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Egypt

Egypt: Massive Protest Building In Tahrir Square After Days Of Bloody Crackdown

Activists have called for a mass showing in Cairo's central square on Tuesday to call for the ouster of Egypt's military leadership. The Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, has said it will not participat

Two protesters in Tahrir Square on Monday (lilianwagdy)
Two protesters in Tahrir Square on Monday (lilianwagdy)

CAIRO - Crowds of protesters have taken to Tahrir Square since Tuesday morning in preparation for a massive demonstration to demand the military hand over power to civilians. Thousands spent the night in the square in central Cairo, which has been the focal point of protests since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February.

A number of political groups called for a mass protest on Tuesday in Tahrir and other venues to urge the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to hand over power to a national salvation government.

Meanwhile, clashes between protesters and security entered their fourth day, with security forces stationed at streets leading to the Interior Ministry. The encounters started on Saturday when police forces forcibly evacuated a sit-in by people injured in the 25 January revolution. Protesters have been attacked with tear gas, shotgun pellets and live ammunition, which has led to at least 24 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

While several major political groups announced their participation in Tuesday's demonstration, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, said in a statement by its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, that it will not take part in any future protests to avoid provoking more tension.

Read the full story in Al-Masry Al-Youm

photo - lilianwadgy

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Society

Tour Of Istanbul's Ancient Yedikule Gardens, At Risk With Urban Restoration

The six-hectare gardens in the center of Istanbul, which are more than 1,500 years old, have helped feed the city's residents over the centuries and are connected with its religious history. But current city management has a restoration project that could disrupt a unique urban ecosystem.

Photo of Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Last March, Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Tolga Ildun via ZUMA Press Wire
Canan Coşkun

ISTANBUL — The historic urban gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are at risk of destruction once again. After damage in 2013 caused by the neighborhood municipality of Fatih, the gardens are now facing further disruption and possible damage as the greater Istanbul municipality plans more "restoration" work.

The six-hectare gardens are more than 1,500 years old, dating back to the city's Byzantine era. They were first farmed by Greeks and Albanians, then people from the northern city of Kastamonu, near the Black Sea. Now, a wide variety of seasonal produce grows in the garden, including herbs, varieties of lettuce and other greens, red turnip, green onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, pepper, corn, mullberry, fig and pomegranate.

Yedikule is unique among urban gardens around the world, says Cemal Kafadar, a historian and professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University.

“There are (urban gardens) that are older than Istanbul gardens, such as those in Rome, but there is no other that has maintained continuity all this time with its techniques and specific craft," Kafadar says. "What makes Yedikule unique is that it still provides crops. You might have eaten (from these gardens) with or without knowing about it."

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