Conflict & Justice

Egyptians stage mass rallies against military rulers


An Egyptian flag is painted on the trunk of a tree in Cairo on Feb. 14, 2011, three days after the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

In Egypt, tens of thousands of protesters on Friday gathered in Cairo and Alexandria for a mass rally to push the county's military rulers to hand over power to a civilian government.

Islamist and secular protesters also want greater control over the constitution the parliament is set to draft.

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They are calling for the withdrawal of a document that declares the military the guardian of "constitutional legitimacy," which would give the military final say on military related matters, and shield its budget from public scrutiny, Agence France Presse reported.

Al Jazeera's Cairo correspondent, Sherine Tadros, said:

"People are saying there has been no referendum on this document, and are asking why it is being imposed before the upcoming elections ... They see this as the military trying to impose their rule."

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party led the call for the protest, saying the document reinforces "dictatorship."

Egypt's legislative elections, the first since a popular uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February, are to begin on November 28. They are expected to end in March.

The protest was officially due to start after Muslim prayers and midday, but crowds began turning out much earlier in the morning, Al Jazeera reported.

A host of secular groups were to march from Cairo's Mohandesseen neighborhood, to Tahrir Square, where tents are being set up, to demand Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to hand power to a civilian president by April 2012.

Meanwhile in Egypt's second city of Alexandria, thousands of people were set to march, after Friday prayers, towards the city's military base.