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Egyptians gather in Tahrir for anniversary
  Protesters in iconic Cairo square demand transition to civilian rule, a year after the start of the revolution.
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Wednesday 25 January 2012 11:50
Code : 51054
Tahrir Square was the epicentre of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down
Tahrir Square was the epicentre of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down
BFnews: Protesters have begun a sit-in in Cairo's Tahrir Square to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Egyptian revolution that toppled their long-time ruler, Hosni Mubarak.

It is a year since Egyptians, inspired by an uprising in Tunisia, took to the streets to call for reform change and to demand the resignation of Mubarak, Egypt's president for 30 years.

The military, which was handed power as the president stepped down on February 11, has planned mass celebrations with a naval parade in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, air shows in Cairo and fireworks displays around the country.

The ruling military council is also issuing commemorative coins for the occasion and is expected to honour public servants.

It has called on Egyptians to "preserve the spirit of January 25, which united the Egyptian people, men and women, young and old, Muslims and Christians".

But activists say the revolution has been hijacked by Hussein Tantawi, for two decades Mubarak's defence minister, who now heads the military council.

"We must take to the streets on Wednesday, not to celebrate a revolution which has not achieved its goals, but to demonstrate peacefully our determination to achieve the objectives of the revolution," wrote prominent novelist and pro-democracy activist Alaa al-Aswani in in the independent daily al-Masry al-Youm.

These goals remain to "live in dignity, bring about justice, try the killers of the martyrs and achieve a minimum social justice," he wrote.

Prisoners pardoned
Protesters want Tantawi and the other ruling generals to step down immediately and to stay out of the drafting of the country's new constitution, for fear they may enshrine military powers into the charter.

The military has vowed to cede power to civilian rule when a president is elected by June.

In an apparent attempt to appease reformist demands, the military council has in recent days pardoned about 2,000 people convicted in military courts since Mubarak was toppled.

On Tuesday, it announced a partial lifting of a state of emergency, but kept a clause saying emergency laws in place since 1981 would still apply to cases falling into the vague category of "thuggery".

The Muslim Brotherhood, which won the most seats in recent parliamentary elections, has announced it will join the celebrations on Wednesday, without calling for "a second revolution" or demanding that the military give up power.

"The formation of the parliament is the biggest celebration of the anniversary of the revolution," the group said on its website, a day after the lower house convened for the first time since it was dissolved following the uprising.

Leading Muslim Brotherhood member Saad al-Katatni was elected speaker of parliament on Monday, in scenes unthinkable just a year ago when the group was still banned.

Mubarak will spend the anniversary in a Cairo military hospital, where he is in custody accused of involvement in the killing of protesters during the uprising that toppled him.

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Source : Al Jazeera