Egyptian frustrations with army, government mount

Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:05pm EDT
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By Patrick Werr and Dina Zayed

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian activists vowed on Sunday to stay camped in Cairo's Tahrir Square, accusing the army rulers of failing to sweep out corruption, end the use of military courts and swiftly try those who killed protesters.

Anger has been rising against what many Egyptians see as the reluctance of the military council to deliver on the demands of protesters who ousted Hosni Mubarak in February. They include speeding up the pace of Mubarak's trial over the killings of demonstrators, which is scheduled to start on August 3.

A speech by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on Saturday that promised action but was thin on detail only stoked frustrations.

One speaker in Tahrir, the symbolic center of the revolt that toppled Mubarak, said Sharaf deserved a "red card," the soccer term for being sent off the field. Youth groups on Facebook called for action to be stepped up this week.

Sharaf met a delegation from the protesters to discuss their demands, his office said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. "The group renewed its confidence in the person of Essam Sharaf and asserted their desire for a change that will achieve the goals of the revolution," it said.

Analysts said the army-appointed government needed to act quickly if it wanted to avoid a further escalation, even if some of the aspirations for change were unreasonably high.

The Public Prosecution office, in what appeared to be an attempt to placate protesters, posted a list of the legal measures it had taken against senior officials of the Interior Ministry accused of killing protesters, including trial dates.

An Egyptian judge said on Sunday that new criminal cases would be deferred to other courts to free up judges reviewing cases linked to corruption and the death of protesters, in line with Sharaf's call to expedite protester demands.   Continued...

<p>Protesters sit in a makeshift tent near a poster depicting former President Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir square, Cairo July 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany</p>