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Tens of thousands return to Tahrir Square

Friday, April 20, 2012 - 01:57

April 20 - Protesters from across the political spectrum gather for the Friday of Re-Uniting the People to protest continued military rule. Sarah Wali reports.

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Tens of thousands of Egyptians gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand the military hand over power to civilians. The protesters - who come from across the political spectrum - are also angry at the perceived involvement of the armed forces in the upcoming presidential elections. One protester said Egypt's military rulers had stopped the Islamist-dominated parliament from being able to carry out reforms and now wanted to fix the coming presidential ballot. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, MOHAMED ABDUL WAHAB, SAYING: "The parliament, which we appointed so that they will realise our demands, and which is supposed to put in place legislation - the military council is confining them. The presidential elections commission is insisting on carrying out a conspiracy to exclude the Islamists from the political arena. The conspiracy is designed so that specific people win in the end. And that will lead in the end to a new revolution and to greater losses that the Egyptian people do not need." On Tuesday, Egypt's election commission turned down appeals by Mubarak's former spy chief Omar Sulieman, Salafi front-runner Hazem Abou Ismail , Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat el-Shater and seven other presidential hopefuls against their exclusion from the race. Friday's protest was the first time in months that liberals and Islamists have held a demonstration under a common banner. According to the April 6 movement, a popular group that helped organize last year's protests, the Islamist parties are attempting to repair their public image. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MEMBER OF 6TH APRIL ACTIVIST MOVEMENT, AHMED SAMI, SAYING: "Okay, the religious trend has had losses. It's lost a lot in terms of popularity on the street; it has lost confidence on the street and has been attacked on the street, so perhaps today they have come and joined on the Friday of Re-Uniting the People in order to come back to join the revolutionaries in the square." The army says it will stick to its timetable to hand power to a new president by July 1 and has promised to oversee a fair vote. But, remarks from the army suggesting it might seek to have a new constitution in place before the handover have added to worries about the military's aim. Sarah Wali, Reuters

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Tens of thousands return to Tahrir Square

Friday, April 20, 2012 - 01:57