Egypt protesters vow to stay in Tahrir

CAIRO — Protesters camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square vowed on Wednesday to pursue their sit-in despite warnings from the ruling military council.

Hundreds spent another night in Tahrir — the epicentre of protests that toppled president Hosni Mubarak — where they have been camping out since nationwide rallies on Friday to demand political change.

Tarek Mehanna, 32, said demonstrators would “stay until all the demands are satisfied, not only four or five of them.”

Some say they have lost confidence in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power when Mubarak stepped down in February.

“In six months, nothing has happened,” said George Ikram, 18.

Activists say the uprising’s central demands — which include an end to military trials of civilians, and speedy and open trials of former regime officials and police officers accused of abuses — have been ignored.

They also want to remove former regime officials from state institutions.

In a stern television address on Tuesday, SCAF member Mohsen Fangary warned protesters not to “deviate from the peaceful approach during demonstrations and sit-ins, or obstruct the institutions of the state.”

General Mamduh Shaheen, another SCAF member, later said the army would “not use force against protesters but will be firm in dealing with all sabotage attempts.”

The warnings seemed to only spur the protesters’ resolve to pursue their sit-ins, and prompted thousands to chant for the downfall of the military council’s chief, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi — Mubarak’s longtime defence chief.
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