Nineteen different political and cultural movements released a statement on Monday calling for a million-man march in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, 23 December, to protest military rule. The various groups are urging all factions to set aside their political differences and rally under the single slogan, “Down with military rule.”
The statement stressed that the aim of the proposed Friday demonstration was to “regain the nation’s honour,” which had been tarnished by the military following the February departure of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.
Thirteen civilians have been killed so far and more than 500 injured following four days of clashes outside Egypt’s Cabinet building in downtown Cairo between security forces and protesters who demand an end to military rule.
The statement condemned what it described as “lies” by Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), adding that – despite video footage clearly depicting crimes perpetrated by military personnel – the SCAF had continued to deny responsibility for its actions and blame ongoing violence on a “third party.”
Activists, for their part, hold the SCAF responsible for the mounting death toll outside the Cabinet building, accusing military personnel of starting a fire that partially destroyed a nearby scientific institute housing tens of thousands of rare manuscripts.
The call for the Friday demonstrations was jointly issued by the Democratic Front for Peaceful Change; the Arab Revolutionary Youth movement; the Revolutionary Artists Coalition; the Maspero Youth Coalition; the National Council for Popular Committees; the Egyptian Front for Culture and Change; the Coalition of Revolutionary Forces; the Free Revolutionary Movement; the National Salvation Front; the Youth for the Independence of Al-Azhar movement; the Maspero Media Revolutionaries; the National Agreement; the Suez Youth Bloc; the Alexandria Revolution Board of Trustees; the Youth of the Square movement; the Matrouh Youth Movement for Change; the Revolutionary Popular Front; and the January 25 Coalition.