Thousands rally for Egypt military chief’s ouster

July 13, 2011

The Times of India

CAIRO: Thousands of Egyptians rallied on Tuesday for the downfall of Egypt’s military leader, as anger mounts over the army’s handling of a transition from the country’s former autocratic regime.

Five months after a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak, activists fear their revolution is in jeopardy and accuse the ruling military council of keeping an absolute grip on power that blocks the path to democracy.

Protesters have been camping out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and in the canal city of Suez since mass nationwide rallies on Friday to demand political change.

“The people want the fall of the Field Marshall,” chanted demonstrators in Cairo, in reference to Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s longtime defence minister who now heads the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

“Down, down with the Field Marshall,” thousands chanted in Suez where the army erected barbed wire and formed a wall to block any attempt to reach the strategic Suez Canal.

Tahrir Square was bubbling with energy tonight, with speakers on podiums and a concert planned, amid tight security overseen by the demonstrators.

The army, which was hailed as heroes at the start of the January 25 uprising for not shooting protesters, has come under fire for using Mubarak-era tactics to stifle dissent and maintain an unchallenged hold on power.

But the council insisted it will not cede control over the transition.

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