Egyptians brace for mass rally

Egyptian activists on Friday braced for a mass rally against the ruling military`s handling of anti-regime protests that killed 17 people.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2011, 16:05 PM IST

Cairo: Egyptian activists on Friday braced for a
mass rally against the ruling military`s handling of
anti-regime protests that killed 17 people, amid calls by
Premier Kamal Ganzoury for a national dialogue to resolve the
political crisis.

Calls have been propagated on social networks Facebook
and Twitter for the march, dubbed the "Friday of Restoring
Honour," to demand the military hold accountable soldiers
responsible for abuses committed during the clashes, which
have sparked international outcry.

Protesters who fought soldiers and police in the capital
for five days until calm was restored this week want the
ruling military council to cede power more swiftly than
planned.

At least 17 people have been killed in a week of clashes
between Egyptian security forces and anti-military protesters.
The protesters are focusing on the army`s brutal attacks
on women protesters.

The international community, including the US has
denounced the crackdown on Egyptian women as "shocking" and a
"disgrace" to the state after troops were shown ripping off a
female protester`s clothes.

The ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) issued
an apology on its Facebook page but it was not warmly received
by the protesters.

The Muslim Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP),
leading in Egypt`s staggered parliamentary election, said it
would not join in.

On the other hand, supporters of the Supreme council
of Armed Forces have also called for rallies in the Abbasiyah
square in Cairo after Prime Minister yesterday sought a
national dialogue to resolve the political crisis.

He also warned that the country`s economy was rapidly
deteriorating.

His remarks came as Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein
Tantawy, head of Egypt`s ruling military council, issued a
decree for the new People`s Assembly to hold its first session
on January 23, two days before the first anniversary of the
revolution that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

At least 100 people have been killed in clashes between
protesters and security forces and in sectarian violence since
military took power in February after the ouster of Mubarak.

PTI