Egypt Army May Answer Demands This Week, Group Says

The Egyptian army, which assumed power following President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation on Feb. 11, told protesters it will respond to their demands by the end of the week, Ahmed Maher, a co-founder of the Six of April movement said today.

The Six of April movement is part of the Revolution’s Youth Coalition, the group that helped to organize the street protests that started Jan. 25 and ended with Mubarak’s ouster. Maher, who attended yesterday’s meeting, declined to say who represented the military at the talks.

“We told them that if by Friday our demands were not met, we will resume the revolution,” Maher said today in a telephone interview from Cairo.

The coalition called for the suspension of the demonstrations, and threatened to ask people to re-occupy Tahrir Square, the center of the anti-government demonstrations, where protesters were camping for two weeks, and resume the demonstrations if their demands aren’t met by Feb. 18.

In the meeting with The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the youth representatives said a timeline must be provided by the military for the steps it will take in the transitional period toward democratic transformation, Maher said.

Transitional Government

The youths demanded a presidential council which would consist of four civilians and two people from the army to oversee a new transitional government, which would be formed within “a few weeks,” to run the country until elections are held in six months, Maher said.

The military council had said Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik’s government, which Mubarak formed, would continue to run the affairs of the government until a new one is formed, without elaborating.

The military promised the youth coalition to release all political prisoners before Feb. 18, after they separate people held for political reasons from those who have criminal charges.

The military also promised to set a date for lifting the state of emergency, in place since 1981, and allow for freedom of the press, formation of political parties, freedom of expression and the right of assembly, he said.

Google Inc. executive Wael Ghonim, whose detention made him one of the faces of the protesters, said on Facebook Inc.’s site that he was “very optimistic” after the meeting, in which he also took part. Generals Mahmoud Hegazy and Abdel Fattah attended the meeting for the army, he said.

‘Friday of Victory’

The coalition called for a “Friday of Victory” demonstration in Tahrir Square on Feb. 18 to commemorate the people who were killed in the protests in clashes between anti-Mubarak protesters and pro-Mubarak supporters and authorities. About 300 people died, according to the United Nations.

Some protesters are still camping in Tahrir Square, saying they will not leave until the army provides a clear timeline for implementing their demands. As the army was trying to empty the square of protesters today, others joined, including a protest by policemen who demanded former interior minister Habib El-Adli to stand trial for the protesters’ killings.

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