Egypt political forces meet to `protect revolution`

Egypt has been gripped by insecurity since Mubarak`s overthrow.

Cairo: Hundreds of Egyptian political
figures, scholars and activists gathered in Cairo on Saturday, in
the biggest post-revolt meeting of political forces aimed at
"protecting the revolution."

Over 2,000 participants turned up at a large hall for
the meeting, dubbed "Egypt`s First Conference: The people
protect the revolution."

The conference organised by renowned Egyptian
engineer and social activist Mamduh Hamza aims to elect a
"National Council" of 60 members who plan to work with
authorities to map out Egypt`s future, organisers said.

Egypt has been going through a fragile transition phase since
a popular uprising toppled veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak on
February 11 and saw power transfered to a military council.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has vowed to
pave the way for a free democratic system, but it has come
under criticism for its slow pace of reform and alleged rights

Since Mubarak`s overthrow, the country has been
gripped by insecurity and sectarian unrest, amid -- by the
government`s admission -- a "counter-revolution" by remnants
of the old regime aimed at sowing chaos.

Saturday`s conference, which also groups workers,
farmers and youth groups that helped launch the revolt, aims
to form a council that will be the "main voice of the
revolution and potentially a main driver in the transitional
phase," Ihab Hamdy said.

Mubarak is currently under arrest in a hospital in the
Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, but his two sons Alaa and
Gamal are in jail with a host of former ministers and
businessmen affiliated with the old regime, detained as part
of a sweeping probe into corruption.

On Thursday, the once feared Egyptian interior
minister Habib al-Adly was sentenced to 12 years for
money-laundering in the first trial of an official from the
Mubarak regime.