Egypt (MNN) — A movement called "Tamarod" which is the Arabic word for "Rebellion" planned the demonstrations. Two days before the June 30 demonstrations, Tamarod announced they collected 22 million signatures. Not long after that, they had gathered 25 million signatures.
Tamarod has given a time limit to the president until Tuesday 5:00 pm to step down, and the Egyptians are determined to keep filling the streets until the change takes place, or they march to "Alqoba," the presidential palace. SAT-7 USA president Dr. Rex Rogers says, "These protests against the current regime are much, much larger–I mean, multiple millions in the streets. If you look at pictures, it's unbelievable."
Those in opposition say that President Mohamed Morsi has failed to meet campaign promises such as improving security and turning around the nation's flagging economy, and that this has disappointed or angered millions of Egyptians. "One of the biggest issues that the protestors are claiming is that the regime has become a one-party, one-ideology sort of protective force rather than representing all Egyptians."
The writing of a new constitution without the proper input of Christians and other minorities has also stoked the opposition. Rogers says, "People seem to be fed up. They've had a year, an apparently democratically-elected president, and it hasn't worked. The government hasn't responded in the way that the hopes of the Arab Spring caused people to envision, and now they're asking for that."
This time, the protests hold the energy of new beginnings. Rogers explains, "[Look] how much of the so-called ‘average Egyptian' is in the streets as opposed to what we've seen in the past, which are a lot of young men representing different groups. More families are there. More Christians and Muslims are standing together. This is a different kind of protest."
On Monday, the Army announced that the two sides have until Wednesday to resolve the growing governing dispute or it will step in to restore order. It's an attempt to force Morsi to come to an understanding with the opposition. If nothing happens, according to SAT-7 Egypt Director, Mr. Garas, "They will then force their own road map to democracy on the government," essentially threatening the end of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood‘s regime.
Shortly after the army's statement, four military choppers flew over the streets of Cairo greeting the demonstrators.
Garas shared what he saw when he walked among the demonstrators next to the presidential palace "Eletehadia." He said, "I was proud of the Egyptians who decided to complete their revolution in spite of the threats they receive from the terrorists. I saw families, young people, and children; I saw Christians and Muslims standing together to seek 'bread, freedom, human dignity, and social justice:' the same thing they have asked for in the January 25, 2011 revolution." He echoes Rogers' sentiment of genesis, adding, "We don't know how things will turn out, but the sure thing is that Egypt is changing: Christians are sharing with their fellow Muslim citizens for the good of the country, the masks are falling, and the need for the good news is increasing."
Meanwhile, SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is airing special episodes offering biblical guidance, urging viewers to act peacefully and calling on them to pray for the future of Egypt.
Last week, SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 PLUS aired short clips of prayer meetings at Kasr El Dobbarah Evangelical Church. In the clips, pastors shared encouraging words and urged viewers to pray for Egypt's future.
The current affairs program, Bridges, dedicated three consecutive episodes to the protests. The host talked about how Christians should respond to violence, the power of non-violent protest, the psychological effects of violence, and how it can change people and nations. SAT-7 crews also shot tape from around Egypt before the protests, as well as footage from the streets.
George Makeen, Programming Manager for SAT-7 ARABIC, is praying that God protects people over these critical few days. He says, "It is encouraging to see that Egyptians, after the revolution of January 2011, have lost their fear of the government and have learned to express their opinions freely. I hope the next step will be to embrace coexistence…. But this will not happen before people stop being deceived by those who use religion to gain support."
Makeen predicts that even if the anticipated protests on June 30th do not bring about a decisive change in Egyptian politics, such a change is bound to happen eventually. SAT-7 stands by to offer viewers a compelling biblical understanding of life and liberty, peace, and government, and pray with them for the future of Egypt.
Rogers says, "SAT-7 gives people a ‘venue,' if you will, to hear different kinds of thought interacting with each other in ways that, many times, are not available to them on other channels." And this week, SAT-7 also urges its supporters and friends around the world to join us in prayer for Egypt–the Arab world's most populous country, hosting most of the region's Christian population.