Egyptians gather to ‘reclaim revolution’

Protests to quicken the pace of democratic change brings Egyptians out to Tahrir Square   [EPA]

Egyptian activists have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to press the ruling military to speed up the transfer of power to civilians and revoke emergency laws once used by Hosni Mubarak, the ousted president, against his opponents.

Activists said they expect thousands to join the protests, which they call “reclaiming the revolution”, amid growing discontent with the way the ruling military council has been managing the country’s transition.

The council has announced that parliamentary elections will start on November 28 with a mixed system of proportional representation and individual lists. Most political groups fear the system will allow Mubarak supporters to return to office.

Al Jazeera’s Raywa Rageh, reporting from Tahir square said: “There is a realistion amongst people that the revolution is in danger. The supreme council of the armed forces will keep an eye on events to see if the people have the political will to ask for change.”

Ramy El Swissy, the co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement told Al Jazeera, “Nobody agrees with the election laws,  and they (military) are ignoring all political parties.”

The ruling military council has warned demonstrators against attacking public facilities.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political force, said it would not join the protest.

Revoking of emergency law

Six presidential hopefuls joined forces on Thursday in pressing the military council to set March as the deadline for the peaceful transfer of power.

They also declared that the state of emergency legally expired on Friday. The
military council has said it will stay in force until next year.

The presidential candidates issued a statement that said, “The state of emergency in
place now will come to an end on September 30, 2011, in accordance with article
59 of the constitutional decree, and any decision or judicial ruling issued after September. 30, 2011 based on the state of emergency will be null of any  legal or constitutional legitimacy.”

They also demanded reactivation of a
law dating back to the 1950s that criminalises abuse of office, to make it
possible to try remnants of the Mubarak regime and “render them incapable of
sneaking back to the seats of the legislative authority”.

Some 60 political parties issued a joint statement earlier this week giving the military
council until Sunday to amend election laws to allow political parties to also compete for seats allocated to individuals.

Egypt’s Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Friday that the government was considering the request.

( / 30.09.2011)

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