Egypt's pro-democracy campaigners have embarked on a new wave of protests, urging the country's transitional rulers to go beyond words and act on the key demands of the uprising that, five months ago, brought down the former President, Hosni Mubarak.
The organisers are planning a “million man” march later on Tuesday.
The preparations for the demonstration, which will head toward the Cabinet headquarters after sunset, have been preceded by heightened tensions involving the transitional military administration. The spokesman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the country's de facto rulers, has warned that action would be taken against “anyone who would disrupt public order and services”.
The new wave of protests commenced on Friday and diehard protesters have started a round-the-clock sit-in at the iconic Tahrir Square. The strategic port city of Suez and Alexandria, Egypt's important city, have already been wracked by a fresh wave of strikes. Responding to SCAF's warning, one of the protesters at Tahrir Square announced “we firmly reject the threatening tone SCAF used in today's statement”.
“Secondly, we announce that we do not accept this statement, which did not mention anything about the demands and the aspirations of the revolution.”
Analysts point out that the pro-democracy supporters are drawing a positive resonance in the streets, mainly on account of the failure of SCAF to address the core demands of the people related to the Mubarak era.
The Muslim Brotherhood, one of the key components of the Egyptian protest movement, stated on its website that Egyptians “are still waiting for ousted president, Hosni Mubarak and his aides to face prosecution”. Protesters say instead of residing in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Mr. Mubarak should be hauled up for a public trial for ordering the killing of activists and his alleged involvement in a weapons deal.
Observers also point out the limited progress in the prosecution of Mr. Mubarak's two sons, who are facing charges of amassing illegal wealth and killing protesters during the January events, has also become a cause for consternation.
The transitional government's perceptibly tepid response to violations of civil rights and apparent softness toward the police are also drawing crowds to the streets. Protesters say despite numerous cases related to 846 civilian deaths during the course of the January uprising, only one policeman has been convicted so far.
“Million man” march planned on Tuesday
Military council warns against protests