Friday in Cairo - another "million man march" in Tahrir?

There are calls for another march to Tahrir Square today, Friday 25 February. Today marks one month since the 25 January demonstrations that sparked the ultimate demise of Mubarak, who resigned just 2 weeks ago on 11 February.

As I write this, 12:15 pm, I am hearing the Friday call to prayer echoing around the city. Soon enough we will know if, after prayers, a million (or more or perhaps less) will return to Tahrir. Today's demands would be for the sacking of the Interim Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, plus the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, interior and justice. The argument of the 25 January organization is Shafiq and these four key ministers were appointed by Mubarak and therefore must go; they are a remnant of the past, a remnant of the dead regime, and all are allies of Mubarak (why else would Mubarak have appointed them?)

For its part, the ruling Military Council says, in effect: "Patience! Shafiq and the entire Cabinet will go - but not yet. Their government will be dissolved before Egypt holds new elections, in 6 months, but we need a caretaker to get us there." Still, the Military Council has already given in to many of the demands of the 25 January group - just 3 days ago, the military sacked a number of Mubarak appointees on the Cabinet (though not Shafiq or that "gang of four") and appointed a number of "new faces", among them:

• Yehia el-Gamal, a legal expert and professor of law, was named deputy prime minister. Gamal is a member of Mohamed ElBaradei's opposition coalition, the National Association for Change.
• Gowdat Abdel-Khaleq, from the opposition Tagammu party, is minister of social solidarity and social justice.
• Ahmed Gamal el-Din, minister of education and higher education
• Amr Salama was appointed to the ministry of higher education and scientific research.
• Independent Mohamed El Sawy, “Culture Wheel” director, was appointed culture minister
• Maged Othman to the ministry of communications.

The new cabinet also includes two Coptic Christians:
• Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour as tourism minister
• ex-lawmaker Georgette Kalini as immigration minister.

As I said, the reshuffle did not change the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, interior and justice – all of whom kept their posts.

I will keep you all posted once we know more about the supposed "million man [and woman] march to Tahrir."


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