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  • » 11/22/2011, 00.00

    EGYPT

    Christians and Muslims in Tahrir Square want the military to quit



    Local sources say 400,000 people are in the square. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis are ejected from the rally. Police use tear gas against protesters. Hundreds are injured in clashes as protests touch Alexandria, Suez and Damietta.
    Cairo (AsiaNews) – Tahrir Square is back in the hands of the young revolutionaries of 25 January. More than 400,000 are currently assembled in the site that has become the symbol of the Arab Spring, united in the slogan “Christians and Muslim, one single hand”, demanding the end of military control.

    The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamic groups are not present. Leaders of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Equality party and the presidential candidate for the Salafi movement were forcibly removed from yesterday’s rally. They are accused of using popular dissatisfaction in their pursuit of power.

    Protests are also underway in Alexandria, Suez and Damietta since they broke out last Saturday.

    So far, about 40 people have died and about a thousand have been injured in the confrontation.

    Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman of the Catholic Church, said that protesters have clashed with police near the Interior Ministry building, which is surrounded by hundreds of agents.

    Many demonstrators have been made sick by tear gas used by police. Others have cuts and gashes and complain about the presence of hooligans in police ranks.

    For the clergyman, this demonstration represents a return to the original ideals of the revolution that unfolded back in January in Tahrir Square and led to the downfall of the Mubarak regime.

    “People are tired of the army but also of Muslim Brotherhood, which continues to interfere in the country’s political life in order to impose its religious ideology. Young people refuse extremist ideas and have streamed into the square to say that there is but one Egyptian people and that it includes Muslims and Christians”.

    Catholics are also involved in the protest, Fr Greiche said. “They are handing out food, water and drugs near the square.”

    For the priest, the military “has made too many mistakes and failed to keep too many promises. They have not been able to run the country, but they have fanned the flames of conflict between Copts and Muslims.”

    “They have relied too much on the use of force to crush demonstrations whilst failing to ensure security. Criminals and crooks released from prison after Mubarak’s fall have invaded the streets.”

    As Egyptians wait for General Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to address the nation, Egyptian newspapers are reporting that the military is preparing to replace the current government with one led by Mohamed el Baradei, head of a liberal movement and a presidential candidate.

    The new government is expected to include representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis and leftwing parties, and should remain in power until after the announcement of the results in next Monday’s election. (S.C.)
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    See also

    19/09/2011 EGYPT
    Military and Muslim Brotherhood, dangerous players in the 21 November election
    The military’s silence is a worrying sign. The young people of Tahrir Square are too divided and disorganised to play any major role in the country’s political debates.

    21/07/2011 EGYPT
    The military’s disturbing ‘no’ to international election observers
    The vote could turn into a farce in order to maintain the status quo and favour the Muslim Brotherhood. Untrained staff from the courts and bureaucracy will monitor the vote. The Supreme Council’s new election law is unconvincing. Quotas for women are dropped.

    18/11/2011 EGYPT
    Islamist parties take to the street against the military, threaten violence
    Led by the Muslim Brotherhood, thousands protested today in Tahrir Square, hurling slogans against the military, which they accuse of claiming too much power. Pro-democracy parties boycott the event because of its confrontational nature. For the spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church, Islamists are using demonstrations as “a show of force”. Salafis disrupt memorial procession for massacred Copts, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. Thirty-two people are injured.

    26/07/2011 EGYPT
    The chaos in ruling military council helping Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis
    Following clashes in Cairo on Sunday that left 298 people injured, the situation appears to be slipping out of control from the military. Ranking officer denies any rumours the Council wants to set up another authoritarian regime. For Fr Greiche, Egypt is in chaos and badly run. Many Christians and Muslims fear the country is sliding towards extremism.

    24/11/2011 EGYPT
    Neither the military nor extremists in the new Egypt, says young Copt
    Nagui Damiam talks about the renewed unity among Egyptians demonstrating in Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood is strong and well organised, but it is far from what young people want. A victory by extremists against the military would trigger a civil war with moderate forces. A Christian exodus has already started.



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