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Arab Spring ideals kept alive in Egypt amid fears of civil strife

Three years after the mass uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, a weary Egyptian public is ready to give up their revolutionary goals in exchange for peace and security, but some political activists strive to keep the Arab Spring ideals alive.

CAIRO: Three years ago, the world held its breath as Egyptians took to the streets, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak's rule and to usher in the beginnings of democracy.

Three years on, Hosni Mubarak may be gone, but democracy is still more of an aspiration than a reality.

Yet, not everyone has lost hope in the Arab Spring's ideals.

The Third Square is a movement that is determined to keep the dream of the January 2011 revolution alive.

"We don't want people to forget the dream we had on January 25 when millions of protesters took to the streets demanding bread, freedom and social justice,” said Tamer Qennaway, a political activist.

“As the anniversary of the revolution draws near, we are still very far from achieving our goals".

Three years after the mass uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, a weary Egyptian public is yearning for stability and security.

With many Egyptians ready to give up the revolutionary goals, the group is meeting to discuss ways of persuading Egyptians to stay the course amid fears that the country may be headed towards civil strife.

"Our motto is: we are against all those who betrayed the revolution -- the military, old regime remnants and the Muslim Brotherhood. We had a revolution so that Egyptians can lead a decent life", said Mohamad Fawaz, an activist and member of the Third Square.

It is a message the young activists are trying to spread nationwide through protests and other means.

Last summer, when pro-Morsi protesters rallied at Rabaa demanding the reinstatement of the toppled Islamist president, and pro-military protesters gathered in Tahrir Square to celebrate Morsi’s downfall, the Third Square stayed away from both rallies.

Members of the Third Square were neither at Rabaa nor in Tahrir square. They held their protest rallies in the Mohandeseen, chanting "down with the Brotherhood and down with military rule."

In recent months, the imposition of a state of emergency and the curfew that was in place have forced the Third Square off the streets.

Unable to stage protests because of a new law banning protests which do not have permission from the authorities, the Third Square found other ways to press for their demands, including through social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, graffiti on the walls and direct communication with ordinary Egyptians.

But the movement continues to face challenges including a brutal security crackdown on dissent.

"The interior ministry is seeking revenge on symbols of the revolution. They are being arrested, detained accused and tortured," said activist Reem Dawoud.

Other activists have paid an even higher price, including their lives, in their quest for freedom and democracy.

But the Third Square is determined to move forward and continue the struggle for a free, civil and democratic Egypt.

"If revolutionary youths are a minority today, they will return and mobilise the people. No matter how long it takes, we will stay on the streets for a free democratic country," said Reem.

Reem and other Third Square members hope that someday, Egypt will be free from both military and religious rule.  

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