Protests — and casualties, including deaths — have continued in Egypt today, as a decision was awaited from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on demands for an immediate transition to civilian rule.
Egyptian riot police are reportedly responsible for the worst violence, but .
A “million man” march was called for 4pm to protest police and military brutality against the demonstrators. At least 100,000 people were reported in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi was expected to speak at about the same time.
But, he began a meeting with Egyptian political parties…
His remarks were finally aired on Egyptian State TV three hours later, after 7pm.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Tantawi maintained that the Armed Forces “never killed a single Egyptian”, and he insisted that the Armed Forces are the main protectors of the people. But, he added, “the ability of the Ministry of Interior is improving”…
He said that although they never took a political position, and had no political ambitions, and treated all political parties equally, the Armed Forces had an important role to play, because the “interim situation is not safe … and the Egyptian economy is receding. The Armed Forces would therefore continue to maintain the state and ensure security while “we know that differences are there, and different positions”.
He said that he [“I”] had decided to accept the resignation of the present Prime Minister and his cabinet — but had asked them to stay on in their posts until a new government could be formed…
Tantawi observed that “the closer we come to elections, the more tensions are increasing — this we cannot understand”.
Only “at the end of this process will we hand over power to an elected civilian authority”, Tantawi said in his televised address.
A first round of parliamentary elections is due to be held in less than a week — on November 28, and Tantawi said that this schedule would be maintained.