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Friday
Jul292011

Islamists Draw Massive Demonstration in Tahrir Square

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- Friday's call by Islamists drew one of the biggest -- if not the biggest -- crowds to Tahrir Square since Mubarak fell.  

There had been an agreement between the Islamists and the liberals to demonstrate only about issues they agreed on -- no military trials for civilians, prosecution for those responsible for killing protesters, faster trials for former officials and raising the minimum wage. But as the day progressed, it was clear that the agreement wasn’t holding. There were Islamist chants and banners for an Islamic state, reports of scuffles and aggressive attitudes toward the liberal women.  So the agreement fell apart.

The Muslim Brotherhood is more moderate than the ultra-conservative Salafists who were present on Tahrir Friday that the liberals are so scared of. Since the revolution, the Salafists have been going around destroying religious statues, graveyards, attacking Copts. Their vision for Egypt is much more conservative than the MB’s.

But a core disagreement between the liberals and the Islamists is how to go about writing a new constitution. The liberals want the military council to impose guidelines before the parliamentary elections (planned, for now, in November) to limit the power of the Islamists who are expected to perform well.

Some of the liberals who had been camped out Friday left the square in the evening, while others tried to continue the sit-in. Friday's demonstration, however, showed the power and popularity of the Islamists that had been much-discussed but rarely displayed.

On Wednesday Mubarak, his two sons, and other top officials are set to go on trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio