Mass protests in support of '8 April officers' called for Friday

Ahram Online, Friday 7 Sep 2012

Revolutionary groups call for protests to demand release of military officers jailed for joining anti-SCAF demo, say they reject statements claiming SCAF played no role in killing of protesters after ousting of Hosni Mubarak

A number of marches calling for the release of the '8 April officers', a group of military officers jailed for joining an anti-military council sit-in in April 2011, will begin at various mosques in Cairo and head to Talaat Harb Square on Friday.

The protests are also calling for a number of current and former members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to face trial for violations committed after they took power in February 2011.

Groups calling for the protests include the 8 April Officers movement, the April 6 Youth Movement and the Second Revolution of Rage group.

"We refuse to give the military a safe exit and refuse all the statements hinting that military officials were not responsible for killing protesters between 11 February 2011, when Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power, and the end of June 2012, when power was handed over to the new president," April 6 Youth Movement member Mahmoud Afifi told the Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

Similar demonstrations are planned in Minya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Alexandria, Beni Suef, Ismailia, Gharbiya and Sharqiya.

On 8 April 2011, a group of officers, now dubbed the '8 April officers'  joined a demonstration against military rule in Tahrir Square. The million-man demonstration – dubbed 'the Friday of Purging' – saw protesters condemn Egypt's then ruling SCAF.

The officers who joined the protests were either arrested shortly afterward or handed themselves over to military authorities.

Several groups have since been formed to demand their release.

The call for Friday's protests came after the recent online release of a new video in which Mohamed Wadie, one of the 22 officers detained, claimed that 21 of his colleagues had already been released, leaving him languishing in prison alone. Since their release, the officers have been attending a rehabilitation programme, he stated.

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