Secular activists who helped oust President Hosni Mubarak in February called for the protests they billed as “Correcting the Path”. The demonstrations could give a sign of popular sentiment towards the ruling military council since ousted President Hosni Mubarak went on trial last month.
Islamists, including the political party set up by the Muslim Brotherhood — Egypt’s best organised political force after the dissolution of Mubarak’s National democratic Party — have distanced themselves from the planned protests.
Many Egyptians complain that they have yet to see real fruits of the uprising in which some 850 died. Some say they fear the new military rulers are secretly plotting to stay in control behind the scenes after parliamentary and presidential elections the army has promised to hold by the end of 2011.
Thousands of Egyptians camped in Tahrir Square for weeks in July to push for faster political reforms and to speed up trials of Mubarak and aides for killing demonstrators. Security forces have since moved in to end the protests and stationed policemen in the square, epicentre of the uprising that ousted Mubarak.
The ruling military council, which took over after Mubarak stepped down, said in a statement on its Facebook page it would allow peaceful protests. The Interior Ministry said it was clearing police from the square for 24 hours from midnight to let Friday’s protests proceed peacefully.
However, the ruling military council said it would not tolerate any assault on any public facilities.
Activists say more than 30 groups and political parties have will attend the protest.
The Democratic Front party, set up by activists who ousted Mubarak after the uprising, said it will demand that Egypt’s military rulers prepare a “comprehensive timetable that will spell out the steps for the interim period, starting with the presidential elections”.
Presidential hopeful Mohammed el-Baradei, former head of the international atomic watchdog the IAEA, said Egyptians were entitled to demonstrate peacefully, especially since many of their demands have yet to be realised.
But Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party set up by the Muslim Brotherhood to contest parliamentary elections scheduled for November, suggested it was not yet time for more demonstrations because previous protests had already brought some results.
“In case they are not achieved, then we return to the square,” he said. Reuters