Protests Swell in Egypt Despite Government Concessions

Posted November 25th, 2011 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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Thousands of protesters pushed into Cairo's Tahrir Square and renewed calls for the departure of the ruling military council, despite new concessions from Egypt's government.

Protesters waved banners and shouted “freedom, freedom” on Friday, just hours after the military council announced its selection of Kamal Ganzouri as prime minister. He previously held the post under the government of former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in February amid a popular uprising.

The state newspaper Al Ahram said Mr. Ganzouri had agreed to lead a national salvation government, following a meeting with the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces , Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.

The move seemed to have little impact on the sentiments of protesters. Some protesters have touted the so-called “million-man” rally as the “last chance” for the military council to quit. The French news agency said the imam leading noon prayers in Tahrir Square urged demonstrators to stay in the square until their demands were met.

At least 41 people have been killed in protest-related clashes over the past week. The Reuters news agency says the European Union, on Friday, condemned the violence and called for a “swift handover to civilian government.”

Also, the U.S. White House said Friday that Egypt's military rulers must speed up the country's transition to a civilian government.

The protests unfolded ahead of parliamentary elections set to begin on Monday. Egyptian leaders have said the elections will go ahead as scheduled.

Meanwhile, supporters of the military council held a separate rally on Friday to express unity with the country's military leaders.

In recent days, the government has announced concessions that include the resignation of the civilian Cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and an apology for the deadly violence.