CAIRO (Reuters) – Nine months after the fall of Hosni Mubarak and days before its first free election in decades, Egypt has been convulsed by protests over the ruling military council’s handling of the transition to civilian rule.
Below are some questions and answers about the protests:
* WHAT SPARKED THE DEMONSTRATIONS?
Frustration about the army’s commitment to the handover to civilian rule has built up in the last few months. Politicians and activists have grown increasingly suspicious that the military council, which took over from Mubarak on February 11, wants to hand over day-to-day government but retain broad powers that could undermine civilian authority in future.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Sameh Attallah was among Egypt’s “silent majority” who trusted the army to make way for civilian rule after protesters ousted Hosni Mubarak in February. For nine months, he stayed home when others hit the street demanding swifter reform.
That has changed. Now convinced that the ruling military council wants to cling to power, he joined protests on Friday that led to violence which has cost 33 lives.
CAIRO (Reuters) – At least 12 people were killed in clashes between security forces and crowds protesting against Egypt’s ruling military council in some of the worst violence since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
With just a week before voting in the first free parliamentary election in decades, the confrontations in the capital Cairo and other cities raised worries about how smooth voting will be.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptians vote next week for the first parliament since toppling Hosni Mubarak but a surge in violence between protesters and police show the street will likely stay a battleground for Egypt’s unfinished revolution even after polling stations close.
After ending Mubarak’s 30-year rule in February, Cairo’s Tahrir Square was once again filled with teargas and debris after police tried to break-up a sit-in calling for the army council now ruling Egypt to leave and hand power to civilians.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s Islamist and liberal opposition began gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir square ahead of a mass rally on Friday to protest the military government’s plans to change the constitution to shield the army from legislative scrutiny.
Tents were pitched and sound stages set up as protesters returned to Tahrir square, the epicenter of an uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak from office in February, in what they said was an attempt to put “the revolution back on track.”
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt is finalizing plans for the removal of energy subsidies for its industrial sector, a phase-out agreed on since 2007, the country’s trade and industry minister said on Thursday.
Trade Minister Mahmoud Eisa told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit he expected a final decision on how the phase-out will take place before the end of the year.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Presidential candidate Amr Moussa said Wednesday he feared a prolonged transition to civilian rule could plunge Egypt into anarchy caused by spiraling violence and economic hardship.
An uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February has hammered the economy and has sparked a wave of sectarian and other violence that the ruling army and its interim cabinet has struggled to control. Investors and tourists have fled.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptians detained in connection with clashes between Christian protesters and military police that left 25 people dead should be tried in civilian not military courts, presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei said on Sunday.
The former U.N. diplomat’s comments reflect public frustration at the army’s handling of clashes on October 9, when protesters said they were attacked by unidentified “thugs” and then said military police used excessive force against them.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Eight months ago, Egypt’s military ruler was a hero to the masses for taking their side in the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Today he is vilified as a new autocrat, wielding military might against the people just like Mubarak himself.
“Get out, get out, field marshal,” Christians chanted as they buried their dead after troops raced armored vehicles into a crowd on Sunday to disperse a Christian protest over a church attack. The clashes killed 25 people. Some were crushed.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian Christians mourned their dead and berated the army on Monday after at least 25 people were killed when troops crushed a protest about an attack on a church in the worst violence since the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Armoured personnel carriers sped into the crowd late on Sunday to break up the demonstrators near the state television building. Videos posted on the Internet showed mangled bodies. Activists said corpses had been crushed by the vehicles.