Tomorrow, Sunday June 30th, thousands of Egyptians will commemorate the first anniversary of Mohamed Morsi’s presidency by taking to the streets demanding him to step down. The scheduled protests might be the biggest since the revolution of 2011. This “second wave” of the revolution came after the nationwide signatures drive, dubbed “Tamarod” or Rebel, claimed to have collected over 15 million petitions calling for early presidential elections.
Upon it’s inception, Tamarod was underestimated by almost everybody. Few of the well known activists of the 2011 revolution even paid any attention to the Tamarod campaigners, many of them in their late teens and early twenties, who stood for hours in Egypt’scourging heat in order to collect these signatures. After Tamarod’s first press conference, all eyes started to be directed to this new campaign that managed to do what everyone else failed in doing: reaching out to Egypt’s abandoned populace outside Cairo and Alexandria. This worried the ruling Muslim Brotherhood; Tamarod reached their domain.
Below I try to answer the most common questions people might have about June 30.
Why June 30?
I believe June 30 is inevitable, it is destined to happen regardless of whether you agree with the demands or not. Thanks to the MB’s mismanagement of the country and their political greed, many “coach party members” who never joined a demonstration will do so on this particular day. In fact, if Tamarod wants to thank someone for the success of their campaign, they should thank the MB themselves.
During Mubarak I would have never imagined that the day would come when Egyptians would lambaste the MB so openly. The MB and their Islamists cohorts were “holy” under Mubarak, they were untouchable, they were God’s people. Today you can hardly get into a Cairo cab without hearing him hurl insults at the MB and Morsi.
So why June 30? Because of the MB’s dreadful rule during the past year.
Will June 30 be big?
Depends on who will join. If we had the same middle class crowd that took to the streets last December following the constitutional decree, then nothing much will happen. These folks demonstrate till 10 pm. If we had a newer segment of the society, namely the lower social economic class, then we’re talking. Judging from events in the Delta during the past days, do expect a new kind of protesters. I don’t know how they will look like, but I know for a fact they won’t look like the neat middle class protesters you all loved on January 2011.
What will happen?
Cairo – clashes might happen if the number of demonstrators was massive and they decided to occupy Cairo. In other words, occupy the institutions of power to force the regime to abdicate. If that happened, the Islamists stationed in Rabaa el Adaweiyah will react and the mini civil war will commence.
Delta – This region has been boiling in the past days and will be on fire on June 30. It is controlled by no one. It will be MB vs pissed off apolitical locals who are not affiliated with any political organization. Both are armed and it won’t be nice there. Living conditions will drive people out to the streets and I expect that people from the rural areas, MB strongholds, will participate as well.
Alexandria – we’ve seen a rehearsal today in Sidi Gaber. Live ammunition was used and 2 persons were killed including an American who was taking pictures of the clashes. Just like Delta, Alexandria might witness very fierce clashes.
The Canal cities – there will be mass protests especially in Port Said, however the 3 cities there will remain relatively peaceful. The army is in total control there and MB presence in Port Said in almost nonexistent.
Upper Egypt – There will be demonstrations fueled by the deteriorating living conditions but I am not expecting clashes there nor massive demonstrations.
The Battle of Cairo?
If massive numbers took to the streets and they decided to take control of the capital, “The Battle of Cairo” will occur.
As mentioned above, the Brotherhood shipped thousands of their followers from the rural areas and brought them to Cairo. They brought them to the battleground. Delta is not the battleground nor is Alexandria, Cairo is. Egypt is a very centralized country, even if the regime was facing fierce clashes in the provinces, if it lost Cairo then it lost power over the entire country.
The Battle of Cairo will be decided by the following:
1. Whether the protesters will in fact try to occupy or at least paralyze government institutions.
2. Whether Greater Cairo’s urban poor will join the clashes. This segment of the society have mostly turned against the MB. They hail from neighbourhoods such as of Matareyah, Imbaba, Shubra and Ain Shams. If they joined the fight, the poor MB rural supporters will be obliterated even if they were armed.
3. Whether the army will finally intervene and stop the clashes.
What will the army do?
The army would rather maintain the status quo, however, the generals will react to events on the ground. If the civil unrest went out of control, they will intervene based on two different scenarios:
1. If the MB had the upper hand, the army will side with Morsi.
2. If the protesters overwhelmed the regime, the army will force Morsi to step down just as it did with Mubarak.
What will happen if Morsi was toppled?
I’ve stated before that I prefer if Morsi continued his term. However, this doesn’t seem to be the consensus among the new activists behind the Tamarod campaign or the poor people who will protest because they wait for 5 hours before getting some fuel for their trucks. I don’t know exactly what will happen if Morsi fell. I did not do June 30. June 30 came upon me. It is like a big wave in the sea, you either swim along with it or wait until it hits you, turns you upside down and then passes you.
However, just for the sake of providing you with an answer, here it is: the army will temporarily take power and then schedule new presidential elections. How will the Brotherhood react? I don’t know, it depends on their structure post June 30 and how weakened they will be.
What will happen if June 30 failed?
Depends on how you define failure. To me failure is if the regime was unharmed and thus offered no concessions. If that happened, the Brotherhood will crush everyone standing their way.
To conclude, June 30 is coming whether you agree with it or not, whether you like the people who will participate in it or not. The choice is yours. You can swim along with the big wave or stand there till the waves hit you and turns you upside down. In both cases, you can do absolutely nothing to influence the wave.
God save Egypt.