Egypt fills Tahrir Square, this time with Islamists in lead
In a rally called by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, one of the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak demanded a quick end to the military's rule of Egypt.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square today to demand a quick transition to civilian rule. In a show of strength against the military junta's attempt to hold on to power, they challenged the military's ground rules for the new constitution and called for presidential elections by April 2012 – nearly a year earlier than the military's timeline.Skip to next paragraph
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The protest was called by the Muslim Brotherhood and other conservative Islamist groups, and the majority of the protesters appeared to be from Islamist groups. But enough Egyptians of all persuasions showed up that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will find it hard to ignore or dismiss their demands.
"We've had 60 years of military dictators," said Eman Abd El Hadi as she stood amid the crush of people in Tahrir. "This is the first time we demand [a leader] not from the military. We must have a civilian president."
Many protesters held signs that read “One demand: the transfer of power.” But in a reminder of the deep divisions that could complicate the transition, followers of a conservative strain of Islam, known as salafis, also waved religious banners and shouted, “the Quran is our constitution.” Some protesters complained that salafis had jeopardized the united front against military rule by introducing a religious agenda off-putting to liberals and secularists.
Such tensions have led some to say that liberal and secular parties must decide which is the lesser evil: a strong military hand in running the country, or an Islamist-dominated government
SCAF likely to delay presidential elections until 2013
The military council took power when former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular uprising in February and promised to hold elections and transfer power to a civilian government within six months. But it has repeatedly delayed that timeline, and now says it will remain in control until a new president is elected, which under the council’s timeline is not likely to happen until 2013.