Correspondent (Asia: Middle East and Central)
CAIRO — January 25, 2014 marked the third anniversary of the Egyptian uprising that ended the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. Since then, Egypt has witnessed further dissent and a coup d’état. This timeline looks at the three years of turmoil and transition that has shaped Egypt.
The first wave: The ‘spark that lit the bonfire’
January 18, 2011 – Egyptian dissident Mohamed ElBaradei warns of a “Tunisia Style explosion” as disfranchised and largely unemployed Egyptian activists plan for “day of anger” demonstrations.
January 25, 2011 – Inspired by Tunisia, Egyptians take to the streets of Cairo in mass demonstrations unprecedented since the 1970s, calling for the dissolution of President Mubarak’s dictatorship. Mubarak’s government responds by blocking Twitter and shutting down internet and phone connections.
January 30, 2011 – With more than 100 dead according to Reuters, the Egyptian military makes a stand in favour of protesters against the regime.
February 11, 2011 – After 18 days of mass protests, President Mubarak finally steps down and hands power to the army council after three decades of autocratic rule.
The second wave: A slow transition under military rule
February 13, 2011 – The military refuses the protesters’ call for an immediate transition to a civilian-led interim government, stating that it will rule by marital law until the upcoming elections in at least six months’ time.
November 28, 2011 – Parliamentary elections take place after months of growing discontent with the progress of reforms and the eruption of anti-junta protests. The Muslim Brotherhood wins almost half the seats in parliament. The ultra-religious Salafis take a quarter. Overall, nearly 90 per cent of seats are won by Islamists.
June 2, 2012 – Ousted President Hosni Mubarak is sentenced to life in prison.
June 24–30, 2012 – Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Mohamed Morsi emerges as the democratically elected president of Egypt, winning 51.7 per cent of the vote in the first free ballot in more than 80 years.
The third wave: Disillusionment with Morsi’s government
November 19, 2012 – Secular groups and Christian representatives withdraw from the constitutional constituent assembly, believing that Islamists will impose strict laws on the drawing of the new constitution.
November 22, 2012 – President Morsi issues a constitutional declaration immunising the constituent assembly from any potential dissolution by the court, as well as granting his decisions immunity from judicial review. This decision sparks public unrest.
December 22, 2012 – Sixty-three point eight per cent of Egyptians vote in favour of the new draft constitution. A large minority, mainly secularists, disapprove.
January 25, 2013 – On the two-year anniversary of the revolution, hundreds of thousands protest in Tahrir square and Port Said once again chanting for President Morsi to step down.
June 28–30, 2013 – Millions of Egyptians take to the streets protesting against Morsi. Protesters surround the Presidential Palace in the Heliopolis suburb, as well as in 18 other locations across Cairo.
July 3, 2013 – The military intervenes and ousts Morsi in a largely supported coup. Army chief Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi imposes a new interim government and appoints Adly Mansour as interim President, suspending the Islamist-based constitution. Battles between Muslim brotherhood supporters and security forces erupt.
The fourth wave: The military rules again
July 8 – September 22, 2013 – Violent clashes between Muslim brotherhood supporters and the military result in the mass killing of pro-Morsi supporters. Thousands are also detained, including Muslim brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie. Islamist extremists attack and kill 25 police conscripts in cold blood. At least 100 more die similarly in later months, including soldiers.
September 23, 2013 – The Muslim brotherhood reclaims its underground status after its activities are banned by the court.
November 4, 2013 – Morsi stands trial in his first public appearance since being ousted.
November 24, 2013 – Interim President Adly Mansour passes a new law banning the right to protest in an attempt to curb social dissent.
December 24, 2013 – The Muslim brotherhood party is officially deemed a terrorist organisation after a bomb attack on a police compound kills at least 12. The decision is made despite a separate jihadist group called Beit al-Maqdis assuming responsibility for the attack.
January 15, 2014 – A new draft constitution — which cuts down on some of the religious clauses — is passed easily with 98 per cent approval amid efforts to stamp out dissent.
Jan 25, 2014 – On the third anniversary of the revolution, rival demonstrations of pro-military government supporters and opponents in Tahrir square result in the death of at least 49 people. The Muslim brotherhood contends that it will not leave the streets, reports the Associated Press news agency, “until it fully regains its rights and breaks the coup and puts the killers on trial.” Since the interim government’s crackdown began on the Muslim Brotherhood, over 1000 people have been killed in clashes.
February 1, 2014 — Morsi returns to court in Cairo accused of crimes against protestors. He and 12 others face charges of killing protestors outside the presidential palace in 2012. Morsi’s supporters say the trials are politically motivated, officials state they are are being conducted fairly.
Image Courtesy: By Jonathan Rashad [CC-BY-2.0 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Egyptian_Flag.png)], via Wikimedia Commons