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AP / The Hindu / CAIRO, July 8, 2011.
Protestors wave a giant Egyptian flag at Tahrir Square, the focal point of the Egyptian uprising, in Cairo on Friday - AP.
Egyptians held one of their biggest protests in months as thousands took to the streets in Cairo and other cities on Friday to demand justice for victims of Hosni Mubarak’s regime and press the country’s new military rulers for a clear plan on transition to democracy.
There is growing frustration among Egyptians that little has changed five months after the 18-day uprising forced the former president to step down on Feb. 11. There has also been confusion over what comes next, with some demanding the military push back parliamentary elections that it set for September.
Riots and protests have been escalating over what many see as the reluctance of the military rulers, who took over after Mubarak, to prosecute police and former regime officials for the killing of nearly 900 protesters during the uprising.
Many believe that although Mr. Mubarak and some much-hated figures under him are no longer in power, the pillars of his regime are still in place, including such key institutions as the judiciary, the police and civil service.
Earlier this week, seven policemen in the city of Suez were freed on bail during their trial for the killing of the protesters. Their release set off two days of rioting by angry families who accused the judiciary of corruption. Other former regime officials were acquitted from corruption charges, also raising the ire of many.
“Things are going in the wrong direction,” said Lilian Wagdy, one of the protesters massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the anti-Mubarak uprising. She said military trials are held for civilians, while trials of security officials are postponed or they get released.
In scenes reminiscent of the 18-day uprising, civilian checkpoints were erected around Tahrir to prevent thugs from mixing in with demonstrators and potentially causing violence since there were no police or military in the area.
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