Egyptians pour out in anger at ‘hijacked’ revolution

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians flooded Cairo’s Tahrir Square ahead of the upcoming presidential runoff as voters voice frustration with the choice of candidates. Many fear the military plans to use the disorder in the country to stay in power.

­Egypt’s ruling military council has issued the parliament a 48-hour ultimatum to agree to a constitutional assembly, or contend with one decided on by the generals.

Protesters are rallying for the death penalty for former President Hosni Mubarak, who has been sentenced to life in prison.

The demonstrators are also indignant because six former Mubarak-era senior security officials have been acquitted of involvement in the deaths of hundreds of protesters during Egypt’s uprising last year.

Many protesters are expressing frustration that the choice of presidential candidates they have been given is no choice at all, says RT’s Tom Barton who was in Tahrir Square late Tuesday.

He says Egypt’s Islamists are trying to use the protests for their own benefit ahead of the looming second round of the presidential vote, and seem eager to capitalize on the unrest.

Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi is from the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi has already promised that if he wins he will drag Mubarak back to trial and try to get a death sentence.

His opponents say the Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group trying to highjack the revolution.

Protesters seem just as angry with presidential candidate Ahmad Shafiq because of his past: Shafiq was Prime Minister during Mubarak’s rule.

The demonstrators say this candidate should be barred from the election because of his close links with the former regime. So for Shafiq the task is to distance himself from Mubarak and the ruling military council as much as possible.

Huge demos are to be seen not just in Cairo, where there could be as many as a million protesters involved, but throughout the country. Many Egyptians say the revolution is actually going to end with very little change for them.

Dr. Conn Hallinan, contributing editor at Foreign Policy in Focus, says it’s likely that the military is working to extend the Egyptian impasse, and therefore extend its rule over the country.

“The military has set things up in such a way that they will continue as a major force,” he told RT.

“These demonstrations did not start over a question of democracy. They started over the questions of bread and unemployment, poverty. This is not just about roses – this is about bread,” he said.

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