Moamen Mahmoud, a 23-year-old student, was in Tahrir on Sunday and mused about the ironies of the shifting sands of Egypt’s politics in the past 2 1/2 years. He said he took part in the 2011 uprising and in subsequent protests against the military’s direct rule of the country for some 17 months after Mubarak’s fall.
“I came here today because I cannot miss an occasion like this, but sadly the revolutionaries are no here. I was here once chanting against military rule and now look at this. We forgot the principles of the revolution,” he said.
“Those who criticized the Brotherhood supporters for hoisting Morsi posters are now doing the same with el-Sissi’s posters,” said Mahmoud Badawi, a 27-year-old university graduate who is opposed to the July 3 coup. “Throughout history, military rule is corrupt.”
The climax of the day’s festivities was the extravaganza at the military-owned stadium in the eastern part of Cairo, attended by el-Sissi and kicked off with a dazzling display of fireworks.
El-Sissi’s predecessor, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, was among those attending the ceremony, making his first public appearance since Morsi removed him and his chief of staff, Sami Anan, in August last year. Tantawi served Hosni Mubarak as defense minister for 20 years and took over the reins of the country when his mentor was ousted in a 2011 uprising.
Anan, who has presidential ambitions, was not present.
Also in attendance was Gihan Sadat, widow of the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, revered as the country’s 1973 war hero and the architect of his country’s peace treaty six years later.