Though they expressed their condolences for lives lost during the latest round of protests in Cairo, members of Egypt’s ruling military council refused to change their plans for either Monday’s parliamentary elections or the eventual presidential vote slated for next year. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters stood their ground too in and around the familiar territory of Tahrir Square. —KA
The New York Times:
“We will not delay elections. This is the final word,” Gen. Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of the ruling military council told a news conference.
Maj. Gen. Mukhtar el-Mallah, another council member, told the news conference that the military would not relinquish power because to do so would be “a betrayal of the trust placed in our hands by the people.” Egyptians must focus on the elections, he said, not on street protests.
“We will not relinquish power because of a slogan-chanting crowd,” he said, according to The Associated Press, “Being in power is not a blessing. It is a curse. It’s a very heavy responsibility.”
On what had been the front line of the confrontation near the square, army troops in black helmets and visors replaced the police — reviled by many protesters — and a crane lowered cement barricades behind a line of coiled barbed wire to separate the protesters from the Interior Ministry building, near the library of the American University in Cairo.
“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces presents its regrets and deep apologies for the deaths of martyrs from among Egypt’s loyal sons during the recent events in Tahrir Square,” two generals said in a statement on a Facebook page. “The council also offers its condolences to the families of the martyrs across Egypt.”
Egyptian army soldiers stand guard atop a concrete block barricade on the street between Tahrir Square and the Interior Ministry in Cairo on Thursday.