‘Self Determination Friday’ again underscores divisions within Egyptian opposition

Posted on | april 22, 2012 | No Comments

Poster on Tahrir: ''No to the remnants' (of the former regime) with portraits of the presidential candidates Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister (r), and Amr Moussa, a former minister of foreign affairs. (Photo Daily News Egypt)

Tens of thousands (some say more than 100.000) demonstrated on Friday on Tahrir Square in Cairo against military rule and for a handover of power to civilian rule. The presence of Islamists like the Muslim Brothers and Salafists was heavily dominant, but ‘civil’ forces like the April 6 Movement and some liberal parties were also present. The participants made demands that went roughly in the same direction, but differed in the details. Al Ahram Online wrote – under the telling headline: On ‘Self-Determination Friday’ Egyptian political forces unite…somewhat’:

Various demands were made from the approximately nine stages set up in the square from every spectra, including the liberal April 6 movement, the National Association for Change, Salafist Hazem Salah Abu Ismail supporters and a joint Mostameroon Movement (best to be translated by: Movement of those who don’t give up). Most banners on the different podiums addressed getting rid of former regime figures, primarily, presidential candidates military man, Ahmed Shafiq and ex-Arab League chief, Amr Moussa.One of the demands was the retreat of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) from the political scene and the importance of drafting a representative constitution. Abu Ismail posters and banners flooded the square as if he was yet a presidential contender, despite having been eliminated from the race by the Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) a week ago. Another popular banner that was for the first time seen in Tahrir read: “Rigging will take place; Mubarak’s council continues to rule,” next to pictures of different SPEC judges.  Liberal MP Amr Hamzawy addressed the protesters, demanding that the remnants of the former regime truly be purged from Egypt’s politics within the upcoming period.He further lambasted the Muslim Brotherhood for its “un-revolutionary” stances in the recent period and called on the group to withdraw its presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi. In response a number of Brotherhood supporters in the square expressed their disagreement by claiming that the majority of the protesters are actually from Islamist forces.

Pro-reform Kefaya movement activist Karima Hefnawi stressed on the current constitutional crisis and the need for all forces within society to work towards ensuring that a truly representative constituent assembly is created, in order to allow for a truly legitimate constitution to be formed.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters, who had flooded the square on buses from around different governorates late Thursday and early Friday, started exiting the square after 4:00pm. Friday a week ago Islamists held a demonstration in which they protested the nominations of figures of the old regime in the presidential election. This week they returned to the street mainly because the Presidential Election Committee rejected their candidates, according to the cricticism of ‘civil’ figures, who reproach the Islamists that they use the revolution only in order to fulfill their own goals. Now the Islamists also demand the cancellation of  Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration that gives immunity to the decisions of the Presidential Elections Committee.

AUTHOR: Martin Hijmans
URL: http://the-pessoptimist.blogspot.com/
E-MAIL: m.hijmans [at] planet.nl


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