Policing January 25: Protest, Tactics, and Territorial Control in Egypt’s 2011 Uprising

Dimitris Soudias


On January 25th, 2011 thousands of protesters took to the streets of major cities in Egypt—referred to as the “day of wrath”—to express their grievances and frustration with the ruling regime, ultimately leading to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak after three decades in power. The street, as a socially constructed space of discontent, had become the central locus of political change. In this paper, I will tackle the question of how and why policing strategies in Cairo failed to contain protesters, eventually leading to the withdrawal of security forces on January 28th. I will analyze the interactions between security forces and protesters in protest events during the uprising, focusing on policing strategies, tactical repertoires, and spaces of resistance.Through this, I hope to offer a way of looking at the politics of territorialization and space production in protest, and by extension, the negotiation of power relations between authority and resistance actors.


Protest; Space; Egypt; Tactical Repertoires; Protest Policing; Arab Uprisings; Cairo

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2015.4.2669

Dimitris Soudias is a research fellow in the BMBF-funded “Re-Configurations” project at the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS), Philipps University Marburg. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo and an MA in Political Science from Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Among his most recent publications are: “Mapping Popular Perceptions: Local Security, Insecurity and Police Work in Yemen” together with MareikeTransfeld (Yemen Polling Center, 2014); Negotiating Space: The Evolution of the Egyptian Street, 2000-2011(The American University in Cairo Press, 2014); “Präsenz und Raum in der ArabischenRevolte” together with Christoph Schumann (Präsenz und implizitesWissen. Ed. Christoph Ernst and Heike Paul.Transcript, 2013).

email: Dimitris.Soudias@uni-marburg.de