Back then, all eyes were on Tehran. On 29 June 2009, in the midst of the "green" protest summer in Iran, Egyptian opposition activists wanted to show their solidarity with the demonstrators in Iran on the streets of downtown Cairo. But no sooner had the crowds begun to gather, the rally was quickly broken up by a barrage of security personnel.
There had also been plans last Monday in Cairo to honour Neda Agha-Soltan, shot on 20 June at an election protest rally in Tehran. Neda had not only become a symbol of the Iranian protest movement, she was also an inspiration for disaffected youngsters in Cairo.
No one could have guessed how the tide would turn. On a Monday more than one-and-a-half years later, on 14 February 2011, thousands of people took to the streets of Tehran again for the first time since 2009. Now they were looking to Cairo, where Hosni Mubarak had resigned his post three days earlier, and wanted to demonstrate their solidarity with young Egyptians.
Iran's reformist leaders Mousavi and Karroubi had declared a "day of anger", inspired by the events on Tahrir Square. They were placed under house arrest to prevent them from taking part in the protests. Proceedings were kept under control by a massive police presence, and at a subsequent rally on 20 February, the number of police officers and Basij militia even exceeded the number of demonstrators on some Tehran squares.
By Marian Brehmer, Translated Nina Coon
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