Tens of thousands of Egyptians rallied Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir square with Islamists in the forefront to protest against what they say are attempts by the country’s military rulers to designate themselves as the guardians of a new Egypt. It was one of the largest rallies in Egypt in recent months.
The protests were led by the country most organised political group the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim brotherhood had earlier refused to interfere in the working of the temporary Supreme Council of Armed Forces but now it has warned that it would escalate its protest if there are any plans of giving permanent power to the military.
Banners read: Down with military rule. Egypt our country is not a military camp. Some demonstrators flew the Egyptian flag, while others including ultraconservative Salafis waved a banner declaring Islam’s holy book, the Quran, to be our constitution.
The rally was called to protest a document proposed by the government which declares the military the guardian of constitutional legitimacy, which could mean the armed forces could have the final say on major policies even after a new president is elected. The document also introduces clauses that would shield it from civilian inquiry.
The Brotherhood says the document emphasizes dictatorship.
It contains articles that rob the people of their sovereignty and reinforces dictatorship. It constitutes a coup against the principles and goals of the January 25 revolution, the group said in a statement issued Wednesday.
But some liberals have supported the idea of writing guiding principles for the constitution, fearing that a parliament controlled by Islamists would insert religious principles into the document.
Even now, some liberals remain opposed to the Friday rally, saying a document is necessary to detail how members of the assembly are to be chosen, and controversial clauses can be negotiated.
Report by Adhir Roy Chowdury