''Victory March'' in Egypt to celebrate Mubarak''s ouster

 
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Cairo, Feb 18 (PTI) Waving flags and playing musicalinstruments, tens of thousands of Egyptians today packedCairo''s Tahrir Square, the hub of the 18-day revolt thattoppled President Hosni Mubarak, for a "victory march" and tokeep up pressure on the new military rulers to carry outdemocratic reforms.

The groups, which had organised the uprising, called itthe "Friday of Victory and Continuation," reflecting boththeir achievement in forcing 82-year-old Mubarak out and theirconcerns about the future.

On the day of prayers and celebrations, manyflag-draped protesters played musical instruments at theSquare, which wore a festive look and where a large number ofchildren were also present.

The Coalition of the Revolution Youth, an alliance ofpro-democracy groups that helped launch the revolt, called onthe gathering to "remember the martyrs of freedom and dignityand justice," Al-Jazeera reported.

At least 365 people were killed and 5,500 injured duringthe protests against Mubarak''s 30-year regime, according toEgypt''s Health Ministry.

Pro-democracy activists also sought an investigation intothe killings during the uprising, lifting of the decades-oldemergency law and support for the pay strikes by workersacross the country.

"We are going today to commemorate the martyrs and indoing so we are awaiting justice," Mohammed Waked, a protestorganiser, was quoted as saying by the pan-Arabic satellitechannel.

"If those detained during the protests are not released,let alone the older political prisoners, it would be a badsign," he said. "It would show the army is not sincere aboutpolitical reforms."

The coalition has vowed to maintain pressure to ensurethe rest of its political demands are met, including the"immediate release of all detainees," it said in statementposted on Facebook.

The situation in Egypt remains unsettled amid labourstrikes and apprehensions that the military council runningthe country may not implement promised democratic reforms.

Protest organisers have kept up pressure on the interimmilitary government, demanding that political prisoners befreed, emergency rule lifted and fair elections held soon.

Rights groups have claimed that hundreds of people wentmissing during the protests and alleged army''s involvement.

(More) PTI KIM

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