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Egyptian activists are agitated by a video clip that aired on state-run TV Monday, showing the head of the country's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, walking plain clothed in downtown Cairo.
State-run newspaper Al-Ahram journalist Gamal Zayda, speaking on the program Mubasher Men Misr (Live from Egypt), which played the video at 10 pm Monday night, said Tantawi's tour proves he is suitable as a civilian president for Egypt.
Walking around on foot, Tantawi shook hands and had brief conversations with citizens, while other passersby took photographs of him with mobile phone cameras.
Some political activists, though, expressed disapproval with the idea of Tantawi's presidency on Twitter and Facebook. They also slammed state TV for reverting to its old habit of sanctifying state officials.
The activists said the video aims to polish Tantawi's image as a potential president when he retires from the military. On a Facebook page titled "No SCAF,” they said such a move would violate the SCAF's pledge to hand over power to an elected civilian government.
Author Bilal Fadl mocked the video on his Twitter account. “Congratulations for the new civilian suit. As for the presidency, if you, sir, really love Egypt, forget about it.”
Political and revolutionary groups have been pushing the SCAF to declare a timetable for transferring power, rejecting the idea of a military president.
Tantawi’s popularity has been shaken by reports that he testified on Saturday in favor of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who is currently being tried on charges of ordering the murder of pro-democracy protesters during the January uprising.
Translated from the Arabic Edition