Thousands of Egyptians filled Tahrir Square on Friday morning to protest the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' (SCAF) recent changes to the law regulating parliamentary elections and demand the council transfer power to a civilian authority. The protest was dubbed the “Friday of Reclaiming the Revolution.”
Popular committees of youths were formed to secure the square's entrances and regulate traffic, which they diverted to alternative routes.
“We have been deceived by Sharaf, we considered him one of the revolutionaries and he turned out to be one of the remnants of the [Mubarak] regime,” said a retired man present at the protest, adding that Sharaf up until now has not shown any signs indicating he supports the revolution's demands.
“He either has his hands tied or approves of what is happening,” the man continued.
"We still feel aggrieved and we are still exposed to police violations. The police officers at Sahel police station harass us during work. They confiscate my motorcycle giving flimsy reasons, which means that I always have to pay high fines and bribes later on for them to release it," said Mostafa, 20, who works as a delivery man at a restaurant in Shubra. He added that delivery men are constantly subjected to police insults while they work.
Political forces present at the Friday protest included the National Association for Change, April 6 Youth Movement, Second Friday of Anger, Democratic Coalition, 25 January Revolution Youth Coalition, Union of Revolutionary Youth, Wafd Party, Tagammu Party, Wasat Party, Adl Party, Karama Party, Egyptian Communist Party, and Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh presidential campaign, among others.
Islamist political forces, however, were divided on whether to participate in the protest. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Jama'a al-Islamiya, Salafi Movement in Alexandria, and Nour Party all announced they were boycotting the protest. On the other hand, the Salafi Front, Fadila Party, Islah Party, Asala Party, Nahda Party, Tahrir al-Masry Party, Soat al-Horreya Party, Coalition of Support for New Muslims, and Hazem Abu Ismail presidential campaign announced they would participate in the protest.
The National Association for Change said that the protest is the first step toward escalating with the SCAF, and that it plans to hold a meeting with other political forces next Sunday to arrange another million-strong demonstration on 7 October.
The Wafd Party called on all its members in various governorates to head to Tahrir Square.
The Second Friday of Anger organization said in a statement they will stage daily marches in poor areas in case the SCAF does not meet the demands of revolution. They also said they will announce their non-recognition of the legitimacy of the SCAF government and stage a sit-in in front of the Defense Ministry starting on 7 October.
The Union of Revolutionary Youth, which is made up of 18 political parties and movements, said participating in the protest is a “revolutionary duty."
The April 6 Youth Movement said they will give the SCAF a one-week window to meet their demands, and then begin escalating protests if they do not respond.
Protesters are demanding the use of a total list-based candidacy system in the upcoming parliamentary elections, going against the new elections law's allocation of 30 percent of parliamentary seats for single candidates. They are also requesting the abolishment of the Emergency Law, cancellation of military trials for civilians, announcement of a timeline to hand over power to civilians, cancellation of Article 5 of the Constitutional Declaration, and activation of the Treachery Law to ban members of the dissolved National Democratic Party from engaging in politics.
Translated from the Arabic Edition