Update: On Martyr Day, demonstrators both criticize and support military

Dozens of activists demonstrated in four governorates Friday to commemorate Martyr Day, both in support of and opposition to the ruling military council.

In the Friday prayer sermon in Tahrir Square, Sheikh Gomaa Mohamed Ali rejected the idea of a consensus presidential candidate and said all political forces and classes of society need to participate in drafting a new constitution to represent all Egyptians.

Ali added that figures from the former Mubarak regime should be prevented from running for president.

Later on in Alexandria, dozens demonstrated under the slogan "Friday of Martyr Day" to demand punishment for those implicated in killing protesters since the beginning of the 25 January revolution early last year. They chanted anti-SCAF slogans and were joined by dozens of members of the Ultras Ahlawy.

Dozens of members of the April 6 Youth Movement and Kazeboon (Liars) Campaign — which references the ruling military council's alleged lies about using force against protesters — demonstrated at Revolution Square in front of the governorate headquarters. The demonstrators marched on Military Street in Mansoura in remembrance of the virginity tests the military government subjected women to in March last year and demanded the release of activists detained in military prisons.

In Kafr al-Sheikh, the Kefaya movement staged a symbolic protest outside Al-Istad Al-Riyady Mosque, raising banners denouncing the SCAF. A number of protesters here also said their protest intended to revive the memory of virginity tests.

Earlier at the Defense Ministry in Abbasseya, dozens gathered to directly protest against Supreme Council of the Armed Forces rule. Military police were deployed around the ministry to prevent protesters from approaching the building.

The Defense Ministry demonstrators had gathered outside the Fatah Mosque in Ramses Square before heading to the ministry, where they demanded punishment for those involved in killing revolutionary protesters.

The Second Egyptian Revolution Coalition and the Free Front for Peaceful Change participated in the protest, chanting, "Say it: Do not fear the [military] council, the council should leave" and "Bread, freedom, social justice."

The protesters distributed fliers demanding the cancellation of Article 28 of the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration, which stipulates that all decisions of the Presidential Elections Commission cannot be challenged in court. The fliers say the article threatens the credibility of the upcoming presidential election and that the SCAF will use the article to "manipulate" the presidential election so as to produce a president acting on behalf of the generals, not the people.

After prayers, dozens of members of the liberal Free Egyptians Party gathered on Qasr al-Nil Bridge and marched to the statue of Abdel Moneim Riyadh near Tahrir Square.

Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr broadcast a video of a Giza march against military trials for civilians. It also reported that following prayers, another march was preparing to set off from Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque in Mohandiseen to Tahrir.

Dozens of demonstrators supporting the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces gathered at the Unknown Soldier Memorial in Nasr City to join the armed forces in celebrating Martyr Day. The protesters chanted pro-SCAF and anti-media slogans, accusing the press of attempting to drive a wedge between the people and the armed forces.

Egyptians celebrate Martyr Day on 9 March each year to commemorate the death of Abdel Moneim Riyadh, who died in the War of Attrition between Egypt and Israel in 1969.

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