Last updated: 28 January, 2012

Traffic returns to Cairo protest square

Traffic flowed through Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Saturday after the end of a three-day sit-in to mark one year since the uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, even as more protests were planned.

Tents were still pitched in the centre of the square, where dozens of protesters gathered ahead of demonstrations to demand the ouster of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) now ruling the country.

Egyptians had thronged Tahrir and other main squares in cities across the country since Wednesday, to commemorate the 18-day revolt that ousted Mubarak after 30 years of autocratic rule.

A year after the uprising, protesters accuse the military council of mismanagement and human rights abuses.

Several new marches were planned on Saturday but were expected to be smaller than the vast crowds who took to the streets the day before.

Protesters are all demanding an end to military trials of civilians, the restructuring of the interior ministry and a guarantee of freedoms and social justice.

But the Muslim Brotherhood — which won a crushing victory in parlimantary elections contested over three months — have been less vocal in demanding the army step down, prompting tensions with anti-military protesters on Friday.

Secular protesters argue that the 2011 uprising only decapitated a corrupt regime, and that the journey to democratic rule is far from over.

Mubarak is on trial in Cairo, facing accusations of involvement in the killing of protesters. His two sons, Alaa and Gamal, and several of his ministers are also in custody on charges of corruption.

The trials have been criticised as politically motivated, aimed more at placating an angry public than providing justice.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has vowed to cede power to civilian rule by June when a new president has been elected, and has repeatedly pointed to the parliamentary elections as proof of its intention to abandon politics.

But protesters accuse the military of seeking to maintain some degree of control over Egypt, even after June.