Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders 311 (R).
(photo credit: Amr Dalsh / Reuters)
Egypt’s best-organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, will participate
in a mass rally planned for Cairo on Friday to demand quicker reforms, and the
government urged organizers to ensure that the demonstration would be
The Brotherhood’s participation in the so-called “Friday of
Persistence” rally is likely to bolster what secular activists have billed as a
million-person protest by those unhappy with the way the military council has
been running Egypt since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak in
Activists complain that recent events, including the use of
force by police against demonstrators, court rulings clearing three ministers in
Mubarak’s government of graft, and the release of police officers accused of
killing protesters, went against reforms.
On Thursday the head of Egypt’s
Judicial Investigation Commission ordered 25 people, including Mubarak aides, to
stand trial for instigating a camel charge aimed at breaking up mass protests in
Among those sent for trial were Fathi Sorour, a former speaker
in the lower house of parliament, and Safwat Sherif, a former head of
parliament’s upper house.
Several top activists have criticized the
Brotherhood for having taken a back seat during the mass protests against
Mubarak, and for labeling protesters who tried to organize further sit-ins in
Cairo’s Tahrir Square in March and April as “thugs.”
initially said it intended to boycott rallies when the goal was to pressure the
military council to delay parliamentary elections scheduled for
“Then there were new developments on the subject that
necessitated putting it for debate once more,” the Brotherhood said in a
statement posted Wednesday on its website.
It cited a change in the
objectives of protest organizers in which they dropped their demand to delay the
elections. It also cited grievances raised by families of Egyptians killed in
the revolution and foot-dragging in trials of Mubarak supporters.
March referendum, 77 percent of voters said they backed constitutional
amendments that would allow the military rulers to hold parliamentary elections
Last week, more than 1,000 people were injured in clashes
between police and hundreds of stone-throwing youths in Cairo, the worst
violence in the capital in several weeks. The military council said the latest
events “had no justification other than to shake Egypt’s safety and
The state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported Thursday that the
government planned to reshuffle senior police figures to remove officers
implicated in some of the more violent crackdowns on protesters in
The paper quoted Minister General Mansour el-Essawy as saying he
plans major changes to the police force that will include the dismissal of
hundreds of topranking officers and promotion of mid-ranking
“The changes will be the biggest in the history of the
ministry,” he said.
For decades the Mubarak government employed Al- Ahram
– Egypt’s most widely circulated newspaper – as a platform for anti-Israel and
anti-US sentiment to divert attention from its domestic failings. Post-Mubarak,
little in its editorial comment appears to have changed.
million-man demonstrations held in Tahrir Square, only once did the
demonstrators make a point of hoisting the Palestinian flag. This poses some
questions about the long-term impact of these revolutions on the region and the
course of the conflict with Zionists,” ran an editorial this week.