Demonstrators gathered on Friday for a protest rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that called for an accelerated transfer of power away from the governing Supreme Council of the Armed forces. The protesters’ demands, although longstanding, were further fueled by the violent military crackdown on demonstrators over the past week, which left 17 dead. Protesters in the Square called for presidential elections to begin “as early as January 25,” considerably sooner than the proposed “mid-2012 handover.”
Though the SCAF has apologized for the well-publicized beating of the anonymous “blue bra woman,” the two dozen entities calling for the protest today commented in a joint statement that “members of the military council…should be held to account out of respect for those killed and [the] women who were mistreated.” The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which is leading the current election returns, did not join this protest, though the Salafist Nour Party, which currently is running in second place, chose to take part. The FJP has commented that there should be no acceleration in the planned handover of power.