Protected by an inky cloak of night, city workers in Cairo began to paint over a three block long wall that reflects recent years of civil unrest and cultural clashes.

Located in the city’s Tahir Square, the mural displayed raw expressions of Cairo’s people during its turbulent revolution, including portraits of slain protestors, sprawling graffiti and slogans for social change. The police-protected painters were jeered by throngs of young protestors, naturally.

“They are erasing history,” Gamal Abded-Nasser told the Associated Press. His 19-year-old son died early in the anti-Murbak protests—long before Egypt’s fourth president was ousted. The wall has already been tagged again; the sarcastic words “erase more” spread out in red and black Arabic script.

The whitewashed wall speaks to Egypt’s undefined future, as the infant democracy struggles to form an identity that satisfies its diverse people and five-thousand-year-old past.

(Image: Flickr)