Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tahrir Square protesters defy army to keep Egypt's revolution alive

Barak: "That's my man now! I say sit and he sits!"

Focus now on push for a civilian-led interim government and removal of emergency laws that permit detention without trial

Chris McGreal in Cairo and Julian Borger, Sunday 13 February 2011

".....Shalkami was having none of it.

"The rest of the revolution is not complete. Since the beginning of the revolution we have trusted our army but if we leave the square our revolution will die. We must keep the revolution alive so that we get the 100% freedom we are asking for," he said.

Shalkami is among a few hundred protesters who have remained in Tahrir Square to keep pressure on the military to meet the demands of the demonstrators, which went beyond Mubarak's removal.

The army has promised free elections in a few months and said it will lift the hated state of emergency when the security situation allows [It sounds just like Omar Shlomo!]. It has also dismissed the widely discredited parliament elected last year in a tainted ballot.....

But just to remind the army, a victory celebration is planned for Tahrir Square on Friday at which organisers of the protests plan to announce a "council of trustees" to – as Ronald Reagan put it in negotiating nuclear missile treaties with the Soviets – trust but verify.

Nothing Egypt's military council has done in its past suggests it has the capacity or inclination to introduce speedy and radical change. Guaranteed its $1.3bn annual grant from the US – a dividend from the Camp David peace accord with Israel – it has gained a reputation as a hidebound institution with little appetite for reform.

The frustration of the military's US benefactors shines through in leaked embassy cables, in which the criticism is focused mostly on the man at the top, 75-year-old Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi. A March 2008 cable described Tantawi as "aged and change-resistant".

It said: "Charming and courtly, he is nonetheless mired in a post-Camp David military paradigm that has served his cohort's narrow interests for the last three decades. He and Mubarak are focused on regime stability and maintaining the status quo through the end of their time. They simply do not have the energy, inclination or world view to do anything differently.""

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