Atop his humble wooden pigeon coop overlooking the majestic Giza pyramids in Egypt, Omar Gamal and his older brother keep about 40 pigeons on the roof of their family building in Nazlet Al-Samman, in western Cairo. Handed down through the generations, the practise of domesticating pigeons stretches across borders from the banks of the Nile to north Africa and beyond, with people not only training birds for competitions, but also serving them up as a dining delicacy.
Surrounded by thousands of live scorpions in a laboratory deep in Egypt's Western Desert, Ahmed Abu al-Seoud is extracting drops of venom from the arachnids’ tails. Biomedical researchers are studying the pharmaceutical properties of scorpion venom, making the rare and potent neurotoxin a highly sought-after commodity now produced in several Middle Eastern countries.
On February 11, 2011, after almost three decades in power, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned following 18 days of mass protests. But 10 years later, the ideals of the revolution have given way to another authoritarian military regime. On the emblematic Tahrir Square, where thousands of protesters once gathered, even taking out a camera is now forbidden. Meanwhile, NGOs estimate that at least 60,000 political prisoners are languishing in Egyptian jails. Our Cairo correspondents Edouard Dropsy and Claire Williot report.
Ten years on, we are examining the revolution that changed Egypt. The Arab Spring swept through North Africa and the Middle East and with it some hardline leaders were swept aside. Today is the annual day of the police in Egypt, President Abel Fattah al Sissi presided over commemorations of the role of Egyptian lawenforcement. A role that many activists say was at best heavy-handed back in 2011, and has continued it the same way. The scene a decade ago was so very different.