Activists have accused the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of trying to preserve their political powers and influence the writing of a new constitution to protect their own interests at the expense of a genuine democratic transition.
Revolutionaries also say that the backbone of Mubarak’s government is still in place within the security apparatus, that human rights abuses are continuing and that the revolution must go on until key demands are met — including full repeal of the hated emergency law and prosecution of those responsible for the deaths of more than 1,000 people at the hands of the security forces during the past year.
In an address to the nation Wednesday, Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri praised the military council in language that contrasted sharply with the chants of the revolutionaries headed to Tahrir Square.
“We are all anxious to see the will of the great Egyptian people achieve unconditional freedom, sheltered by security, guaranteeing to each citizen safe ways of life that would make Egyptians feel that the country’s best interest is the goal,” said the elderly prime minister, whom many activists view as a tool of the generals.
The military council issued a statement on its Facebook page reassuring citizens that it would hand over power by the end of June to an elected president. It also implied that its role in last year’s revolt was much larger than Egyptians know.
“When we talk, many truths will be revealed that will make this people prouder of their children from the armed forces,” the statement said. It also included a pledge to “leave Egypt wearing the brightest dress, the dress of freedom and democracy.”
Celebration mixes with protest
As the council praised its own accomplishments, many marching to the square called for the execution of its leader, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, in a sign of the growing animosity toward the nation’s rulers.
Women and men, religious and secular, young and old made up the crowd of marchers. They waved to people in nearby buildings, encouraging them to join in, and held up posters demanding the end of military rule.
Ahmed Abdel Naguib, 42, who wore a sign on his back reading “Candidate for martyrdom” dismissed those who have said they are tired of protests and ready for stability.
“For 30 years we waited for change, and it never came,” he said.
The protesters did not necessarily represent a majority view. According to a recent Gallup poll, 82 percent of Egyptians believe the military will hand over power to a civilian government as promised.