Third Square

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Protesters from the Third Square movement: "Neither Morsi nor the military", 31 July 2013

The Third Square (Arabic: الميدان الثالث‎) is an Egyptian political movement created by liberal, leftist and moderate Islamist activists who reject both Muslim Brotherhood and military rule following the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état.

The movement first appeared when the Egyptian defence minister, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, called for mass demonstrations on 26 July 2013 to grant the military a "mandate" to crack down on "terrorism",[1] 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.[2] 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,[3] the moderate Strong Egypt Party,[4] the Salafi Al-Nour Party[5] and Egyptian human rights groups.[6]

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.[7] 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",[8] referring to the military-organised protests in Tahrir Square and the Islamist protests in Rabia Al-Adawiya square in Nasr City.[9] In a leaflet, they declared their opposition to "the defense minister calling for an authorization to kill Egyptians on the pretext of fighting terrorism".[10]

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."[11]

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".[10]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ "Showdown in Cairo: Egyptian general demands permission to take on the 'terrorists'". The Independent. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Egyptian General Calls for Mass Protests". New York Times. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  3. ^ "6 April Youth Movement to stay off the streets on Friday". Daily News Egypt. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Egypt's Abol Fotouh warns against army-called rally". Chicago Tribune. 24 July 2013. Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Egypt's Nour Party and 6 April reject El-Sisi's call for Friday rallies". ahram online. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Egypt rights groups voice misgiving about army's call for rallies". ahram online. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Egypt's 'Third Square' protesters denounce army, Morsi". ahram online. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  8. ^ "'Third Square' protesters reject Morsi, army". Mada Masr. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  9. ^ "After Tahrir Square, 'Third Square'". Al Jazeera English. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Tahrir Taken, Some Egyptians Look for 'Third Square' to Resist Islamists and Army". New York Times. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Egypt's 'Third Square' activists reject both army and Morsi". France 24. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.

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