Hundreds of Egyptians marched after the Friday prayers to the iconic al-Tahrir Square to participate in a demonstration protesting former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq’s participation in the presidential election run-off.
Protesters called for Shafiq to be banned from the race and for an investigation into corruption allegations against him. Shafiq is scheduled to compete against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursy in the presidential run-off on June 16 and 17.
A march to the square departed from Istiqamah Mosque in Giza, according to a report published by Egypt’s daily al-Masry al-Youm. They called for the disqualification of Shafiq from the run-off and chanted slogans against the ruling military council.
According to al-Masry al-Youm, another march began at Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque in the classy Mohandiseen neighborhood of Cairo. The protesters chanted slogans demanding Shafiq be excluded from the presidential race.
Dozens of protesters staged also marched from the Khazendar Mosque in the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra, which later merged with two other marches from the Nour and Fatah Mosques heading to al-Tahrir Square.
Thousands are also rallying in the northern Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria against Shafiq, The Associated Press reported.
A former air force commander, Shafiq has cast himself as a strongman who will restore law and order. Opponents view him as the military’s favorite.
Shafiq was Mubarak's civil aviation minister between 2001-2011and was appointed by the then-president as a premier during the 18-day uprising in late January 2011 in a desperate attempt to quell protests.
Shafiq resigned from his post a few weeks after Mubarak stepped down under popular pressure.
Protesters chanted: “down with the military rule, the people are a red line,” according to a report published by the online edition of the state-run al-Ahram daily. They said: “Why Shafiq? Is Mubarak coming back?” Others chanted: “How can the man who killed your brother become your president?”
The protesters, according to al-Ahram, held banners with “save the revolution” and “Minister of justice: Where is the Disenfranchisement Law?” scrawled on them.
A number of political groups, including the Revolution Youth Union, Kefaya and April 6 Youth Movement, have called for mass rallies on Friday to demand the Disenfranchisement Law, also known as the Political Isolation Law, which was passed by parliament in April to be applied to Shafiq thus excluding him from the presidential race.
Dozens of Brotherhood members and Salafists were also present in al-Tahrir Square campaigning for Mursy. They took down banners that read “No to remnants, no to Brotherhood,” and “No Shafiq, no Mursy” and prevented them from being put back up, according to al-Masry al-Youm.
(Writing by Abeer Tayel)