Protesters Jam Egypt's Tahrir Square Again

This time, Islamists are leading protests against the military's power
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2011 11:54 AM CST
Tens of Thousands of Protesters Led by the Muslim Brotherhood Jam Tahrir Square in Egypt
Protesters chant slogans in Tahrir Square Friday.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

(Newser) – A familiar scene in Egypt today: Tens of thousands of protesters have packed into Tahrir Square to demand political reform, reports Al Jazeera. The key difference this time is that the protesters are led by Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, instead of the more secular groups that pushed for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, notes the New York Times. The protesters want the military to back off and let a civilian government run the country.

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A key factor at play is that the first parliamentary elections since Mubarak left begin Nov. 28, and the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to do very well, notes AP. The military, however, clearly wants to retain a big say in running the country—the interim ruling council just proposed the idea of declaring the armed forces to be the guardian of the country's "constitutional legitimacy." (It was that document that triggered today's protests.) "Those who fear Islamist movements in Egypt, I tell them don’t be scared of Islam in Egypt,” said one leading imam. "Egypt is Islamic, like it or not." (Read more Egypt stories.)

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