Road of the Revolution Front

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The Road of the Revolution Front – Revolutionaries (Arabic: جبهة طريق الثورة - ثوار‎), also translated as Way of the Revolution Front and Revolution Path Front, is an Egyptian political movement created in September 2013 by leftist, liberal and moderate Islamist activists in order to achieve the goals of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 of bread, freedom and social justice.[1] The group cooperated with the Anti-Coup Alliance during protests in downtown Cairo on 25 January 2014.[2]

History[edit]

The Road of the Revolution Front was founded on 24 September 2013 in Cairo. Amongst its 152 founding members were many well-known personalities such as political activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, novelist Ahdaf Soueif, April 6 Youth Movement co-founder Ahmed Maher, labour lawyer Haitham Mohamedain of the Revolutionary Socialists, economist Wael Gamal, leftist activist Wael Khalil and Human Rights lawyer Gamal Eid.[3] It includes members of the April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolutionary Socialists, the April 6 Democratic Front and the Strong Egypt Party.[4]

Founding press conference of the Road of the Revolution Front

In its founding statement, the Front asserted: "It has been two-and-a-half years since the revolution began and Egyptians have not yet achieved their dream of building a new republic that will provide them with democracy, justice and equality." It added: "Millions have taken to the streets twice; once in January 2011 to topple Mubarak's regime, which was based on corruption and oppression ... and a second time in June 2013, forcing Mohamed Morsi to step down after losing legitimacy as a result of the Brotherhood's attempts to monopolise political life and rebuild an oppressive system."[4]

According to Wael Gamal, the aim of the front is to work for the redistribution of wealth, achieve social justice, combat the formation of an oppressive regime, achieve equality between citizens, set the path for transitional justice and adopt foreign policies that guarantee national independence. Ahmed Maher asserted that "the revolution's goals are being forgotten and hence there is a need for this front".[4]

The Front selected a group of eight spokespersons to represent it in the media, including novelist Ahdaf Soueif, Political Science Professor Rabab El-Mahdi and Ahmed Maher.[5]

Campaign against the protest law[edit]

In October 2013, the Egyptian interim government passed a restrictive protest law that banned sit-ins and required demonstrations to be approved in advance by the police, evoking strong criticism by Egyptian Human Rights organisations as well as by Amnesty International.[6] In response, the Road of the Revolution Front called for a demonstration on 26 October in Talaat Harb Square in downtown Cairo. In a statement, the Front described the law as an attempt to reproduce the repressive state of the Mubarak era: "People came out in the 25 January 2011 revolution to bring down the repressive state and its laws, claiming the right to protest with sacrifices and the blood of its martyrs. We will not allow any assault on this right."[7] Rallying under the banner "the street is ours", hundreds of protesters chanted "down with the rule of the Interior Ministry" and "down with military rule".[8]

Despite the criticism, on 24 November, the protest law was signed by interim president Adly Mansour. "This law brings Mubarak's era back", said Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.[9] In reaction, the US State Department urged the Egyptian interim government to “respect individual rights”, and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on the Egyptian authorities to "amend or repeal this seriously-flawed new law".[10]

Arrests of activists[edit]

On 26 November, the No Military Trials for Civilians campaign organised a protest at the Shura Council in defiance of the protest law. The protest was violently dispersed by the police, and dozens of well-known activists were arrested.[11] The female activists were beaten and released on a desert road in the middle of the night,[12] while the 24 male detainees remained in custody and were released on bail a week later, with the exception of Ahmed Abdel Rahman.[13]

On 28 November, police stormed the house of prominent activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, assaulted his wife and arrested him.[14] Two days later, on 30 November, April 6 Youth Movement founder and Road of the Revolution Front spokesperson Ahmed Maher was detained,[15] and on 3 December, renowned activist and blogger Ahmed Douma was arrested at his home.[16]

On 22 December, Ahmed Maher, Mohammed Adel and Ahmed Douma were sentenced to three years in prison each for their participation in protests illegal under the new protest law.[17] "Mubarak's regime is trying to get power back, and there is a systematic approach of revenge against groups and movements that stood against it",[18] commented Amr Ali, leader of April 6 Youth Movement.

