On a winter evening in Tahrir Square, young skateboarders were practising their moves in front of the huge Soviet-style Mogamma building. Nonchalant policemen and couples of all ages watched, and nobody seemed to notice the dust and the deafening traffic, scourges of life in Cairo that no revolution has ever tackled.
It felt like a long time since 2011, when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians crowded into this vast square in the ‘January revolution’, demanding the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime and ‘Bread, freedom, and social justice!’ In 2013 at least as many gathered again in Tahrir to call for the departure of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, whom they had democratically elected president; in a military coup backed by a section of Egyptian society, the army regained control on 30 June (1). A fledgling pro-Morsi resistance was crushed, and around a thousand people died, on 14 August in Cairo’s Rabaa Square. Thousands of arrests followed. In June 2014 Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sissi became president with 97% of the vote.