Tensions between demonstrators and Egyptian security forces escalated Tuesday as thousands of people congregated in Tahrir Square for a “million-man march.” The goal of the march — to apply pressure on the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) to relinquish authority to civilian leaders — was partially met after Egypt’s interim military leaders called a crisis meeting.
In a deal with Islamist groups on Tuesday (most other parties boycotted the meeting), the interim military leaders consented to creating a new constitution and holding a presidential election no later than June. Also under the deal, the first round of parliamentary elections will begin as planned on Monday — a win for the the Muslim Brotherhood, present at the meeting, as they are expected to gain a large number of seats in those elections.
Protester throws tear gas canister, previously thrown by riot police, near Tahrir Square.
Tuesday’s march marked the fourth consecutive day of protests in Tahrir Square and follows the deadliest violence since Mubarak’s fall in February 2011. The Ministry of Health’s latest statistics reports at least 29 dead as of Monday night. With a present count of approximately 2,000 injured, Amnesty International accused Egypt’s military regime of brutality that exceeds Mubarak’s regime. Soldiers were seen beating civilians with batons and firing rubber bullets aimed at demonstrator’s heads, and four protesters between the ages of 19 and 27 died of gunshot wounds.
In the wake of the deadly protests, on Monday, Egypt’s interim civilian cabinet members and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf offered their resignation, which was accepted on Tuesday. The current government will remain as is, however, until a new prime minister is named by the military and can begin forming a cabinet.