]
Facebook page called "Tahrir Square" ميدان التحرير was maintained by a rotating staff of twenty during the uprising, particularly to offset the lack of and/or distorted coverage of events and responses in the state-run media outlets.[13]
The 18-day revolt centered in the square provided the Egyptian Armed Forces an opportunity to remove Mubarak from power on Friday, 11 February 2011, when the president officially stepped down from office.[14] The announcement that Mubarak had passed all authority to the Council of the Armed Forces was made by longtime intelligence chief and new vice president Omar Suleiman.[15][16] Tahrir Square erupted in a night-long celebration after the twilight announcement, with shouts such as "Lift your head up high, you're Egyptian", "Everyone who loves Egypt, come and rebuild Egypt", and others.[17] The next day, Egyptian Cairen women and men came to clean up the square, "they came and cleaned up after their revolution," relaying 'projectiles' in the cobblestone paving and removing eighteen days' worth of trash and graffiti.[17]

 Post-revolution



Tahrir Square, with 'democracy anniversary' celebrations and visits from foreign dignitaries, continues to be a symbol of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.[18][19] British Prime Minister David CameronCatherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of theEuropean UnionHillary ClintonSecretary of State of the United StatesJohn Kerry, Chairman of the American Senate Committee on Foreign RelationsKevin Rudd Foreign Minister of Australia, and American actor Sean Penn visited Tahrir Square after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
One of the ships in the planned Freedom Flotilla II, intended to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, was named Tahrir after the square. Among its passengers was Haaretz reporter Amira Hass. Ultimately, the sailing did not take place.[20]
On 29 June 2011, Egyptian police attacked rioting Egyptian youth in the square with tear gas and other non-lethal materials. The youth had been demanding that trials of senior officials overthrown in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution proceed more quickly. The Interior Ministry blamed the unrest on disruptive and subversive groups.[21]

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