Skip to main content

Massive crowd packs Cairo's Tahrir Square for 'Day of Victory'

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Egypt celebrates day of victory
  • Hundreds of thousands pack Tahrir Square area
  • A pro-Mubarak rally was also held
  • The military has been in charge since Mubarak's resignation

Are you there? Share photos, video

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- A sea of Egyptians from all walks of life packed every meter in and around Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday for a "Day of Victory," a rally to celebrate the one-week anniversary of the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

In what was a symbol of the dramatic change taking hold across the society, a Muslim cleric banned from speaking publicly during the Mubarak years, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, delivered the Friday sermon. The throng in Tahrir Square was estimated at hundreds of thousands, and his public appearance was broadcast on state television.

"O Egyptians, Coptic Christians and Muslims, this is your day, all of you. January 25 was your revolution," said Qaradawi, who has a program called "Shariah and Life" on the Al-Jazeera television network.

Qaradawi said the "youth of the revolution has lifted the head of this country and made us proud once again."

Can Egypt achieve what Iran has not?
Search for the missing in Egypt
Mubarak's fortune remains a mystery
Egyptian military accused of torture
  • Egypt

"They are the new partisans of God. These are the young people of Egypt. The revolution is not over yet. The revolution just began. We need to rebuild Egypt. Be aware of those who want to take it away from you," he said.

Qaradawi insisted that the money "stolen" by the Mubarak regime be returned to the Egyptian people and praised the "martyrs" who died in the upheaval and for the sake of the religion.

With the square and adjacent streets filled, observers said the turnout could be the largest so far at the square, the epicenter of Egypt's revolution, and the atmosphere was festive. Many waved Egyptian flags, hoisted banners and posters, and beat drums.

Meanwhile, thousands of people attended a pro-Mubarak demonstration dubbed "the Friday of loyalty" in front of a mosque, state TV reported.

The march at the square is also meant to remind the military that Egyptians were watching the ongoing reform process.

Celebrations are expected in other cities across the nation as well.

Organizers said in a statement that the event was held to "both celebrate the revolution and call for a number of demands that are yet to be fulfilled."

Some of those demands include "freeing political detainees, issuing a statement on lost protesters, ending the state of emergency, holding corrupt officials accountable and tracing their assets," the statement said.

The military has been in charge since February 11, when Mubarak resigned. Top military leaders dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution and vowed to remain in charge until elections can be held in six months or so.

The sheikh praised "the armed forces' statements on protecting the revolution and their promises for a democratic transition of power," and he hailed the nation's courage and unity.

"The people changed, so God changed their destiny. The state of fear crumbled. The old Pharaohs used to scare people, and the old regime did the same. But the young people insisted, and they raised our heads with pride," Qaradawi said.

"Egyptians stood together, Muslims and Christians, and the revolution brought down the sectarianism that they (the old regime) promoted for so long. We saw Christians protecting their Muslim brothers while they prayed in Tahrir Square during the revolution."

CNN's Saad Abedine and Salma Abdelaziz contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
'Sons of Mubarak' in plea for respect
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Timeline of the conflict in Libya
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
Who are these rebels?
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Why NATO's Libya mission has shifted
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Interactive map: Arab unrest
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Send your videos, stories
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Libya through Gadhafi's keyhole
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
How Arab youth found its voice
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.