The Egyptian revolution is advancing, with thousands rallying yesterday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a ‘Friday of Reclaiming Honour’ protest against military and police forces’ assaults on demonstrators over the last week.
Political parties and groups – including the Wasat Party, Free Egyptians Party, Tagammu Party, Egyptian Current Party, Egypt Social Democratic Party, Adl Party, April 6th Youth Movement and Kefaya movement – had called for the demonstration on Tuesday earlier this week.
Their statement said that members of the military council, which is led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, should be held to account out of respect for those killed and women who were mistreated.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and Jama’a al-Islamiya said they would not participate in the protest.
From early morning some 2,000 demonstrators were already in Tahrir Square, heart of the revolt against Mubarak, chanting ‘Down with the field marshal’ and ‘down with military rule’.
Protesters surrounded the garden in the middle of the square with a large Egyptian flag, creating some openings in its sides for people to enter.
They also set up two tents in the garden, one of which contained a photo exhibition for martyrs of the revolution and caricatures of former Mubarak regime officials.
Banners were hung around the square expressing the protesters’ demands.
The clashes between protesters and security forces broke out last Friday, December 16, when the military attempted to forcefully break up a sit-in outside the cabinet building, resulting in at least 17 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
A video circulated on the internet of a female protester being stripped and dragged by the military police in the street has raised outrage against the military in some segments of Egyptian society.
Protesters are demanding the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) hand over power to a civilian authority; the dismissal of recently appointed Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri and the formation of an independent judicial panel to investigate the killing of protesters.
Hundreds of women marched in Alexandria on Wednesday.
• Egyptian Defence Attaché in Washington DC, Mohamed El-Kashaki, has claimed that recent statements by retired major-general Abdel Moneim Kato regarding the treatment of anti-government protesters did not reflect the opinions of the Egyptian Army or Egypt’s ruling SCAF.
Kato stirred controversy both inside and outside Egypt last week after saying in the media that Tahrir Square protesters should be ‘sent to Hitler’s ovens’.
In a statement issued yesterday, El-Kashaki said the media’s description of Kato as an ‘advisor’ to the SCAF was not, in fact, his official position.