New PM for Egypt does not sate Tahrir Square protests | Print |
Written by Kate Foster   
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 14:17

Revolution is necessary to bring about fundamental change to Egypt’s governing body, according to James Reilly, professor of Middle East history at University of Toronto.

The death toll resulting from protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square has exceeded 40 now, according to the BBC. Mass rallies took place Friday protesting the military holding any governing power, despite the military council’s promise to transition control to civilians.

Friday’s official appointment of Kamel el-Ganzoury as Prime Minister did not sedate the protestors, and demonstrations surged on.

Reilly said he feels the military offering an election next week is not going to be enough for the protestors. They recognize the need “to reach broader segments of society and bring about something resembling a general strike” to take down military rule, according to Reilly.

Protestors in Friday’s rally claim they will not leave until the military council has given up their power. Meanwhile protests against those in Tahrir Square rallied in Abbasiya Square, outside of Cairo’s defence ministry building, to defend the current government, according to the BBC.

“The demonstrations and protests last January got rid of Mubarak and his inner circle, but it didn’t really dislodge the regime,” Reilly said. “The regime is still in place, it’s represented by the military.

“There’s a lot at stake in the coming days.”

The BBC said the mistrust of the government is so strong that the protestors must have tangible, immediate change in order to end the demonstrations. Friday’s rallies are being called the “last chance” for the transfer of power to occur.

Tahrir Square demonstrators have seen substantial support.

The United States stands behind Tahrir Square, and in a statement from the White House, stressed the need for democracy to continue.

“Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible,” according to the White House’s statement.

The protestors have also seen support from the highest authority of Sunni Islam, according to the BBC.

The BBC said Hassan Shafie, a senior aide to the grand imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque, broadcast the message, “The grand imam backs you and is praying for your victory,” on a local television station in Cairo.

Reilly said this current movement is like a second revolution for Egypt, and is what is needed to change the basic issue of having a military-based government.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air right now.”

The following Reuters video clip shows a prayer taking place during the protests in Tahrir Square on Friday.

With files from Katie O'Connor.

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