CAIRO: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reiterated on Wednesday its promise to cede power on June 30, the official news agency said, as thousands of protesters marched across the country demanding an end to military rule.
"Today, after one year, the emergency law has been lifted, a revolutionary parliament has been elected with legislative powers, and tomorrow, a Shoura Council [followed by] the constitution then a president — and we go back to our unity on June 30 with Egypt wearing the best attire, that of freedom and democracy," MENA quoted SCAF as saying.
The ruling military council vowed to disclose secrets that would make the people more proud of their military forces. "One year has passed but many truths about the days and months leading to the revolution have not yet been disclosed so it wouldn’t seem as if we’re glorifying ourselves," they said.
On his part, Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzoury said in a statement marking the January 25 anniversary that Egyptians should be proud of the revolution and how they united for the future of the country.
"The nation needs productive work by every member and in all its economic sectors so everyone can benefit … in a fair allocation of income so every citizen can live with dignity," he said.
Ganzoury, who demonstrators were chanting against at numerous protests on the same day, also thanked SCAF for having "promised and delivered."
In demonstrations and marches across Egypt, hundreds of thousands of protesters chanted for an end to military rule.
Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square was filled to the brim with protesters throughout the day. By evening, the April 6 Youth Movement said they will participate in an open sit-in in Tahrir.
"We will stay in the square until there’s either a transfer of power to the elected parliament or application for presidential elections starts," said Mahmoud Afify, spokesperson of the group.
However, activist and blogger Mahmoud Salem, also known as Sandmonkey, doesn’t find an open sit-in a good idea, expecting it to continue for more than a week.
"A sit-in in Tahrir has outstayed its power, a sit-in anywhere else is more important and more effective," he said.
With the first round of Shoura Council elections due to start on Sunday, political parties have joined the demonstrations, but many stressed they wouldn’t take part in sit-ins.
"An open sit-in will not affect the elections in any way. The Egyptian people are determined to practice their right to vote and participate in the democratic elections," said Ahmed Abu Baraka, leader at the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), who won the majority in People’s Assembly elections.
The FJP only participated in Tahrir protests on Wednesday and Abu Baraka said their candidates are adamantly continuing their campaigning.
"We will not leave the square as other parties did to campaign; we are staying because the square is what has legitimacy," said Hussein Mansour, member of liberal Al-Wafd’s Higher Committee, adding that they will be participating in the sit-in until Friday.
"Even though we are not great supporters of the Shoura Council, as it’s a huge burden on the state and on the budget, we will be participating in the elections and our candidates will be present with their people in the streets calling for social justice," he explained.
Al-Wasat Party joined the demonstrations in Tahrir Square calling for the handover of power to civilians. "We are demonstrating but will not stay for a sit-in," said Tarek Al-Malt, spokesperson of the party.
Malt said that they withdrew the majority of their candidates from the Shoura race, even though some chose to continue. "We have been calling for the cancellation of the Shoura Council or at least making the elections on one round [instead of two]," he said.
"Our main objective right now is the transfer of power from the military to civilians; elections are not our concern in this atmosphere," Al-Malt noted.