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Schools World Service

Egyptian Revolution - Primary School Resources

Find out about school children's experiences of the Egyptian protests and revolution

School children in Cairo tell their stories about the revolution. Includes archive footage of the demonstrations and some images of violence. Duration 5,51

Why were Egyptians protesting?

In January 2011, men, women and children all took to the streets in Egypt to protest about the way the country was being run.

Pupils in Cairo

In the demonstrations people marched, waved banners, sang protest songs and shouted that they wanted the President, Hosni Mubarak, to leave.

Mr Mubarak had been in charge for almost 30 years and many people thought that he wasn't doing a good job.

Egyptians complained that there was a big gap between rich and poor people, that lots of people couldn't find a job and that the government was corrupt.

We were protesting because we wanted Mubarak to give us back our stolen money

They also felt that they didn't have a say in how the country was run and that they weren't free to say what they wanted. People who criticized the Government or Mr Mubarak were often punished by the government security forces.

Lots of school children were involved in the demonstrations.

What happened during the demonstrations?

The centre of the demonstrations in Cairo, Egypt's capital, was Tahrir Square, a major road junction near the river Nile.

Protestors in Tahrir Square
Egyptians protest about life under President Mubarak

Thousands of people gathered there during the protests and many stayed overnight in tents. Mr Mubarak's supporters tried to stop people protesting by using water cannon, tear gas and they even rode horses and camels into the square.

There was fighting between protestors and Mubarak supporters and protestors set fire to government buildings.

The protests went on for 18 days and there were lots of children at the demonstrations.

Hazem is aged ten and spent four days at the demonstrations in Tahrir Square

This is his story of what happened when he was at the square.

"We came to the square to demand our rights and an end to the Mubarak regime. I came with my family and met my school friends here. We stayed all day - from early in the morning until late at night.

Hazem in Tahrir Square
Hazem has his face painted in the colours of the Egyptian flag

There were so many people at the square - everywhere you looked there were people holding banners and singing songs.

People in the square looked after each other. We were given food and there was a friendly atmosphere - I felt safe in the square. Muslims and Christians protected one another when they prayed.

Mubarak's supporters came into the square and attacked the protestors. We had to hide under the trees to avoid being hit.

I saw lots of people who had been injured - there were people who had lost their eyes and people with cuts on their arms."

Revolution - the view from a primary school

At a primary school in Cairo at the end of March, everyone was back at school.

Children at a school in Cairo

The school was on holiday at the start of the demonstrations and the school closed for a week afterwards. When children returned to classes, everyone was talking about the revolution.

Habiba is ten and in her last year of primary school. Her family went to protest in Tahrir Square and during the demonstrations she was worried that they might get hurt. She explained that "people were protesting because they didn't want Mubarak to be in power any more and they wanted to change our country."

People didn't want the President to be in power any more and we wanted to change our country

One of Habiba's class mates, Mina, is also 10 and lives in the city centre. Mina said that her family went to protest because Mr Mubarak had stolen their money and they wanted him to give it back.

Lots of children live near the square where the demonstrations took place. Some of them saw fighting, violence and people being hurt and joined in with the protest songs.

Sarah is seven and can see the square from the roof of her house. She was at home with her family during the protests. When they went up on the roof she could see lots of things were happening in the square and saw security police throwing stones at protestors.

Mubarak steps down as President

After people had been protesting for 18 days Mr Mubarak stepped down.

Two Egyptian protestors with painted faces
There were lots of celebrations when Mubarak stepped down

There was lots of cheering, singing, dancing, hugging, honking of car horns and celebrating. The protestors were very happy and relieved that the President had gone.

Mina was at home with her mum when she heard that Mr Mubarak had left. She has happy memories of hearing the news and says that "my mum was just grinning. She was so happy and I was so happy - I was dancing all day"

When Mubarak stepped down I was so happy I danced all day

When Hazem heard the news that the President was not in power any more he was at home with his family. He was so happy and they let off fireworks all night to celebrate. Hazem hopes that the future will be good for Egypt and is proud of what the protestors did. "I now feel that Egypt is my country again and I feel proud to be Egyptian," he said.

Although the government has changed there are many challenges ahead for the people of Egypt. Poverty and unemployment remain, and the future is uncertain.

Schools World Service is a BBC British Council co-production

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see also
In Pictures: Egyptian Revolution
04 May 11 |  World Olympic Dreams

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