Egypt revolutionary groups call for Friday push on defence ministry

Ekram Ibrahim , Thursday 9 Feb 2012

Ten different protest marches are expected to converge on Egypt's defence ministry Friday to demand immediate transfer of power to civil authority

Abbasiya march 2011
Anti-SCAF protesters march on the Ministry of Defense from Tahrir Square on 24 July 2011

Forty Egyptian revolutionary parties and movements are planning to march on the defense ministry in Cairo's Abbasiya district on Friday to demand the immediate handover of power from Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to a civil authority.

Anti-SCAF activists also blame the military council for its failure to prevent last week's deadly football violence in Port Said, which left more than 70 football fans dead and hundreds injured.

A total of ten different marches are slated to set out for the ministry after Friday prayers (around 1pm) from the following locations: Youssef Al-Sahabi Mosque in Hegaz Square; Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City; Matariya Square, Alf Maskan Square and Sheikh Mosque in Hadayek Al-Kobba; Cleopatra Church in Heliopolis; Al-Fath Mosque in Ramses Square; Al-Khazindar Mosque in Shubra; Orabi Bridge in Shubra Al-Kheima; and Al-Nedir Mosque in Al-Zawiya Al-Hamra.

The Revolution Youth Coalition (RYC) has also declared its intention to take part in the planned marches. While stressing their respect for Egypt's armed forces, RYC spokesmen say the event's chief objective is to force the military to cede authority to a civilian administration in light of its role in the recent killing of anti-SCAF protesters.

According to the RYC, the military has resorted to "illegal methods" of thwarting outstanding revolutionary demands.

The series of marches comes one day before a planned general strike to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak relinquished presidential authority to the SCAF on 11 February of last year.

The Egypt Revolutionaries' Alliance, which consists of over 50 political groups including the country’s six most prominent revolutionary movements, along with university students and independent labour unions, are also calling for a three-day general strike beginning on Saturday.

Among the political groups taking part in the planned strike are the 25 January Revolution Youth Coalition, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Youth for Freedom and Justice Movement, the Revolution Youth Union, the moderate-Islamist Wasat Party and the Ghad Al-Thawra Party. The Egyptian Cinema Syndicate and a handful of Coptic-Christian groups, including the Maspero Revolutionaries, have also announced their intention to take part.

A planned anti-SCAF march on the defence ministry in July of last year was thwarted when military police sealed all entrances to Cairo's Abbasiya district, eventually leading to limited clashes between protesters and security forces.

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