Tahrir rally calls for end to military rule
Thousands gather in Cairo calling for quick exit by military rulers and that ex-Mubarak officials be barred from poll.
Thousands of people have taken to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against the handling of the nation’s transition period by the ruling military council following the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Friday’s demonstrators called for a quick exit of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and that officials from the ousted president’s government be barred from May’s upcoming presidential election.
Protesters gathered in the square chanted, “down with military rule”, referring to the military’s leadership role since the fall of Mubarak following protests in February of last year.
Supporters of presidential candidates who were barred from standing earlier this month accused the generals of “hijacking” last spring’s revolution.
The crowds, growing throughout the day, have called for the military to hand over power to civilians.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Tahrir Square, said Friday’s rally was the most inclusive of recent demonstrations in the square.
“There are more than 20 political parties and political groups represented here” he said.
Following calls for unity among the gatherers, protesters began chanting “one hand, one hand, one hand”.
The chant is a modified version of one made famous during the February uprising when millions gathered throughout the country chanting “the army and the people are one hand”.
However, our correspondent said that despite the brief moments of unity during prayers, separate areas have been established for the various political factions gathered.
Pictured: Thousands rallied in Tahrir, calling on the military to hand over power to civilians [Reuters]