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Protesters find new momentum as they reoccupy Egypt's Tahrir Square

Egypt's military leaders have promised to shuffle the cabinet and bring police officers to justice since Friday's protests. But some Egyptians are critical of the protesters, and the military has issued warnings against them.

By Correspondent / July 12, 2011

Egyptian protesters sleep on the ground during their protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo, on Tuesday, July 12. Thousands of Egyptians have braved scorching summer heat to hold one of their biggest protests in months, filling streets in Cairo and other cities to demand trials for members of Hosni Mubarak's regime and express frustration with the slow pace of change.

Khalil Hamra/AP

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Cairo

Five months after the departure of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, protesters are again occupying Cairo's Tahrir Square, this time to demonstrate against the military council that replaced him. But outside the iconic square, some Egyptians are growing impatient with demonstrations, indicating a growing divide on the best way to secure Egypt's future.

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Thousands of protesters, some of whom have camped out in the square since a protest Friday, are demanding faster trials for former regime officials and punishment for policemen accused of killing civilians during the 18-day uprising that began in January. Demonstrations are also ongoing in Alexandria and Suez.

The recent acquittal of several former regime officials on charges of corruption, as well as the release of some accused policemen on bail, fanned anger among Egyptians against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is leading the country until new elections are held and has used some of the same authoritarian tactics as Mr. Mubarak. Protesters called for mass protests Tuesday.

“I’m here for the rights of the martyrs,” said Amin Fathi, a young man from a poor area of Cairo who was busy affixing an Egyptian flag to a sign full of slogans against the military rulers. He is angry that policemen accused of killing protesters are still on duty, and Mubarak has yet to be tried. “There hasn’t been change. If things had changed, we wouldn’t be here,” he says as a crowd gathers and agrees. “Without our pressure, the military will not do anything.”

After Friday’s large protest, interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf pledged to reshuffle the cabinet and fire police officers accused of killing protesters, and urged swift trials for former regime officials. Tuesday he announced on his Facebook page that Deputy Prime Minister Yehia Gamal had resigned. Protesters had associated him with the Mubarak regime and demanded his resignation.

Yet some in Egypt are growing weary of protests, like the middle-aged woman in bright-pink lipstick and coiffed curls who stopped by a protesters’ tent in Tahrir Wednesday to ask why they were there.

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