EGYPT — Hundreds of thousands of protesters descended on Tahrir Square Friday to call for one principal demand: an end to military rule and a swift transfer of power to an elected president by April 2012.
Although labelled the ‘Friday of One Demand’, repudiation of the supra-constitutional principles, dubbed “El-Selmi’s Document,” equally resounded across the square.
Islamists dominated Tahrir’s Friday rally in what was a show of force by groups and parties from Egypt’s broad political and ideological landscape. The result was the largest gathering in Cairo’s revolutionary square since the last time Islamists coalesced in Tahrir for what was mockingly dubbed “Kandahar Friday” on 29 July.
Of the participating Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), were the most visible, outnumbering their counterparts. The group has notably boycotted most of the million-man marches that took place following the popular 18-day uprising.
Apart from flags, shirts and green caps emblazoned with the groups logo, two criss-crossed swords, the Islamist group came readied with their banners bearing emblems of the FJP and the Brotherhood’s student groups. Several banners indicated the various members’ governorate of origin in a show of their mobilisation power.
Salafists were also heavily represented in Tahrir, particularly by Al-Nour (Light) and Al-Asala (Authenticity) parties, believed to be the two largest Salafist parties in Egypt.
The Islamist and Salafist currents have been strongly opposed to Selmi’s proposed principles from the get go.
Look at the size of the crowd, massive.
Potesters gather in Tahrir Square, the focal point of the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Thousands of Egyptians are rallying in Cairo’s Tahrir square, with Islamists in the forefront, in a protest against what they say are attempts by the country’s military rulers to reinforce their powers. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)