The protest squares of Cairo

Three squares in Cairo have been central to political protest in Egypt over the past two years - the area around Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, Nahda Square and Tahrir or Liberation Square.

Size and location of the three Cairo protest camps

On 14 August hundreds of protesters were killed by security forces outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque and at Nahda Square after they refused to end their rally supporting the ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Mr Morsi was removed from office by the military on 3 July.

Security forces storm protest camps
Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya camps before they were broken up Supporters of President Morsi had camped in the streets demanding his reinstatement and had defied repeated warnings from the authorities to end the sit-ins
Security forces moving into Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya camps The security forces used armoured bulldozers to clear barricades that protesters had built from bricks and sandbags to protect the camps
Arrests at the Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya camps The smaller protest camps at Nahda Square was cleared quickly but protesters clashed with security forces for several hours in and around Rabaa al-Adawiya
Nahda and Rabaa al-Adawiya camps after the clearance The government says 525 people were killed nationwide during the violence, but the final toll is likely to be significantly higher

Mr Morsi won the presidential vote in 2012, becoming Egypt's first democratically elected president. But a year on from the election he was unpopular with many voters and they took to the streets to demand he step down.

The protests prompted the military to intervene and remove Mr Morsi from office.

Last month the pro-Morsi protests outside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque reached their peak. Here you can explore the camp, on a previously busy dual carriageway, as it looked earlier in the summer.

Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp on 18 July 2013


Protesters in helmets

Muslim Brotherhood members guard the entrances to the square to check who is coming in. They man makeshift checkpoints to search bags and check IDs and read the Quran when things are quiet.

Street art

Protesters drawing in the street

Protesters use the streets as a canvas for their political messages.


People seeking shade

People create some shade with improvised tents to shelter from the hot summer sun.

Street vendors

A man selling water

Street vendors sell bottles of water, snacks, prayer mats, hats and sticks.


A crowd listens to a speech

Prominent Muslim Brotherhood figures give speeches from the main stage, where Friday prayers are also held.

Media center

A woman with a flag

Under a banner that reads "The popular coalition in support of legitimacy", a group of pro-Morsi a group of pro-Morsi supporters organise news conferences and help for journalists.

Field hospital

A man having his head bandaged

Doctors and volunteers set up a makeshift hospital where they store medications and help injured protesters.


The army guard a building

The Egyptian army has erected barbed wire barricades around the Republican Guard headquarters, close to Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, blocking pro-Morsi protesters who believe Mr Morsi might be inside.

Tahrir - or Liberation - Square first became famous in early 2011, when for 18 days it became the focus of the pro-democracy uprising against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. The demonstrations attracted global attention and Mubarak was forced to step down.

Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected in 2012 but by 2013 many of those who were unhappy with Hosni Mubarak were now disappointed with Mr Morsi.

Egypt became polarised, with Mr Morsi's Islamist supporters on one side, and their opponents, including leftists, liberals and secularists, on the other.

A year after his election, opponents of the new president gathered in Tahrir Square and demanded he step down. See the ebb and flow of protests in the square below.

Two years in the life of Tahrir square
To see the enhanced content on this page, you need to have JavaScript enabled and Adobe Flash installed.

More on This Story

Egypt transition

More Middle East stories


Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.