Protesters demand Shafiq government is dissolved

Yasmine Fathi , Tuesday 22 Feb 2011

Demonstrators returned to Tahrir Square Tuesday as their demands remain on the shelf and Mubarak's prime minister continues to head the interim government

Three thousand protesters gathered today in Tahrir Square to voice their anger that most of the January 25 Revolution demands have not been met.

Standing in the middle of the square, protesters held a large banner listing six “demands” they claim have not been met since former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February. The demands include the dissolving of the Ahmed Shafiq government, cancellation of the country’s state security intelligence, lifting the state of emergency, creation of a presidential council made up of two civilians and one army officer and the immediate release of all political prisoners.

The protest began at 2:00 pm and most of the protesters were gathered in the big grassy island in the middle of the square. Several army officials, including a general, visited the protesters asking them to go and insuring them that their demands will be met in time and urging people to take their complaints to the Prosecutor-General. But the protesters refused to move.

By 3:00 pm, most of the protesters had moved from the island into the street, causing traffic congestion around the square to which the military police responded by creating a cordon to stop them from proceeding further.

Protesters chanted “the people demand that the government is dissolved,” “the Shafiq government is null,” and “one, two why haven’t you met our revolutionary demands?”

“We want this government to be dissolved because it is illegitimate,” protester Azar Hasan told Ahram Online. “’It was chosen by Mubarak and as far as we are concerned he was a deposed president when he formed the new government, which means that his government is not legitimate. The revolution asked for an end to the regime as a whole, not just the president.”

However, much of the chants in the protest were aimed at Shafiq, who was sworn in with a new cabinet by Mubarak on 31 January.

“Shafiq was the prime minister when the pro-Mubarak thugs came in with their camels and attacked protesters killing many,” says protester Omar El Mahlawi referring to the day pro-Mubarak thugs attacked protesters in Tahrir on 2 February. “This man does not understand the revolution or else he would have protected the protesters.”

Other protesters demanded to know why Mubarak is still in Sharm El Sheikh and has not left the country.

“Why is he in Sharm and not Suez or Alexandria?" asked protester Ahmed Ibrahim. “It’s because he wants to be near Israel and they are helping him create a counter revolution, but we are not sleeping, we are alert and we know what he is planning.”

Mohamed Abdel Khaleq is angry because his ten year old son developed a severe chest infection during the January 25 protests, when a tear gas canister exploded near him.

“I don’t want Mubarak to leave the country, I want him to be tried for his crimes against humanity and I won’t stop protesting until he is,” says Khaleq.

A Facebook page had called for millions of protesters to hit the square today to demand that the government is dissolved. However, after three officers from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces appeared yesterday with Egyptian media personality Mona El Shazly and insured Egyptians that their demands will be met and that there is no chance of Mubarak or his family regaining power, the Facebook group changed the page title to “thank you to the supreme council and tomorrow a solidarity protest with Libya and a million people protest if our demands are not met.”

The change brought a lot of wrath from protesters who still insisted on going to Tahrir to ask that the demands of the revolution are all met.

The protesters supporting Libya held a demonstration next to the anti-government protest, chanting “Egypt and Libya are one hand,” and “Gaddafi your time has come.”

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