[THS] Egyptian military dissolves parliament and suspends constitution
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ths at psalience.org
Mon Feb 14 23:00:18 CET 2011
Egyptian military dissolves parliament and suspends constitution, but says it will only
keep power until elections can be held
By Craig Whitlock and Samuel Sockol
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 13, 2011; 12:52 PM
CAIRO - Egypt's military chiefs seized near-complete control of the country Sunday by
dissolving the parliament and suspending the constitution. The leaders of the armed
forces, however, said they would only keep power for six months, or until new
elections can be held.
In the meantime, the Supreme Military Council said it would exercise self-asserted
authority to decree new laws and maintain stability, according to a communiqué read
on state television. The generals also said they would appoint a committee to
overhaul the constitution and put the proposed changes to a popular vote in a
Although the declarations mean the military is grabbing absolute power, the
announcements met some of the central demands made by the revolutionary
movement that forced President Hosni Mubarak from office Friday.
Protesters had insisted on the dissolution of parliament, a new constitution, a
transitional government and a clear timetable for Egypt to hold free and credible
elections. They also asked for the repeal of Egypt's repressive 30-year-old state of
emergency law; the military has previously pledged to lift it when calm returns to the
country, but did not commit to a date.
The military's communiqué implied that national elections could be held within six
months, but again did not specify a date.
The announcement came shortly after Mubarak's former cabinet held its first meeting
since his abdication. The military ordered the cabinet to continue serving in a
caretaker role until a new government can be formed.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said the government's first concern was to restore
order. "Our concern now in the cabinet is security, to bring security back to the
Egyptian citizen," he told a press conference.
"That sense has been lost since the beginning of the events. It's been coming back,
but not as quickly as we hoped."
The military communiqué also came as soldiers tangled with protesters on Tahrir
Square, the epicenter of the demonstrators. Soldiers evicted demonstrators from
parts of the plaza as they tried to restore a measure of normalcy to the Egyptian
As daylight broke, soldiers dismantled tents from the makeshift camps that have
occupied Tahrir Square since Jan. 25, when protests erupted in Cairo. Some weary
demonstrators evacuated voluntarily. Others stood their ground or scuffled with
soldiers, though both sides generally refrained from brute force.
By mid-morning the military had re-opened the square to traffic for the first time in
three weeks. But an uneasy mood persisted. Several thousand protesters flocked
back to the square as the day unfolded and regained much of their lost ground.
Many said they were not ready to give up.
"We want to stay here until they fulfill our demands," said Mahmoud Sharif, 27, who
had spent 10 days and nights in Tahrir.
Meantime, pockets of disorder erupted elsewhere. An aggressive crowd of several
hundred police officers - who have largely been on strike or absent from the streets
for the past 10 days - marched through the streets to demand pay raises and other
Many Egyptians harbor deep suspicions about the police, who roughly tried to
suppress anti-Mubarak protests in the days prior to his resignation. In contrast,
Egyptians have expressed gratitude to the armed forces for standing by and not
interfering with the revolution.
The police demonstrators, clad mostly in black leather jackets, swept past a handful
of military checkpoints to reach Tahrir Square. There, they stood nose-to-nose with
pro-democracy protesters, who seemed skeptical of their intentions.
Chanting, "The police and the people are one," the officers avoided a confrontation
and marched a few blocks to the Egyptian Interior Ministry building, where they were
finally halted by an army barricade and a three-star general standing athwart a tank.
The police, who report to the ministry, laid out demands for better pay and health
care. But they also seemed intent on trying to repair their public image as pro-
Mubarak bullies. "We are not thieves," they chanted.
"We have been accused of running away from the city [during the revolution], but
we didn't run away," said Mohammed Said, a 15-year veteran of the Cairo police
force. He said he earned only 500 Egyptian pounds a month, or about $85, and
Eventually, Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdy emerged from the hulking building to
listen to the complaints in person. He was appointed by Mubarak last week, just prior
to the president's resignation, as part of a shakeup of senior government leaders.
"Give me a chance," he implored the police.
With Mubarak gone, other civil servants also saw an opportunity to voice their
A few blocks from the Interior Ministry, a couple hundred protesters held a noisy sit-
in at the front entrance of the Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit.
They were employees of the state-owned bank and also wanted a raise.
But they aimed most of their ire at the bank's chairman, whom they described as a
profit-skimming Mubarak crony intent on ruining the bank's bottom line.
Ahmed Mahmoud, a bank manager involved in the protests, accused his bosses of
trying to turning the bank into a money-losing operation. He said the hidden intent
was to privatize its operations - and sell it cheap to politically connected investors, a
common complaint during Mubarak's rule.
"Today is our ideal chance to make our voices heard," Mahmoud said. "You would
never see these kind of protests before, not when we had a dictator."
Egypt's Military to Warn Against "Chaos and Disorder"
February 13, 2011 --- CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's new military rulers will issue a
warning against anyone who creates "chaos and disorder," an army source said
The source said the military statement was now expected to appear Monday, not
Sunday as the source had said earlier.
The Higher Military Council will also ban meetings by labour unions or professional
syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes, and tell all Egyptians to get back to work
after the unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
The army will also say it acknowledges and protects the right of people to protest, the
(Reporting by Marwa Awad, writing by Alistair Lyon)
Text of Communique No. 5 issued by the Egyptian military Sunday:
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces strongly believes that freedom and the rule of law, supporting values of equality, democracy. social justice and uprooting corruption are the basis of any ruling system in the world
Egypt's military rejects swift transfer of power and suspends constitution:
Ruling military council intends to retain power for six months or longer while elections are scheduled and will rule by decree
Egyptian protesters slam military rule:
Clashes have erupted between the army and the protesters as troops tried to disperse thousands of demonstrators out in Cairo's Liberation Square, a Press TV correspondent reported.
Egypt being governed same way as before, PM says:
Remarks likely to infuriate protesters keen to dismantle Hosni Mubarak's ruling system.
Egypt declares bank holiday after worker strikes:
"Employees are demanding higher salaries," Deputy Central Bank Governor Hisham Ramez said by telephone, adding that the strikes were mainly at state and not private banks.
Police join protesters on the streets of Cairo:
Hundreds of police officers protested Sunday. They're demanding higher pay and better hours.
Egypt: Hosni Mubarak used last 18 days in power to secure his fortune :
Hosni Mubarak used the 18 days it took for protesters to topple him to shift his vast wealth into untraceable accounts overseas, Western intelligence sources have said
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