Egyptians Mark Anniversary of Revolt in Tahrir Square
Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square, the crucible of their revolution, to mark the first anniversary on Wednesday of the revolt that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak, commemorating his ouster with a mix of celebration and protest.
Overnight, thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the force that dominated parliamentary elections, took up position in Tahrir Square anticipating events scheduled for later on Wednesday when tens of thousands of Egyptians are expected to cram the vast plaza again , some applauding Mr. Mubarak’s exit and others demanding that the ruling generals follow suit and hasten Egypt’s transition to a parliamentary democracy.
The generals have said they will hand over power by the end of June, after the ratification of a constitution and election of a president.
But, one year after the tumultuous events that marked a watershed in the so-called Arab Spring, Egypt is still under martial law with the ruling military council acting as the highest authority.
Mr. Mubarak’s ouster came on Feb. 11, 2011, after an 18-day-old revolt led largely young people prevailed over an authoritarian crackdown. On that day, shouts of “God is great” erupted from Tahrir Square at twilight as Mr. Mubarak’s vice president and longtime intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, announced that Mr. Mubarak had passed all authority to a council of military leaders.
On the eve of the anniversary, the army officer acting as Egypt’s de facto head of state said Tuesday that the military government would limit its use of extrajudicial arrests and detentions to cases of what he called “thuggery.”