Mass rival protests erupt in Cairo

Updated: 2011-12-24 10:02


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Mass rival protests erupt in Cairo

A general view of Egyptian protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo December 23, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - Thousands of Egyptians gathered on Friday in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, demanding an early transfer of power and protesting the way military police recently treated female protesters.

The rally in the square, the epicenter of the January 25- February11 protests which toppled ex-president Hosni Mubarak, called for regaining the honor of women and went on in a peaceful way.

Friday prayers imam Hisham Attiya at the square urged to form an independent body to investigate the recent clashes and bring those accountable to justice. The imam also called for a speedy transfer of power from the ruling supreme military council to a civilian assembly.

At least 17 people have been killed in the clashes which started on December 16 outside the cabinet premises. During the clashes, the scene that soldiers dragged a woman by the hair, beat her and stripped her half-naked on the street, was recorded and aroused strong criticism.

In Abbasiya Square in Cairo, thousands of people gathered to show their support to the military council and Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri. Smaller protests were also seen in Alexandria. The protests remained peaceful by Friday evening.

On Thursday, Ganzouri told reporters that restoring stability and security in Egyptian streets is his top concern. He urged for dialogue of all sides for the sake of the country's future as it faced huge economic problems due to the continuous turmoil.

Ganzouri's new cabinet took office earlier this month and has been working hard to meet the demands of the people. Some youths opposed his appointment and demanded his resignation.

Protests are common since the military took power in February. More than 100 have been killed in various protests and clashes over the past 11 months.  Protesters are increasingly pressing the military to transfer power immediately.

The landmark parliamentary polls started on November 28 and have finished two stages. It is expected to be finished on January 11. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has ordered the first meeting of the new People's Assembly on January 23.

The presidential elections will be held before June 30. The parliament was dissolved and constitution suspended shortly after Mubarak's fall.