Internet activists discuss political reform with military


Cairo, Feb 14 (PTI) The online activists, who hadhelped galvanise the pro-democracy movement in Egypt, met themilitary leadership today and said the caretaker governmenthas set a 10-day timeframe to rewrite the Mubarak-eraconstitution, to be put to referendum within two months.

The unlikely hero of the Egypt uprising, young Googleexecutive Wael Ghonim, along with seven others, discussed thefuture of political reform with the military leadership, whichhas been entrusted with the task of carrying out a politicaloverhaul of the Egyptian system.

The activists, whose endeavours on the web had helpedmobilise millions of Egyptians in an anti-Hosni Mubarakuprising, said they laid out their views to the caretakergovernment.

"We met the army ... to understand their point of viewand lay out our views," Ghonim and blogger Amr Salama said ina note on a pro-democracy website that had helped launch therevolt.

They said the Supreme Military Council, whichdissolved the parliament and suspended the constitutionyesterday, vowed to rewrite the constitution within 10 daysand put it to a referendum within two months, in line with theprotesters'' demands for democratic change, according to AlJazeera.

Ghonim became a national hero after his 12-daydetention and an emotional appearance on television, and alsoaddressed gatherings at the Tahrir Square.

Meanwhile, the Council is also considering to banstrikes across the country to restore order and ensure thatworkers go back to work.

Al Jazeera quoted a military source as saying that theCouncil would issue an order to ban meetings by labour unionsor professional syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes,and would tell all Egyptians to get back to work.

Such an order could become another flashpoint in thecountry which is witnessing an atmosphere of chaos.

Over 20 days of turmoil has affected the economicwell-being of the country, hampering businesses and tourism.

Emboldened by the success of the mass uprising, manyworkers and unions across the country have taken to strikes todemand better working conditions.

Hundreds of people gathered again in Cairo''s TahrirSquare today, many of them protesting against the police.

Earlier in the day, protesters in the square said theyhad been told by the army to leave or face arrest.

Scuffles had broken out yesterday between the soldiersand some of the protesters as the Army tried to clear theSquare to enable normal traffic movement. .

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