Egyptians celebrated the third anniversary of Hosni Mubarak's fall from power on Saturday with a string of protests outside of Tahrir Square that left 29 people dead and hundreds more arrested.
In all, health officials on Egyptian television said 29 people died during the day's demonstrations. The New York Times reports security officials arrested 430 people in Cairo alone. "Dozens of anti-government protesters were arrested in Egypt's second city Alexandria," sources told Reuters.
Inside Tahrir Square, you'd be hard-pressed to notice anything wrong. The square was filled with supporters of Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the current ruler who led the military-backed ouster of Mohammad Morsi, the country's first democratically elected President, after Hosni Mubarak fell three years ago.
Outside Tahrir Square, violent clashes between protestors and security forces continued. Riot police wasted no time firing tear gas canisters into crowds of Islamists and left-leaning demonstrators opposed to the military's rule who tried to make their way to Tahrir Square on Saturday.
The scene in Tahrir Square, per The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick:
The thousands who gathered in Tahrir Square on Saturday, however, appeared overjoyed at the prospect of a President Sisi. Banners, posters and T-shirts emblazoned with his face were everywhere. Some revelers wore Sisi face masks, while women ululated and chanted his name. Military helicopters flew low overhead throughout the day, at least once dropping flags on the crowds below.
The police were ubiquitous on Saturday, some in uniform and others in plain clothes. Armored vehicles and barbed wire were at the entrances. Martial music boomed from loudspeakers.
A party was happening to celebrate the current government and its leader who is not autocrat Hosni Mubarak. This seems to make sense. Except, of course, for the fact that Egypt is currently divided into multiple factions and the weeks leading to today's celebration were peppered violent clashes and bombings. Hence the heavy security presence.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.