Hundreds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square slam emergency law


Hundreds of people gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Friday to protest against the recent expansion of the emergency law, amid palpable anger over the military’s handling of transition from autocratic rule.
Last week the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) widened the scope of the emergency law — restricted in 2010 by ousted president Hosni Mubarak to narcotics and terrorism — to strikes, traffic disruption and the spreading of rumours. Imam Gomaa Mohammed, delivering the Muslim noon prayer sermon, called on the authorities to repeal the law immediately and also to end the military trial of civilians.
“The application of the emergency law totally contradicts the demands of the revolution” that toppled Mubarak in February following 18 days of mass nationwide rallies, Mohammed said.
He urged the military council to “abolish (the law) and to apply civil law to all citizens without exception.”
Mohammed called for “an end to the military trials of civilians” demanding a retrial of all those sentenced by military courts — a number rights groups put at more than 10,000. Echoing demands by youth groups that helped launch the uprising, Mohammed urged authorities to lay out a “clear timetable for legislative and presidential elections,” stressing that “security and stability will only return to the country after elections.”
An AFP correspondent said that about 1,000 people were gathered in Tahrir Square by midday.