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article imageBoth sides unite in protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt

By Anne Sewell     Apr 21, 2012 in World
Cairo - Tens of thousands of Egyptians packed Tahrir Square yesterday - Islamists and liberals joined forces in protest against the ruling military government.
The whole spectrum of Egyptian political protesters were collaborating in a protest for real democracy, as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is reluctant to give up power.
The crowds in Tahrir Square, Cairo are accusing the SCAF of manipulating the upcoming president elections so that they can retain power.
Despite the fact that parliamentary elections have taken place, Egypt has seen little democratic change.
In an interview with RT Freelance journalist and writer Bel Trew stresses “People haven’t seen any social justice, they haven’t seen changes. We are still essentially under emergency law. People are being imprisoned for their political beliefs,”
Trew also advised that this is the largest protest seen in Tahrir Square since the anniversary of Mubarak's loss of the presidency in January.
Despite the numbers and different political views of the protesters, political forces are blocking attempts by protest organizers to create a united front
The Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram dubbed it "Self-Determination Friday" and stated that the Islamists are showing anger at electoral commission and ex-regime members, while the liberals focus on the Egyptian constitution.
The newspaper reports that most banners carried by the protesters called for the removal of former regime leaders, primarily the military presidential candidate, Ahmed Shafiq and the ex-Arab League chief, Amr Moussa.
Posters and banners displayed Abu Ismail, despite the fact that he was eliminated from the presidential race by the Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) a week ago. A new banner appeared throughout the protest which read: “Rigging will take place; Mubarak’s council continues to rule” and displayed pictures of several SPEC judges.
Among the demands of the protest was for the removal of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) from the political process and also stressed the importance of drafting a representative constitution.
In an address to the protesters by Liberal MP Amr Hamzawy, a demand was made that the remnants of the former military regime should be completely purged from the elections process. Hamzawy called out the Muslim Brotherhood for its recent "unrevolutionary" stance and told them to withdraw their presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi.
However, Muslim Brotherhood members in Tahrir Square disagreed with Hamzawy, stating that the majority of the current protesters are from the islamist forces.
In an interview with RT, Jacob Homberger, president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, states that events in Egypt appear to be on a collision course. He said: "The military doesn’t want to give up its privileged position in society, the protesters want a genuine democratic system.”
He stressed that the Egyptian people are now uniting in protest, despite their differences. Both sides have realized that to have a genuine democratic system, they have to make the Egyptian military subordinate to civilian authority:. He said “They have common interest here. As long military remains in force all of them lose,” Hornberger concluded.
The presidential elections are scheduled to take place on May 23 this year.
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