Photo by Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images.
A new round of protests erupted in Egypt Friday, roughly a week before the first planned parliamentary elections since the February ouster of former ruler Hosni Mubarak.
The Los Angeles Times reports that tens of thousands of politically diverse protesters – among them Islamists, liberals and secularists – united in Cairo's Tahrir Square to express disapproval of the military council that has so far refused to cede power to a civilian government in the wake of the Arab Spring uprising by pro-democracy forces.
Friday's protests were organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, one of Egypt’s most organized political groups, which is expected to win a sizable portion of the parliamentary seats up for grabs in the looming elections. But fears about the military’s willingness to give way to a democratic government remain.
In the months since Mubarak stepped down, military leaders have expanded martial law and jailed dissidents. One young member of the Muslim Brotherhood framed the current situation this way: "They're causing strife among Egyptians, and they want to marginalize everyone ... so they can say we're not ready for democracy and justify staying in power," 23 year-old Ibrahim Yehia told the Times.
In addition to threatening to delay presidential elections until 2013, the country’s military leaders are also calling for the authority to select 80 percent of the members of a yet-to-be-created constitutional committee and demanding that the military budget be kept secret.
Correction: The headline previously misspelled Tahrir Square.