By Ria Novosti
Thousands gathered on Tahrir square in Cairo on Friday, to demand that the interim authorities speed up the transition of power.
The “Correct the Path” rally organized by the Revolution’s Youth Union (RYU) began shortly after Friday prayers. The protestors demand that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) lay down a clear plan for the transition to democratically elected authorities and an end to military trials for civilians.
Rights activists estimate that around 12,000 Egyptians face military trials for expressing opinions that anger the SCAF. The defendant in a military trial often has no legal representation and has no right to appeal the verdict.
But Gen. Adel al-Morsy, head of the military judicial committee, said the practice of trying civilians in military courts was normal in a country that is still recovering from a major political upheaval.
“Many have misused their freedom to write slurs and insults targeting the military and the SCAF and that is not acceptable and deserves a slander trial in court,” he said.
The Egyptian youth movement is also set to demand the resignation of Interior Minister Mansur al-Isavi and reform of the ministry which “is failing to fulfill its mission of maintaining order and security in the country.”
Among other demands are amendments to the law on elections and the party system.
The police and military left the square during the rally, laying responsibility for the safety of the public on the event organizers. Thirty-three ambulances and two mobile intensive care units were deployed in the area.
The SCAF warned that any aggression against the police or military would be treated as a threat to national security and that any provocation would meet a crushing response.
“We promise the protest will continue to be peaceful. All protesters are urged to avoid causing chaos or sabotage. Nor should they permit any saboteurs to infiltrate their ranks,” The Egyptian Gazette quoted a statement from the organizers as saying.
The rally was snubbed by several influential opposition movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafists and the Al-Wafd liberal party.
However, it was attended by a well-known blogger Wael Ghonim, whose Facebook page is credited with helping to trigger the February uprising.