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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cairo protesters rally to square

Cairo protesters rally to square

22nd November 2011
Egyptians have responded to a call for a mass protest by flowing on to Tahrir Square as calls continued for the country's military rulers to step down.
Activists hope to increase numbers with a demonstration to bolster popular support for a "second revolution" despite bloodshed that has left at least 29 people dead.
Security forces stayed away from the square since to avoid confrontations after several failed efforts to clear the area in central Cairo turned violent. But clashes broke out in streets connecting Tahrir Square to police headquarters, with black-clad security forces backed by military troops firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets to block groups of men, who responded by hurling stones and fire bombs.
The two sides have been engaged in intense clashes since the unrest began on Saturday with protesters trying to force out the generals who have failed to stabilise the country, salvage the economy or bring democracy more than nine months after taking the reins from deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.
In many ways, the protests bear a striking resemblance to the 18-day uprising beginning on January 25 that toppled Mubarak. The chants are identical, except that military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi's name has replaced Mubarak's.
Hundreds of protesters arrived early to join several thousand who have been camping on Tahrir Square, sleeping in tents or on the grass rolled up in blankets despite efforts by police to clear the area. The crowds hoisted a giant Egyptian flag and chanted slogans demanding the generals immediately step down in favour of a presidential civilian council.
The rally, dubbed "Egypt's Salvation," came a day after the civilian Cabinet submitted its resignation to the military council, a move that had been widely expected given the government's perceived inefficiency and its almost complete subordination to the generals. The ruling military council gave no word if the offer had been accepted, but regardless, it failed to satisfy the protesters.
The clashes came few days before the country's first parliamentary elections since Mubarak was forced to step down. Fears were high that the turmoil would disrupt elections due to begin on November 28.
Amnesty International harshly criticised the military rulers in a new report, saying they have "completely failed to live up their promises to Egyptians to improve human rights."
The group documented steps by the military that have fallen short of increasing human rights and in some cases have made matters worse than under Mubarak.

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