The release of more than 600 senior police officers from duty dominates the headlines of Thursday’s state-owned and independent newspapers.
In an attempt to appease the public, the interior minister announced Wednesday the dismissal of 550 generals and 82 brigadiers, meeting one of protesters' main demands, writes independent paper Al-Dostour. The independent daily highlights that 37 of the officers are accused of killing protesters during the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
Al-Dostour also reports on the reopening of the Mugamma, the city’s largest government building, which large groups of protesters have blocked for six days as they demand speedier trials for Mubarak and former officials. A smaller number of protesters are continuing the sit-in to step up pressure on the state to meet other key demands, the paper writes.
State-owned Al-Ahram writes about a surprise announcement that parliamentary elections will be postponed for up to two months after tentatively being scheduled for September.
“The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) abides by its constitutional declaration, which stipulates that the procedures of the parliament’s elections will begin before the end of September,” the state-run paper quotes a military official. However, the military appears to be interpreting this to mean that it has fulfilled its mandate as long as voter and candidate registration or other administrative procedures begin before the end of September.
In his op-ed, Gamil Matar writes in the independent Al-Shorouk that Egyptians have been confused since the revolution's outbreak and have failed to reach consensus on the country's future. He lists the main factors he believes stand in the way of reform, including the incapability of revolutionaries to “play harmonic symphony” to get through the transitional phase.
Al-Dostour allocates two pages to the detailed questioning of Mubarak on corruption accusations. Mubarak reportedly denied involvement in setting natural gas export prices for Israel, saying the committee which had set the prices should be questioned over the matter. He also denied involvement in killing protesters, misusing his authority, taking bribes and wasting public fund.
When asked about his close relation with prominent businessman Hussein Salem, Mubarak said, “I met him once in America while holding office as vice president…he is just like any other businessmen I dealt with.”
State-owned Al-Akhbar writes that the stock market saw a significant boost Wednesday when the EGX20 benchmark index jumped 2.4 percent after the market also regained LE6 billion of its previous losses this week. The boost has reportedly been attributed to increased investor confidence following the SCAF's recent statement outlining clearer plans for the transition to a civilian government.
Mahmoud Nafaa, editor-in-chief of state-run Al-Gomhurriya, sharply criticizes Sharaf’s policy of governing the country, accusing him of following the steps of the previous corrupt regime and questioning whether the prime minister has the capability to meet protesters' demands.
“This turns us back to the old memories of the toppled regime which used to have all capabilities but never… gave something to people,” he writes
He blames Sharaf and his cabinet for responding to popular demands only after renewed protests added pressure. He also says Sharaf's slow actions forced people to waste their time and effort in protest.