In the initial stages of the trial, Mohammed Adel was being tried in absentia. However, shortly before the verdict was announced, he was forcibly seized by police during the course of a raid on the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights.[19] Police smashed some computers while confiscating other computers, electronic equipment, and documents. They also assaulted and detained a number of individuals present at the scene.[19][20]

Various Egyptian and international human rights organizations have condemned the trial as a symptom of a growing crackdown on pro-democracy and civil society activism; during the course of the trial, Amnesty International stated that the charges against Adel and other defendants "may arise solely from their opposition activism."[21][22] Emad Hamdi, a member of the Egyptian Popular Current, condemned the veridict against Mohammed Adel, unfavorably contrasting the acquittals and light sentences given to Mubarak-era criminals with those being issued against revolutionary and democratic activists.[23]

In response to the December 22 verdict, the Road of the Revolution Front organized a protest in solidarity with Ahmed Maher, Mohammed Adel, and Ahmed Douma.[24] The protest also demanded freedom for other detainees, as well as the repeal of the protest law.[24]

Ahmed Maher, Mohammed Adel, and Ahmed Douma have initiated a hunger strike in response to prison conditions, citing as reasons the denial of appropriate winter clothing, the denial of the right to engage in correspondence, and inhumane treatment.[25][26]

Position toward the 2014 constitutional referendum[edit]

The Road of the Revolution Front has declared that it will encourage voters to reject the 2013 constituent assembly's amended constitution by voting "no" in the January constitutional referendum.[27] The Front issued a press statement criticizing the constitution for failing to secure the revolutionary goals of bread, freedom, and social justice, as well as for entrenching military dominance of the political and judicial systems.[27]

Position toward the 2014 presidential election[edit]

The organization announced that it will actively campaign against Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and its members will either boycott the vote or vote for Sisi's rival, Hamdeen Sabahi, for the 2014 presidential election.[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New anti-military, anti-Brotherhood front to be launched Tuesday". Ahram Online. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Anti-Coup Alliance announces escalation plans". Daily News Egypt. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  3. ^ ""We will not ally with the Brotherhood or the Army": The Way of the Revolution Front". Daily News Egypt. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "New 'anti-Brotherhood, anti-military' front launched to 'achieve revolution goals'". Ahram Online. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "New 'anti-military', 'anti-Brotherhood' front chooses spokespersons". Ahram Online. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Egypt Rages Over Proposed Protest Ban". Daily Beast. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "'Way of the Revolution' front to demonstrate Saturday against draft protest law". Ahram Online. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Hundreds demonstrate against Egypt's proposed protest law". Ahram Online. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour signs 'anti-protest law'". The Guardian. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "US State Department criticises Egypt’s Protest Law". Daily News Egypt. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Egyptian police forcibly disperse protesters under new law curtailing demonstrations". Washington Post. 26 November. Retrieved 23 December 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ "Interior Ministry denies releasing top female activists in desert". Daily News Egypt. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "23 Shura detainees released on bail". Daily News Egypt. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  14. ^ "Egyptian activist arrested amid government crackdown on dissent". The Guardian. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "Protest law used to arrest April 6 founder Ahmed Maher". Mada Masr. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "Activists’ arrests continue". Daily News Egypt. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  17. ^ "In Blow to Leadership of ’11 Revolt, Egypt Activists Are Given 3 Years in Prison". New York Times. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "Egyptian court jails three secular leaders of 2011 uprising". The Guardian. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Police storm Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, arrest April 6 activist". Ahram Online. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "Raid on Egyptian rights group widely condemned". Ahram Online. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  21. ^ "Trial of three prominent Egyptian activists begins Sunday". Ahram Online. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "Three core, secular members of 2011 Arab Spring movement jailed in Egypt". CBSNews. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "Egypt's Maher, Adel and Douma sentenced to 3 years in jail". Ahram Online. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "Hundreds rally in solidarity with Douma, Adel and Maher". Ahram Online. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  25. ^ "Activists hunger strike in Tora prison". Mada Masr. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "Three jailed Egyptian activists start hunger strike against 'ill-treatment'". Ahram Online. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Way of the Revolution Front to vote no to constitution". Ahram Online. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "Who will Egypt's political groups vote for? A guide". Ahram Online. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 

External links[edit]