Publié le dim 14 Juil 2013

Egypt: Debunking the Egyptian Military Narrative of Popular Uprising. How many Egyptians did really protest Morsi on the June 30th protests?


We have heard astronomic numbers describing the massive June 30th anti-Morsi protests. I read and heard here and there and everywhere that the number of Egyptians in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities was in the 20 or 30 million people range. And as everyone, i was surprised by the images i was watching on TV. By any standard, those were very large crowds of people in Tahrir Square and around it. But having been to Egypt and Cairo and being familiar with the streets and neighborhoods surrounding that area of Cairo, i knew that Tahrir Square couldn’t possible hold more than 500,000 people, but i was victim as many among you to a clever optical illusion.

Although the numbers of 20 and 30 million Egyptians in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere were  unrealistic and surrealistic– for the simple reason that 30 million people represent more than 1/3rd of the population of the country–the Egyptian military junta and the coalition that it put together didn’t hesitate in repeating them over and over to everyone willing to listening that 1/3rd of the population of Egypt was in the streets aggressively and angrily protesting Morsi’s policies and demanding his departure. And the more they repeated that number, the more it become true.  As Mark Twain famously said “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.”  Well, the little trip that that lie has taken stops here today. We are going to debunk that number and prove that it is/was physically and mathematically impossible to have 20 or 30 million people in the streets of Cairo and other cities.  We are going to do that with visual aids and a video, and we will start with Tahrir Square first and then take it from there.

1-This is a Google-Earth snapshot of Tahrir Square and the avenues surrounding it.

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.51.09 PM

2-We calculate the area surround and including Tahrir Square. We were generous and we exaggerated in our calculation of the area (as you see in the yellow circle) and we end up with 50,000 square meters.

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.52.14 PM

3-Assuming that 4 people per 1 square meter, then we have 200,000 people in Tahrir Square. This is a very generous figure since if you check the picture above and below, you will see that we overestimated the square by including areas that are clearly occupied by buildings, and trees and so forth. 

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.52.41 PM

4-For Tahrir Square to hold 1 million protesters, we have to assume an area of 250,000 square meters and then assume that 4 people per square meter, which gives us 1 million protesters. However, the area that gives us 250,000 square meters is just not realistic at all as you can see in the picture below. We would have to remove building and flatten that area of Cairo to fit 1 million people

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.55.30 PM

5-More realistically, let us look at the streets, boulevards and avenues that the protesters occupied that day. You will see them outlined in red in the picture below.

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.56.52 PM

6-We calculated that the area that can realistically be used by people in Tahrir Square and its surrounding streets is about 96,000 square meters. Let us rounded it up to 100,000 square meters.  Assuming 4 protester per 1 square meter, the total number of protesters in and around Tahrir Square could not exceed more than 400,000 protesters. This is nowhere close to the 1 million protesters advanced by the military junta and repeated by every pro-military junta.

Screen shot 2013-07-14 at 12.58.47 PM

So, if there were 400,000 protesters in Cairo–strike that, let us around it up to 500,000 in Cairo, how may cities would it take to get 30 million people protesting against Morsi on June 30th? We would have needed to have 500,000 protesters in 60 cities across Egypt. Is this realistic? No. Where there protests in 60 cities across Egypt? No. According to AP, the number of cities that saw substantial protests on June 30th was about 12. Even if we assumed that there were protests in 60 cities across Egypt, some cities are too small to be able to mobilize 500, 000 people. And if we go with the figure advanced by AP of 12 cities, we would have needed to have 2.5 million protesters in each of the 12 cities. Not only is this unrealistic, it is also borderline science fiction.

Why is this conversation important? Why do we need to have a somehow precise idea about the number of people who descended in the streets to protest Morsi’s policies? Because the military junta and its allies have argued (and still are) that this was a popular coup, and that  Morsi was removed by the will of the people who rejected him massively. It is also because the military establishment was alarmed by the millions and millions of Egyptians in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere protesting Morsi rules, and it is this sheer large number of people that compelled the military to step in and save Egypt from utter chaos. Well, there is no way there was even a million of people in Cairo protesting against Morsi. It is even a very generous assumption to argue that there 2 or 3 million Egyptians across several cities protesting against Morsi.

Therefore, the basis upon which the Egyptian military justified and legitimized its intervention and coup d’etat of July 3rd is bunk, and it is total nonsense. The popular-uprising-legitimizing-the-military-coup narrative is debunked since it is based on false premise, lies, and mathematical impossibilities. The numbers and the math don’t justify or legitimize the coup. So what does? The pro-Mubarak clan does. What happened on July 3rd was not a revolution or even a popular uprising, it was a coup conducted by the pro-Mubarak  counter-revolutionaries. It is as simple as that.

Here is the video for a better view and explanation

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