Egypt: Peace prevails, but protesters warn of more rallies

Sunday, February 13, 2011

CAIRO - Egypt woke up to its first working day Sunday since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak, but many protesters didn’t seem inclined to leave Tahrir Square and many threatened more rallies to demand the army hand over to a civilian government.

Soldiers formed lines and moved in around the protesters in Tahrir Square. Traffic has started flowing through the square again for the first time in more than two weeks of protests.

Protesters chanted “Peacefully, peacefully” as the soldiers moved, and a few resisted the line of troops. The tents, where protesters have camped out overnight, were removed, Al Jazeera reported Sunday.

Ashraf Ahmed, one of the protesters, said the military could tear down his tent, but that he wouldn’t leave “because so much still needs to be done. They haven’t implemented anything yet.”

There had been some “very small scuffles” when the troops approached protesters.

Some of the protesters think not enough has been done yet. They don’t want to clear that square until the army has handed over to a civilian government.

Protest organisers have threatened more rallies if the ruling Supreme Military Council fails to accept their agenda for reform.

“If the army does not fulfil our demands, our uprising and its measures will return stronger,” Safwat Hegazi, a protest leader said.

Organisers want the dissolution of parliament and the lifting of a 30-year-old state of emergency.

The Supreme Military Council, which is ruling the country since Mubarak’s ouster, vowed on Saturday to hand power to an elected, civilian government.

The military will “guarantee the peaceful transition of power in the framework of a free, democratic system which allows an elected, civilian power to govern the country to build a democratic, free state”, a senior army officer announced on state television.

The council also pledged to honour its international treaties - in an apparent nod to the country’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties,” the military statement read.

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