Several thousand demonstrators marched to the parliament building on "Determination Tuesday," demanding the immediate handover of power from the military council to a civilian government. The marches also had a number of other demands related to Egypt’s democratic transition and social welfare.
Instead of reaching parliament the march was, however, met by hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood loyalists who claimed anti-revolution gangs were threatening to destroy the parliament’s headquarters.
A banner, several metres long, was carried by protesters. On the banner six main demands were listed, including an immediate handover of power, fair retribution, a consensus committee to draft the new constitution, a minimum wage, the restructuring of the ministry of interior and the independence of the judiciary.
"Say it out loud, power has to be handed over,” shouted the protesters. Demonstrators also chanted for the freedom of Ahmed Doma, a detained activist who is accused of involvement in clashes which erupted last December earlier between military forces and protesters in front of the Cabinet building.
As demonstrators were about to reach parliament’s headquarters, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members blocked their way, in the form of human shields. Demonstrators’ chants quickly switched from attacking the military to a criticism of the Brotherhood, accusing them of "selling out the revolution".
"Sell the revolution, Badie," chanted the demonstrators, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood’s General Guide Mohamed Badie.
“The demonstration was heading to parliament to put forth its demands, including an immediate handover of power, but the Muslim Brotherhood blocked their way because they made a deal with the military council," said demonstrator Abdallah Abd El-Rahman.
"The Muslim Brotherhood took the parliament and hence the government, which they will soon be forming, and in return will guarantee that the military council maintains its privileges. In short they [the Brotherhood] took what they wanted and to them the revolution now is over."
Demonstrators handed out stickers reading "put them on trial,” showing a military cap to refer to the members of the military council. Following clashes which erupted between demonstrators and security forces in front of the ministry of interior in November and again in front of the Cabinet in December, leading to the deaths of dozens of protesters, activists have been calling for retribution not only from former regime figures but also from ruling military council members.
As chants against the Brotherhood grew louder, a women’s march came to the forefront of the demonstration in an attempt to act as a buffer zone between protesters and Brotherhood members. However, one of the women in the march, Heba Ghanam, says their attempt failed when Muslim Brotherhood members surrounding parliament attacked the women as well when they saw them approaching.
On the other hand, Muslim Brotherhood member Ibrahim Mohamed, one of those who were blocking the way of the demonstration said that: “Some people here want to destroy parliament because they are against the revolution. Since the evening they have been cursing and throwing stones.”
Mohamed also claims some may even have Molotov cocktails and insists “since security forces are not protecting all streets leading to parliament, it's normal for the Muslim Brotherhood to take up security’s role, as it did before in Tahrir by forming popular committees.”
Although the demonstration was initially called for by several political groups, which declared in a published statement that the aim was to put forward demands to parliament, Brotherhood members insisted that parliament, which is dominated by their political wing the Freedom and Justice Party, was under threat of attack.
Meanwhile, demonstrators continued to chant: “Wake up revolution and realise that the Muslim Brotherhood have now become the Central Security Forces,” in reference to the infamous Mubarak police which clamped down on protesters.
The Brotherhood eventually withdrew as the parliamentary session came to an end. This is, however, not the first demonstration to chant against the Muslim Brotherhood. On Friday, thousands also chanted: “No to military and no to the Muslim Brotherhood,” claiming the Brotherhood had sold out the revolution’s demands.