Egypt protest leaders vow to protect revolution

Activists issue communiques listing demands, want an end to emergency laws and military courts, while a carnival atmosphere lingered.

Egypt protest leaders vow to protect revolution

Pro-democracy activists in Tahrir Square vowed on Saturday to stay there until the Higher Military Council now running Egypt accepts their agenda for reform.

In two communiques, the core group of protest organisers demanded the lifting of a state of emergency that was used by deposed President Hosni Mubarak to crush dissent and opposition.

Other demands from Tahrir reformists included the release of all political prisoners and the disbanding of military courts. They also want civilian involvement in the transitional process.

"People's Communique No. 1" demands the dissolution of the cabinet Mubarak appointed on Jan. 29 and the suspension of the parliament elected in a rigged poll late last year.

The reformists want a transitional five-member presidential council made up of four civilians and one military person.

The communique calls for the formation of a transitional government to prepare for an election to take place within nine months, and of a body to draft a new democratic constitution.

It demands freedom for the media and syndicates, which represent groups such as lawyers, doctors and engineers, and for the formation of political parties. Military and emergency courts must be scrapped, the communique says.

Police confront Egypt-inspired protesters in Algeria

It remained to be seen what appetite the high command had for a quick transition to democracy in a nation that traces its history back to the pharaohs more than 5,000 years ago and that has been transformed by the upheaval of an 18-day uprising.

Throughout the Middle East and beyond, autocratic rulers were now calculating their chances of survival after Mubarak, 82, was forced from power.

In Algiers, dozens gathered in a city square on Saturday shouting anti-government slogans only to be encircled by hundreds of police determined to snuff out any attempt to stage an Egyptian-style revolt.

Mubarak was believed to be at his residence in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, his future unclear.

Al Arabiya television said the army would soon dismiss the cabinet and suspend parliament. The head of the Constitutional Court would join the leadership with the military council, which was given the job of running the country of 80 million people.

The first priority in Egypt was restoring law and order before the start of the working week starting on Sunday. Army tanks and soldiers stayed on the streets guarding intersections and key buildings after the disgraced police force melted away.

With the threat of confrontation between the army and protesters now gone, Cairo residents took photographs of each other holding flowers with smiling soldiers at roadblocks to record the first day of a new post-Mubarak era.

People were buying bundles of state-owned newspapers proclaiming "The Revolution of the Youths forced Mubarak to leave" with pictures of celebrations to keep as treasured souvenirs of this landmark in Egypt's history.

The army dismantled checkpoints on Saturday around Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protest movement, and some makeshift barricades were being removed. Volunteers cleaned up while a carnival atmosphere lingered.

Reuters

Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2011, 17:13
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