One month after protests that unseated President Hosni Mubarak erupted in Egypt, thousands gathered in Tahrir Square to oust the remaining vestiges of his regime.
Protesters called for the dismissal of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and the current cabinet, the end of the emergency law and the release of all political prisoners. They also demanded Mubarak himself to be put in trial.
Fridays have often been landmark days for the revolution, and this rally comes two weeks after Mubarak resigned.
Protesters dubbed the rally “Cleansing Friday: Protect the Revolution.”
Prominent independent preacher Mohamed Gebreel led the Friday prayer, attacking the former ruling National Democratic Party, accusing it of falsifying the 2010 elections and calling for its dissolution.
Gebreel also called for the ouster of Minister of Interior Minster Mahmoud Wadgy and asked the police to stop abusing citizens and suppressing activists.
The sermon came one day after a police officer shot dead a microbus driver in the Maadi neighborhood in Cairo.
Microbus drivers from Maadi came to the rally to condemn the police brutality. One told Al-Masry Al-Youm “we came here to protest against the unfair practices of the police. I haven’t participated in any demonstration before, but after what happened in Maadi, I’ve decided to come to join the people.”
After the Friday prayers, a Coptic mass was conducted by Hany Aziz and followed by a hymn when Copts chanted “God bless my nation.”
The Friday’s rally came amid Coptic anger following the military’s removal of an illegal wall surrounding the Monastery of Saint Bishoy in Wadi al-Natrun on Wednesday.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood hung big banners for the group's political prisoners. They distributed a statement from the families of Brotherhood Deputy Chairman Khairat al-Shater and Hassan Malik, a businessman affiliated with the group.
Al-Shater and Malik were sentenced to seven years in prison during a military trial in 2008.
“We hold the army and the ministry of interior responsible for keeping them (al-Shater and Malik) in prison,” said the statement.
Members of the Salafi movement were present as well at the Friday rally.
In his speech, Gebreel expressed solidarity with the Libyan people.
Following the Friday prayers, Gebreel led a “funeral prayer” for the Libyan martyrs who lost their lives in their battle against the regime of President Muammar al-Qadhafi.
Protesters in the square carried the old Libyan flag and chanted anti-Qadhafi slogans.
“Qadhafi the mad, Mubarak and Ben Ali are waiting for you,” read one of the banners carried by a protester.
Tens of Libyans were present in Tahrir today to express their sorrow following state-sponsored attacks on the Libyan people.
“I came here to get hope. Egyptians made it and my people in Libya will topple the regime of the tyrant,” said Ali Moftah, a Libyan from the Warfla tribe.
Tens of protesters from the canal city of Suez were also present, calling for a trial of the police officers who killed protesters during Egypt’s 18-day revolt.