Egyptian activists and the Muslim Brotherhood prepared for mass rallies today to drive Hosni Mubarak’s last premier out of the presidential race and recapture a revolution they say was stolen from them.
The protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square was described by the spokeswoman of one former presidential contender as the “19th day” of the uprising last year, which ousted Mubarak from power and sparked months of political unrest and economic malaise from which Egypt has yet to emerge.
“We spent 18 days in Tahrir and we want to go to the 19th day,” Hoda Abdel-Baset, spokewoman for Hamdeen Sabahi, said by phone. The candidate finished a close third to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi and Mubarak’s last premier, Ahmed Shafik, in the first round of the vote last month. He has since disputed the outcome, including filing a suit to halt the runoff between the other two candidates scheduled to begin June 16. “We want to continue the revolution,” said Abdel-Baset.
Protesters’ demands include the formation of a civilian presidential council, the retrial of Mubarak and other former regime officials before a revolutionary court, and the implementation of a law that would bar some officials, including Shafik, from running for office. Shafik is seen by Mubarak’s critics as seeking to restore the former regime -- a claim he has denied.
Several youth groups are seeking to raise 13 million signatures in support of a civilian presidential council to administer the country, the state-run Al-Ahram reported. The proposal comes as the ruling military council meets today with political groups to discuss the current situation in the country. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party was not present at the meeting.
While Mubarak and his longtime security chief were sentenced to life in prison last week for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the January 2011 uprising, six other senior officers were acquitted. That left youth groups and the families of the victims concerned that the former president would be acquitted on appeal.
To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at email@example.com