Egypt: Thousands Flood Tahrir Square To Protest Military Rule
On Friday, Cairo's Tahrir Square looked much the same as it did 15 months ago as tens of thousands of protestors gathered to call for the country's rulers to step down.
Demonstrators from all sides of the political spectrum took to the Square to demand a quick end to the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed forces, or SCAF, which took control of Egypt following the resignation of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
The SCAF has promised to hand the country over to civilian rulers, but protestors fear that with presidential elections a month away and no constitution yet written the military is trying to prolong its power.
"The military council is putting the people in a very hard situation, and people are angry because their demands have not come true,” student Mohamed Hedaya told the New York Times.
“People feel like the old regime has not gone anywhere, and under the army we are living with them still.”
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Many Egyptians are further outraged by the recent ejections of two Islamist presidential candidates -- the popular Khairat al-Shater of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist cleric Hazem Abu Ismail. Additionally, the presence of a number of former Mubarak regime officials have protestors suspicious about the SCAF's intentions, Egypt's Al Arabiya reported.
"Disqualifying Abu Ismail on false grounds, in addition to the election committee's [poor] running of things, confirms that there is a conspiracy by SCAF to direct Egyptians toward electing a remnant of Mubarak's rule," lawyer Ahmed Abdel Razek told Los Angeles Times correspondents in Cairo. "I don't trust this committee any longer."
“No to remnants. No to military rule,” read one banner in the Square.
Supporters of both Islamist and secular parties -- which are generally antagonistic towards each other -- chanted "down with military rule" in the capital on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
“Today we came to demand that presidential elections take place on time, without delay even for a single day,” Muslim cleric Muzhar Shahine told protesters in a Friday sermon in Tahrir Square.
“Let’s forget the mistakes of each other ... for the sake of our nation’s interest.”
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