Friday, September 9, 2011

Thousands turn out in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand reforms: Arab Spring now the Arab Autumn

Thousands of Egyptians converged on Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to demand reforms in a turnout dubbed "correcting the path of the revolution."

Protesters -- who gathered in a festive atmosphere -- are critical of the performance of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the government after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power in February.

The Interior Ministry announced on Thursday the square would be cleared of police and soldiers for 24 hours to allow for a smooth protest. Its forces will intervene, however, if government or public property is destroyed.

"We cleared the square to avoid any confrontations but we expect violence within the groups and hope thugs don't take advantage of the situation," said Lt. Col. Amr Imam, armed forces spokesman.

Protesters want military tribunals abolished, the establishment of minimum and maximum wages, permitting Egyptians abroad to vote in the coming elections, and announcing specific dates for those elections.

They are also calling for the removal of former ruling party members from banks, schools, universities and government institutions. more