Egyptians mark 1st anniversary of 'Friday of Rage'

By Aya Batrawy

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 27 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Rallies of thousands of protesters moved from main mosques all around Cairo toward Tahrir, chanting "we want civilian, not military." Some young men had shaved the words "down with military rule" in their hair cuts. in one rally from Cairo's Shubra neighborhood, a young man representing a slain protester was carried on other men's shoulders as a long Egyptian flag was unfurled down the boulevard.

Some were critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, which many suspect will not push for real reforms now that it has won a dominant place in parliament and which they fear is willing to strike a deal with the military that would give the general's some continued power. The Brotherhood denies any deal.

"We can't celebrate when there's no justice for those killed," 30-year-old protester Amr Sayyed said. "The Muslim Brotherhood is talking about justice, but not how or when."

"This is a day of mourning, not celebration," said Abdel-Hady el-Ninny, the father of a slain protester, Alaa Abdel-Hady. He and his family carried large posters of his son around Tahrir.

Friday's protests come two days after hundreds of thousands packed into Tahrir to mark the Jan. 25 start of the uprising against Mubarak. That rally, too, was marked by similar divisions.

There were increasing calls among many protesters for presidential elections to be moved up to April to select a civilian for the military to give its powers as head of state. Under the military's timetable, presidential elections would be held by late June after a new constitution is written, and after the election it would step down.

A youth umbrella group of liberal political forces and activists named "Our Egypt" or "Masrana" said in a statement Thursday, "the demand is single and clear: a president first."

A large banner in Tahrir on Friday demanding the presidential vote before the constitution.

Moving up the vote would also move up the transfer of power from the military. Supporters of the idea also want the constitution written under the rule of a civilian president, fearing that if the military still holds the reins it can force provisions that give it a political say or prevent civilian oversight.

There are other proposals, including handing power to the parliament speaker. Pro-reform leader Mohammed ElBaradei proposed that parliament elect a temporary president until the constitution is written, then presidential elections could be held. "After a year of stumbling, it is time to agree on correcting the path."

The Muslim Brotherhood has remained neutral in terms of what comes first since it plans not to field a candidate of its members in presidential elections and it doesn't want to anger the military generals for fear of sabotaging its parliament victory.

The Brotherhood holds just under half the seats in the new parliament, giving it considerable influence over the writing of the constitution. Parliament is supposed to appoint a 100-member panel to draft the document.

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