Egyptians protest in Tahrir, angry over new cabinet
Egyptians say not enough has changed since Mubarak fell two weeks ago today. The protest shows that toppling a dictator is but the first step in the uprisings sweeping the Arab world.
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And in neighboring Libya, fierce fighting moved closer to Muammar Qaddafi's stronghold in and around Tripoli. Egyptians expressed solidarity with Libyans at the protest Friday, with some waving the pre-Qaddafi Libyan flag that has become a symbol for the resistance.Skip to next paragraph
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Though the protesters in Cairo were firm in their demands, the gathering fell short of the hoped-for million attendees and the atmosphere was at times one of celebration. Vendors sold popcorn and ice cream, and thousands of Egyptian flags waved above the crowd. Children toddled through the crowd with Egyptian flags painted on their faces.
Keeping up the pressure
Protesters acknowledged they would need to keep up the pressure in order to be successful in forcing Shafiq and other Mubarak-era figures to resign. Much of their enmity is focused on Shafiq and the foreign and defense ministers, also from Mubarak’s regime. Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy is also attracting anger.
“It’s still a revolution in the making,” said analyst Ibrahim El Houdaiby, speaking in the middle of the square Friday. “I think Shafiq still doesn’t recognize the fact that a revolution took place.” He predicts it will take more pressure to force Shafiq and other Mubarak cronies out, as well as to dismantle the state security apparatus.
Egyptians protested in the suburb of Maadi Thursday, burning a police car, after a police officer shot a minibus driver during an altercation, illustrating the anger that is still present over the torture, abuse, and attitude of impunity perpetrated by police and security forces for years.
“This is the one area of consensus,” says Houdaiby. “No one wants to see the police acting the way they did.”
In Tahrir, the signs of the protests have been cleaned up, but the memories of what happened there are not gone. Abdullah El Fakharany, who participated in the protests from the very beginning, points to the spot where on Feb. 2 government thugs violently attacked the peaceful protesters, including him, charging the crowd on camels and horses and hurling chunks of concrete at them.
“That happened under Ahmed Shafiq’s government,” he said. “Ahmed Shafiq was chosen by Mubarak. We want a government chosen by the people through elections.”