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Egypt

Egypt's military promise to hand power to civilians

Retuers/Suhaib Salem

Egypt’s military has announced that it will hand over power to a civilian government, but asked the present one to manage the transition. The pledge came in a statement by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which stepped into the vacuum caused by Mubarak’s collapse.

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As Egypt’s army cleared barricades from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, 600 prisoners have escaped in one jail and police demonstrate in the provinces. On the day following the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, power lies in the hands of the military who have promised to respect the will of the people.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

About 600 prisoners have broken out of Marg prison, according to AFP news agency citing security personnel who said that several people have been killed or injured. They said that more than 1,000 other prisoners escaped but were rounded up.

A previous mass breakout took place at Marg towards the beginning of the Egyptian uprising on 25 January.

Hundreds of rank and file police officers demonstrated Saturday in Ismailiya, on the Suez Canal. They blamed their officers for corruption in the ranks and accused them of ordering them to fire on the protests, which have seen about 300 people killed according to the UN.

The police have also been accused of deliberately releasing prisoners in order to spread anarchy.

The demonstrators accused former interior minister Habib al-Adli of giving the order to shoot.

Police and civilians joined the effort to clean up Tahrir Square after a night of celebration over Mubarak’s resignation, announced by Vice-President Omar Suleiman Friday.

But the thousands who camped in the square seem divided as to whether to give up after the announcement or continue to put pressure on the military council, which is headed by longtime Mubarak loyalist Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.

Celebration swept the Arab world on Friday night.

Copycat protests took place in Yemen and Algeria Saturday, while about 2,000 Hamas-affiliated students demonstrated in Gaza, which is blockaded on its Israeli and Egyptian borders.
 

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