Egypt’s Cabinet offers to resign amid protests
Egypt’s Cabinet offers to resign amid protests that show frustration with military rulers
CAIRO — Egypt’s civilian Cabinet offered to resign Monday after three days of violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Tahrir Square, but the action failed to satisfy protesters deeply frustrated with the new military rulers.
The Health Ministry and a doctor at an improvised field hospital on the square said at least 26 people have been killed and 1,750 wounded in the latest violence as activists sought to fill the streets for a “second revolution” to force out the generals who have failed to stabilize the country, salvage the economy or bring democracy.
Throughout the day, young protesters demanding the military hand over power to a civilian government fought with black-clad police, hurling stones and firebombs and throwing back the tear gas canisters being fired by police into the square, which was the epicenter of the movement that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.
By midnight tens of thousands of protesters were in the huge downtown square.
The clashes have deepened the disarray among Egypt’s political ranks, with the powerful Muslim Brotherhood balking at joining in the demonstrations, fearing that turmoil will disrupt elections next week that the Islamists expect to dominate.
The protests in Tahrir and elsewhere across this nation of some 85 million people have forced the ruling military council as well as the Cabinet it backs into two concessions, but neither were significant enough to send anyone home.
The council issued an anti-graft law that bans anyone convicted of corruption from running for office or holding a government post, a move that is likely to stop senior members from the Mubarak regime from running for public office.
Hours later, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf submitted its resignation to the council, a move that was widely expected given the government’s perceived inefficiency and its almost complete subordination to the generals.
Protesters cheered and shouted “God is great!” when the news arrived of the Cabinet resignation offer, but they almost immediately resumed their chant of “The people want to topple the field marshal” — a reference to military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
“We are not clearing the square until there is a national salvation government that is representative and has full responsibility,” said activist Rami Shaat, who was at the site.
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