Protesters repeat demands on second Friday of Tahrir sit-in

Protesters continued their Tahrir Square occupation on Friday, which is  being called both “Last Warning Friday” and “The Friday of Implementing the Demands”.

There were small crowds in the square at noon, when temperatures soared to nearly 40 degrees.

In his Friday sermon, Imam Mazhar Shaheen of the Omar Makram mosque was critical of the failure to bring interior ministry snipers who killed protesters on 28 January to justice, and denounced “the oppressors and the corrupt”.

"Where are the cowards who were threatening us in Mostafa Mahmoud Square?” he asked, referencing supporters of former President Hosni Mubarak, who have gathered in that square on several occasions since the president was ousted in February.

Speaking on one of the square’s stages, journalist Hussein Abdel Ghany read out a list of seven revolutionary demands for which the Tahrir demonstrators are protesting.

"We demand a complete cleansing of the interior ministry, not just the routine annual changes,” Abdel Ghany said, in reference to Wednesday's announcement by Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy that nearly 700 officers would be removed from service.

Some human rights groups have criticized the shakeup as inadequate, saying that it amounts to little more than a routine annual pensioning-off of officers who have reached retirement age and that many officers accused of committing violations on 28 January remain on duty.

"Officers accused of killing protesters must be sacked, or at least suspended,” Abdel Ghany went on. “This will only happen if a civilian interior minister is appointed.”

Protester Ahmed Sayyed Ahmed, a taxi driver from Maadi, said that the failure to prosecute police officers is the reason he came to Tahrir.

Ahmed also expressed frustration at the government’s failure to enact ministerial changes. “This should have happened as soon as Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was appointed.”

"Sharaf is a capable and respectable man but he needs to respond to demands more quickly,” Ahmed added.

State media reported Thursday that a cabinet reshuffle of twelve ministers will be announced on Monday. Commentators have suggested that Essawy will be removed, following his public rejection of Sharaf’s demand that police officers charged with killing protesters be removed from the force.

The trial of former Mubarak regime figures remains a key demand for protesters. Abdel Ghany demanded the formation of a court based on the 1952 Ghadr (treachery) law used to prosecute public figures after Gamal Abdel Nasr came to power.

Politician Osama Ghazaly Harb said, “Mubarak is in Sharm but the Mubarak regime lives on. The same faces have taken over the ministries and the same policies are in force. It’s as if there hasn’t been a revolution.”

Activist George Ishaq added, “We won’t be silent until we see Mubarak in the Tora prison hospital.”

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