Tahrir Square: May Day

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  • May day

    On May 1, 2011, a coalition of Egypt's first independent labor unions hosted a massive rally at Tahrir Square. Labor has been at the heart of the Egyptian revolution, and industrial action, though less visible than the dramatic Tahrir protests, critically served to bring down former president Hosni Mubarak. Recognizing the power of labor, the new Egyptian Military regime swiftly passed a law banning strikes and other protests that disrupt industry in Egypt, while publicly celebrating the 'voice of the people', leaving many to feel betrayed.

  • Workers Power

    There is little doubt that labor has been at the heart of the Egyptian Revolution. Strikes and other action influenced Mubarak's departure and continues to be a powerful (if less visible) group. The May day celebration allowed newly independent unions to debate their futures and to coordinate solidarity and mutual support.

  • A new era

    Political art has flourished in Cairo since the onset of the 25 January revolution. Hand drawn posters and banners lined Tahrir.

  • The old model

    A styrofoam model of the Tahrir seige has been built in the square, documenting the clashes between Mubarak's government, represented here by the camels and American backing, and the protesters camped out in Tahrir, represented by the tent in the foreground.

  • Imagery

    Political art has flourished in Cairo since the onset of the 25 January revolution. Hand drawn posters and banners lined Tahrir.

  • What future?

    The role of the military in Egyptian politics moving forward remains contentious. Growing resentment towards Field Marshall Tantawi - not known for democratic tendencies - and the slow pace of change is becoming palpable. Notably, the emergency law, used to suppress dissent and imprison opposition members, is still in place despite initial promises of repeal if protesters returned to their day-to-day lives.

  • The old guard

    A styrofoam model of the Tahrir seige has been built in the square, documenting the clashes between Mubarak's government, represented here by the camels and American backing, and the protesters camped out in Tahrir, represented by the tent in the foreground.

  • Chains

    Many Egyptians continue to demand that representatives of the Mubarak regime be prosecuted for crimes against the Egyptian people.

  • A new window

    Labor activists and other protesters celebrated May Day in Tahrir with a concert, dancing, cheering, chanting, and jubilation.

  • Hammer & Sickle

    Communists, anarchists, socialists and many others emerged to make their presence publicly known for the first time in Egypt. These groups would face imprisonment and torture only a matter of months ago.

  • Accessorizing

    The revolution has spurred a massive market for revolution-related paraphernalia.

  • Tahrir Square

    The Egyptian military planted flowers and laid grass across Tahrir in a beautification effort that simultaneously serves to justify military enforcement of a 'no camping' zone in the circle, best known as the fortress of popular resistance during the days between January 25th and the departure of Mubarak.

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