Ahrar demonstrate against military in downtown Cairo

Ahram Online, Wednesday 22 Jan 2014

The youth group affiliated with Salafist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail protested against army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi

Ahrar demonstrate in Downtown Cairo's Talaat Harb Square (Photo:Bassem Abo El-Abbas)

A few hundred members of the Ahrar youth group affiliated with Islamist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail took the street on Wednesday to demonstrate against the military.

"We are not Brotherhood nor do we want Morsi but Sisi should give up the chair" the youthful crowd chanted as they waved flares.

Calls have been recently made by supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to demonstrate on the January 25 anniversary, urging him to run for the presidency.

"The people want the fall of the regime," the young protesters also chanted.

Security forces sealed off Tahrir Square in anticipation of the crowd moving from nearby Talaat Harb Square.

A few held signs representing the Rabaa sit-in that demanded the reinstatement of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. The Rabaa sit-in was dispersed on 14 August, leaving hundreds killed.

Ahrar was formed by young supporters of Salafist preacher Abu-Ismail, who also campaigned against military rule during the period in which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces took power following Hosni Mubarak's ouster. Abu-Ismail and his supporters positioned themselves as more "revolutionary" than the Muslim Brotherhood, which they accused of striking a deal with the military.

 Abu-Ismail was disqualified from the presidential race that brought Morsi to power in June 2012 after reports that his late mother had a US passport.

Ahrar were against the 30 June protests calling for early presidential elections and the ouster of Morsi on 3 July. They also protested against Morsi's opponents and often clashed with them.  

Abu-Ismail is currently in detention on accusations of inciting violence and insulting the judiciary.

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