As tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered Wednesday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, some 3,000 prisoners were freed Wednesday following orders by the military junta.
This came as Egypt marked the first anniversary of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Islamists, liberals, leftists and ordinary citizens crowded the square which became the symbol of the revolution, in downtown Cairo.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (AFSC), who rules Egypt since Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011, said Tuesday he plans to lift the emergency rule in effect for decades, except in cases of violence committed by “rogue”. Politicians said this was a very vague definition and voiced fears that it will continue to be used. The Human Rights Watch organization conveyed that the partial lifting, which took effect Wednesday, was an “invitation for further abuse.”
The release of the prisoners is one of the concessions made by Tantawi on the occasion of the anniversary of the revolt, in an apparent attempt to calm activists who demand the military to delegate its powers to a civil rule.