CAIRO Two years after Egypt’s revolution began, the country’s schism was on display Friday as the mainly liberal and secular opposition held rallies saying the goals of the pro-democracy uprising have not been met and denouncing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
With the anniversary, Egypt is definitively in the new phase of its upheaval.
From the revolt that began Jan. 25, 2011, and led to the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the country has moved into a deeply divisive struggle between ruling Islamists, who say a string of election victories the past year gives them to right to reshape Egypt, and their opponents, who say Islamists are moving to take complete power.
Overshadowing their struggle is an economy in free-fall that threatens to fuel public discontent. The vital tourism sector has slumped, investment shriveled, foreign currency reserves have tumbled and prices are on the rise, with more pain likely in the coming months if the government moves to implement new austerity measures.
In Cairo’s central Tahrir square, where the January 2011 uprising was born, and the area outside Morsi’s palace in the city’s Heliopolis district were rapidly filling up with protesters by Friday afternoon. There were similar if smaller crowds in central squares in the Mediterranean cities of Alexandria and Port Said as well as the Mehalla in the Nile Delta, Suez at the southern entrance of the Suez Canal, Assiut and Luxor in the south and Fayoum southwest of Cairo.
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