Egypt Islamists demand the end of military rule

The New York Times reports: Tens of thousands of Islamists jammed Tahrir Square on Friday, demanding the swift exit of Egypt’s interim military rulers in the most significant challenge to their authority since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak nine months ago.

The huge turnout was the first time that Egypt’s Islamists had so openly and aggressively challenged military rule, ending an uneasy truce that had prevailed as long as the military appeared willing to allow the Islamists as much of a say in Egypt’s future as they could win at the ballot box.

That truce fell apart, on the eve of parliamentary elections, after the military council spelled out for the first time its intention to preserve a decisive role for itself in Egyptian politics far into the future, elevating itself above civilian control and imposing rules to protect individual and minority rights. And after sitting out many of the protests organized by liberals since Mr. Mubarak’s ouster, Islamists took to the streets on Friday in a fierce backlash.

“The people didn’t sacrifice hundreds of lives in the revolution so that the military would jump over their will,” said Mohamed Ibrahim, a teacher at a religious school who traveled from Mansoura, about 75 miles away, to attend. “If they can do that, what is the point of parliamentary elections?”

The rally represented the beginning of a new battle between Egypt’s two most powerful political forces, the military and the once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, that leaves Egyptian liberals and leftists anxious and divided on the sidelines.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reports: A number of political forces and intellectuals have prepared a lengthy memorandum that includes a drastically reformed plan for the remainder of Egypt’s transitional period.

Al-Masry Al-Youm has obtained a copy of the document, which the drafters said they will submit to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) within days.

The memorandum suggests postponing parliamentary elections, and in their place forming a “national rescue cabinet,” having Egyptians elect a constituent assembly to draft the new constitution, holding presidential elections and fully transferring power to a civilian government. After all this, the memorandum reads, parliamentary elections should be held in accordance with the laws set out in the new constitution.

Among those involved in drafting the memorandum were former President of the Democratic Front Party Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei, Coordinator of the National Association for Change Abdel Galil Mostafa, writer Alaa al-Aswany and journalist Sakina Fouad.

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