As clashes between protestors and security forces were still ongoing in several cities across Egypt, an address to the nation by the head of the ruling military council on Tuesday night was rejected by the crowds in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution earlier this year.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said the military had no interest in holding on to power, and remained committed towards transferring authority to a civilian government.
With the resignation of the cabinet under Prime Minister Essam Sharaf accepted, a new national salvation government would be established until presidential elections, now to be held before July 2012.
“The army is ready to go back to barracks immediately if the people wish that through a popular referendum, if need be,” Tantawi added in the speech broadcast on Egyptian State Television.
Omar Khaled, a 25-year-old political activist in Tahrir Square, told CNBC the speech lacked details about the new government, and felt that holding parliamentary elections in the current climate would “not be conducive” to the country’s democratic development.
But by the time Cairo headed into rush hour traffic on Wednesday morning, the numbers in the square had fallen sharply from the estimated 100,000 late on Tuesday. Previous demonstrations have shown similar cyclicality, with the numbers usually gathering momentum again later in the afternoon.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page