For the second straight Friday, Egyptian Islamists rallied in Cairo's Tahrir square to "protect the revolution" that brought an end to the 30-year reign of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Hundreds of people gathered at the site of the January 2011 massive protests -- but now to call for an end of military rule. With less than a month before Egypt's presidential elections, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist political parties are trying to prevent “a delay in handing over power in June and to protest... the attempt to revive the corrupt former regime," according to Al Arabiya.
The presidential candidates from the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Khairat El-Shater, and the popular independent Islamist candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail were both disqualified from the elections, which their supporters view as an attempt by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to retain power after the vote.
Suspicions were further fueled earlier this week when the SCAF reinstated the previously disqualified Ahmed Shafiq, the former head of the Egyptian Air Force and Mubarak's last prime minister.
"Those who brought Shafiq back to the race are able to fabricate the election results," protester Ali Deyab told the Associated Press.
"They disqualified the most honorable men and approved the remnants of the regime because they want Mubarak back," demonstrator Ibrahim Yahia added.
Turnout was markedly smaller on Friday than at previous rallies and unlike last week, a number of non-Islamist groups including the 'April 6 movement' declined to join the protests, saying that they didn't want to join a protest that pushed for the demands of a single party.
Secular parties are distrustful of the Islamists who dominate parliament. Youth movements fear that the Brotherhood is trying to pass its own agenda, and a number of parties successfully petitioned an Egyptian court to disband the Islamist-heavy constitutional committee.
"The Brotherhood wants to threaten the SCAF by flexing its muscles and calling for mass protests, which [shows] its ability to mobilize the street," the Free Front for Peaceful Change said in a statement on Friday.
"There's no reason to protest this Friday given the recent ratification of the disenfranchisement law and the fact that the ruling military council is keeping its promise to hand over power to an elected president by 30 June," said the United Maspero Youth, a new political party that has been wary of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Salafi al-Nour Party since the Islamists swept parliamentary elections.
The disenfranchisement law, or Corrupting of Political Life Law, was ratified earlier this week and disqualified certain high-ranking members of the Mubarak regime from running for office.
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