Protesters perform Friday prayers in Tahrir, marches arrive to Abbasseya
Thousands of protesters performed Friday prayers in Tahrir Square as a march that included Alexandria residents arrived in Abbasseya Square on Friday afternoon to join protesters at the Defense Ministry.
Political and revolutionary movements have called for protests in Tahrir in response to recent violence in Abbasseya, which left 11 dead and hundreds injured.
The protest is urging the military to hand over power as scheduled, the cancellation of Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration and the punishment of those responsible for the deaths in Abbasseya.
Independent MP Mahmoud al-Khodairy, head of the People’s Assembly Legislative Affairs Committee, and Sheikh Mazhar Shahin, imam of the Omar Makram Mosque, were present among the protesters in Tahrir.
The protesters chanted slogans against Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and its leader, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, saying, “Down with military rule,” “Get out, get out,” “Down with the field marshal,” and “The people want to execute the field marshal.”
Supporters of disqualified presidential hopeful Hazem Salah Abu Ismail announced that they would march to Abbasseya from Tahrir after the prayers.
State-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported that the armed forces intensified its presence outside the Defense Ministry in Abbasseya and the surrounding streets, setting up barbed wire and warning protesters to exercise restraint.
The march to Abbasseya Square from Alexandria stopped in front of the barbed wire, where participants raised black flags that read, “No God but God” and chanted, "No God but God; the jihad, the jihad."
The armed forces, meanwhile, read Quranic verses aloud, which protesters considered an attempt to disrupt their chants and force them remain silent, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
A number of protesters set up a stage and hung banners in Tahrir as political debates on the repercussions of the Abbasseya clashes spread among people in the square.
State-run news service MENA reported that Saudi flags were being sold in the square, but did not provide further details.
Traffic was smooth in the streets surrounding Tahrir before noon, while the area around the Interior Ministry was heavily fortified with tightened security measures and extra troops.
Al-Ahram said the area around the Defense Ministry and Abbasseya Square, where clashes had been taking place earlier this week, was cautiously calm. Around 500 people have been sitting-in there over the last few days to demand that the military transfer power to a civilian transitional council.
The protesters raised banners that read, “Down with the military rule,” and “The people want to bring down the regime.” The number of tents had notably increased, Al-Ahram added.
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