By Marwa Al-A’asar
CAIRO: Thousands protested on Tuesday in Suez and Alexandria parallel to a sit-in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, denouncing the two speeches of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and the ruling army council.
In Suez, thousands gathered in the main El-Arbaein Square, dubbed by citizens the Martyrs Square, and began marching to the Suez Canal Authority Office in Port Tawfik to reiterate their earlier demands.
Protesters chanted “The people want to overthrow the field marshal,” referring to head of the ruling army council and Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawy.
“Today’s demonstration is a continuation of the series of protests and sit-ins held since Monday July 4 as well as to declare that the statements of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and Sharaf are both unsatisfactory,” official spokesman of the Suez Revolution Coalition Medhat Eissa told Daily News Egypt.
“We called on all revolutionaries in Egypt to join their fellows in Suez. Groups from Ismalia and Cairo had already joined us on Monday evening,” he added.
The protesters said they will hold a symbolic sit-in outside the Suez Canal office.
“We want to send a message to the whole world saying we will never jeopardize the waterway. Our legitimate demands are being announced peacefully,” Eissa said.
Following the protest, hundreds are planning to resume their sit-ins overnight outside the Suez Canal’s movement control office, El-Arbaein and the local municipality building.
The protesters called for sacking both the Suez’s attorney general and the prosecutor general, accusing the SCAF of violating the rights of the martyrs and their families as well as those injured during the first days of the January 25 uprising.
Eissa said that several complaints filed over two months ago before the attorney general, accusing 41 officers and low-ranking policemen of similar charges, have not yet been investigated.
The protesters also requested faster trials of former corrupt officials, policemen accused of using live ammunition against protesters, as well as ex-president Hosni Mubarak, his two sons and wife and former interior minister Habib El-Adly.
Mubarak will stand trial before a criminal court in August over corruption charges, the premeditated murder of peaceful demonstrators and the injury of others.
Suez witnessed intense clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the early days of the January 25 uprising. Official reports say that 29 were killed and 1,000 others wounded during the clashes.
The first revolution martyr was shot dead in El-Arbaein on the night of Jan. 25.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds blocked the Suez-Ain Sokhna desert road, preventing cars from passing through. The military police dispersed the sit-in a few hours later.
Military police forces also broke up a protest outside the Suez Canal office in Port Tawfik, using electric shock prods.
One day later, the commander of the third field army in Suez held a meeting with about 20 protesters and activists, promising to discuss their demands with Tantawy.
Tuesday’s protesters also called for the arrest of the seven police officers released last week on bail. Seven others are being tried in absentia. The trial was adjourned until September.
The release of the officers triggered a spate of protests that have persisted for the past eight days.
Rumors that the accused officers recently released on bail, had already escaped the city could not be confirmed.
In Alexandria, hundreds resumed an open sit-in inside Saad Zaghloul Square Garden in El-Raml Station in downtown since Friday upholding the same demands by other protesters across Egypt.
On an electronic billboard in the square, protesters wrote: “We reject Sharaf’s statement” and listed their demands.
“People have been making the same demands for the past six months, which shows that the government and the SCAF only respond to popular pressure,” activist Nada Nashaat told DNE.
“If we leave now, we will give them a chance to procrastinate,” she added.
The protesters demanded justice for the revolution’s martyrs and the prosecution of Mubarak even before a new constitution is drafted and before elections.
“No constitution, no elections, the right of those killed first,” protesters chanted, calling for the death sentence for ex-interior minister Habib El-Adly and Mubarak.
Press reports had earlier said the Alexandria stock exchange closed its doors after protesters prevented brokers and employees from entering the building.
However, in a statement Tuesday morning, the Egyptian stock exchange confirmed that operations in Alexandria were normal.