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Continuous protests highlight complicated situation in Egypt

By Marwa Yahia, Li Laifang (Xinhua)

08:37, June 06, 2012

CAIRO, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo's Tahrir square and other public squares on Tuesday, demanding the retrial of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, his sons, former Interior Minister Habib Adli and his six aides as well as the disqualification of presidential candidate, ex-Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

Different political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood ( MB), took part in the million-man "Justice" demonstration. Protesters increased sharply on the day's evening, who also called for General Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud to resign and to apply the disfranchisement law against Shafiq.

"We are here since Saturday to rescue our revolution which is in danger of being aborted by the rags of corruption and the anti- revolution people," Ahmed Attiya, a member of the April 6 youth movement, told Xinhua at the Tahrir Square.

"The recent verdicts issued by the court and the results of the first round of presidential vote which made Shafiq enter the run- off means that the former regime is coming," he added.

The protests kicked off right after Mubarak and Adli were sentenced to life in jail, while Mubarak's two sons and six former police officers were acquitted.

The mass protests reflected the complicated and volatile situation in Egypt ahead of its presidential run-off vote on June 16-17.

DEFEATED CANDIDATES CALL FOR PRESSURE ON SHAFIQ

Defeated presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabahi, Aboul Fotouh and Khaled Ali, who have been supporting the recent protests, joined the crowd on Tuesday.

On Monday, the three agreed to form a presidential council and to implement the political isolation law against Shafiq. Alleging the irregularities of the vote, Sabahi demanded the suspension of the run-off vote.

Also, Sabahi and Aboul Fotouh agreed in their meeting to continue the popular pressure until the disenfranchisement law is applied before the run-off only days away.

For his part, Shafiq condemned the calls to apply the political isolation law, which aimed at disqualifying him from the final contest.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) affirmed Tuesday that the elections would run as scheduled with integrity and neutrality, noting that "the country will go on with its road toward stability," and said they would transfer power to a civilian power on June 30 as promised.

While the run-off is between Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Morsi and Shafiq, many dubbed Shafiq as "remnant of the former regime" and tried to disqualify him.

The Supreme Constitutional Court has not decided whether the political isolation law, passed by the Islamist-dominated parliament, is constitutional or not.

DEADLINE FOR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

On the platform in Tahrir Square, political activists condemned the transition period governed by the armed forces, amid high participation of the Islamists' movements.

Head of the SCAF Hussein Tantawi on Tuesday called for consensus over criteria of the constituent assembly within two days, or a supplementary constitutional declaration would be announced.

The SCAF and 18 political parties besides independent lawmakers agreed to hold a meeting on Thursday to announce a final decision over special criteria to form the constituent assembly, or the SCAF will take the responsibility to declare a supplementary constitutional declaration before the run-off.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice, the Wasat Party and the Social Egyptian Party boycotted Tuesday's meeting. Representative of the Salafist Nour party will negotiate with them.

Head of Wafd Party Sayed Badawy will work with the other political movements to agree on the standards to form the constituent assembly, ratio of representations and rate of voting before Thursday.

The new parliament elected the 100-member constituent assembly in March. But the domination of Islamists pushed many secular parties to withdraw from it in protest. The standoff has not been solved until now.

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