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Protesters on Tahrir defy Army's warning.

Summary: CAIRO - Hundreds of demonstrators Sunday continued to defy a ban by the military on presence on central Cairo's Al Tahrir Square by staging several sporadic protests there amid deep divisions among the demonstrators on whether they should pour their anger on the military

Some of the demonstrators warned against future confrontations between the people and the Army, saying these confrontations could eventually lead to Egypt's "destruction".

"This is what the former President wants: a war between the Army and the people," said one demonstrator as he addressed a group of other people who stood at one end of the iconic square.

"Mubarak is ready to spend 90 per cent of the money he stole from this country to achieve this goal and make the people long for his days," he added.

Until this point, however, none seemed to yearn for Mubarak's days. Some of the demonstrators chanted slogans, calling on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been running Egypt since Mubarak stepped down on February 11, to bring Mubarak and his family members to court.

They said the Army's slow performance in this regard was incomprehensible.

Some of the demonstrators even accused the ruling military of collaborating with some of the former president in order to prevent his indictment in any corruption cases filed against him.

"The Army no longer embraces the cause of the revolutionaries," said Abeer Sayed, a 34-year-old social researcher.

"The Army has to prove its good will by meeting the demands of the people who rose against the dictator," she told The Gazette in an interview.

A short honeymoon between the Army and the people seemed to come to an end early on Saturday when the Army dispersed a sit-in on Al Tahrir Square by force, killing one civilian and injuring about 71.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said in a press conference on the same day that it did not fire at the demonstrators. But here on the square, the demonstrators are full of stories about the Army's "brutality" and "treachery" as they called the attacks the Army launched on the demonstrators in the early hours of Saturday.

Abeer, the social researcher, said one of her friends who saw the attacks cries whenever he remembers the events of what he calls the "bloody Saturday".

"The soldiers used their machineguns to instil fear in the hearts of the demonstrators," she said.

"The generals say their soldiers did not use force to bring the sit-in to an end. Ok, but can they tell me where the blood that stained parts of the pavement of the square came from?"

Behind her a man held a microphone and kept chanting, "The Army and the people are united", just a reminder of the good days when relations between the Army and the demonstrators were not spoiled by violence, and a testament to the deep divisions that came to make the days of the protesters on the square that has served as the launch pad of the public revolt against Mubarak on January 25.

Barbed wire and iron bars continued to exist on entrances to the plaza. A charred military bus stood in the middle to function as another reminder of how clashes between the people and the Army can turn nasty.

The Egyptian Gazette 2011 All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:Apr 11, 2011
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