Egypt: “Second Day of Rage” held —without Muslim Brotherhood

Protesters took to the streets of Egyptian cities on May 27 for nationwide Friday protests, again filling Cairo’s Tahrir Square with tens of thousands. Demonstrations were also held in Alexandria, the canal cities of Ismailiya and Suez, and in the Sinai peninsula. Hundreds protested outside the hospital where ousted president Hosni Mubarak is being held in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, demanding his transfer to prison. Protesters called on the military to hand over power to a civilian council, draw up a new constitution, and postpone September’s parliamentary election until new political parties can organize. The mass action, dubbed the “second day of rage,” was the largest since the rallies that toppled Mubarak on Feb. 11.

But the absence of Islamist groups was noticeable, with many protesters saying they felt betrayed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision not to participate in the rallies. A favored chant was: “Where are the Brotherhood? This is Tahrir!” The Brotherhood, the country’s best organized opposition movement despite a largely fictitious ban under the Mubarak regime, said it was “very concerned” by the protest. In a statement, it asked “Who are the people angry with now?” After Mubarak’s ouster, the call to protest can “only mean that the anger is directed at the people themselves or at the army,” the statement charged. (Irish Times, May 28; AFP, May 27)

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