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.
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