The families of martyrs started a sit-in in front of Maspero on Friday June 24th demanding the prosecution of police officers engaged in the killing of their sons and daughters during the 18 days of the up-rise since Jan25. The sit-in lasted 5 days. After the Balloon Theater clashes with police, the families decided to end the sit-in empty handed with no media attention whatsoever in the 5 days of the sit-in. I went to the sit-in everyday, and spoke with many of the families there, who come from different cities all over Cairo, and Egypt including Sinai & upper Egypt. The families of martyrs have been under a lot of pressure from police (directly & indirectly) to change their testimonies in return of money, but every single person I spoke with said, “not with all of the world’s money, would I sell my son’s blood.” These families have lost their sons & daughters and all they demand is justice to be served; for every killer to be prosecuted transparently and sufficiently.
What surprised me the most is that without this, what many called “insignificant” sit-in, the now on-going Tahrir sit-in would not have happened this way and the central security forces confrontation in Tahrir the night of June28th would not have happened, which is exactly what’s bringing back the revolution’s momentum. There were many divisions within opposition on what to focus on in this period. Many are focused on writing the constitution first, others favoring parliamentary elections first, and my favorite group, who is focusing on “rebuilding Egypt” by painting the pavement 60 times over. The truth is, there will be no meaningful popular constitution, no real parliament that represents the revolution, and definitely no success in the revolution, IF we, “shabab 25,” don’t focus and win those battles that will make or break this revolution like this one. The families of martyrs battle, in my opinion, is one of many under-supported causes that not only have almost no disagreement on, but most importantly, it directly links all of the demands of the revolution that haven’t been met yet.
The families of martyrs are demanding the cleansing of the judicial branch through the efficient & transparent prosecution of murderers, the cleansing of the state police through holding the corrupted accountable for murder and torture, and the cleansing of media, which is not only ignoring their demands, but also tarnishing the reputation of protesters and jan25 martyrs. We are going back to Tahrir and all squares in Egypt with full force on July 8th, I urge you to join for the revolution, for the martyrs, for Egypt!