The movement first appeared when the Egyptian defence minister, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, called for mass demonstrations on 26 July 2013 to grant his forces a "mandate" to crack down on "terrorism", which was seen as contradicting the military's pledges to hand over power to civilians after removing Morsi and as an indication for an imminent crackdown against Islamists. The announcement by General Al-Sisi was rejected by a number of political groups that had initially supported the military coup, such as the revolutionary April 6 Youth Movement, the moderate Strong Egypt Party, the Salafi Al-Nour Party and Egyptian human rights groups.
First demonstration of the Third Square movement in Sphinx Square, Cairo
In response, The Third Square, a group of activists who mistrust both the military and the Islamists, called for a separate protest in Sphinx Square in Mohandessin, Cairo. One of the activists described the movement as "a group of young people whose views are not represented either in Tahrir Square or Rabia Al-Adawiya", referring to the military-organised protests in Tahrir Square and the Islamist protests in Rabia Al-Adawiya square in Nasr City. In a leaflet, they declared their opposition to "the defense minister calling for an authorization to kill Egyptians on the pretext of fighting terrorism".
Interviewed on the French television news channel France 24, activist Firas Mokhtar said: "The Third Square is an attempt to bring Egyptians together and put an end to the polarisation of our society". Fellow activist and singer of Egyptian band Eskenderella, Samia Jahin, added: "Maybe there's only a few of us tonight. But soon you might hear of another group like ours in another square."
The movement is supported by intellectuals and artists such as the activist filmmaker Aalam Wassef, who released a music video showing him sitting out the demonstrations on 26 July at home, doing his laundry in front of a banner with the word "Resist".