Army officers join Tahrir protesters

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CAIRO: Seven army officers on Friday defied a warning from the ruling military council and joined tens of thousands of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to call for the trial of former regime elements.

“Our demands are your demands. We want a civilian government. We want to try corrupt people,” one said to raucous cheers from a podium.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, that took power after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted on Feb. 11, warned that anyone protesting in military uniform on Friday would face trial in a military court.

Ahead of the protest, several men calling themselves former army officers publicly challenged the democratic aspirations of the council and called for its members to step down.

In a series of defiant videos widely circulated on YouTube, the men who say they speak for many members of the armed forces accuse the military council of thwarting the goals of the revolution.

“We are army officers. Show them our ID” cards, said one officer.

They then all held up their identification cards to more cheers from the crowd and chants of “the people want the ouster of the Field Marshal” in reference to Hussein Tantawi who heads the military council and who was Mubarak’s defense minister for two decades.

One army officer told AFP he has been inspired by the You Tube videos.
“Yes, I was influenced by the videos, but I intended to come before seeing them anyway,” he said.

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