- Middle East/North Africa
Tens of thousands of protesters gathering in Tahrir Square Friday continued to demand the prosecution of ousted President Hosni Mubarak in what participants and observers judged to be the largest gathering since Mubarak resigned.
On what they dubbed the “Friday of Cleansing,” protesters criticized the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for not following through on revolution demands.
With many of their previous demands met, protesters are still calling for the resignation of remaining regime figures, including Cairo Governor Abdel Azim Wazir. They also called for the removal of Egypt’s public prosecutor because they are unhappy with the slow pace of investigations of corrupt former officials. They hoisted banners that read, “Slow justice is injustice.”
Many Mubarak-era officials have been on trial for over a month, while others have yet to be arrested.
Imam Safwat Hegazy led the afternoon sermon and the voices of the masses filled the square as they prayed for the downfall of oppressors and victory for all Arab people.
In addition to their own flags and slogans, those gathered in the square also raised the flags of Libya, Yemen and Syria to show their support for uprisings in those countries.
People began to march to the square after Friday prayers from Shubra, Giza and Dokki, as others were bussed in from Fayoum, Sharqiya and other governorates. Students from various universities also gathered at Cairo University, marching toward Tahrir to draw attention to their calls for new university administrators.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was notably absent from last Friday’s protest, came out in force this week and took control of the main stage.
Some of the square’s revolution rituals that had been missing from recent protests were restored, including the civilian committees in place at the square’s entrances to search protesters as they entered.
While there was little police or military presence in the square, a helicopter circled overhead.
Large protests also took place outside of Cairo in governorates including Suez and Alexandria.
Some protesters spent Thursday night in Tahrir Square, a practice that has waned as the military evacuated the square in earlier weeks. Others announced their intention to protest not only on Fridays, as has become the ritual, but until Mubarak is brought to trial.