''Victory March'' in Egypt; top cleric for sacking cabinet

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Rania

Cairo, Feb 18 (PTI) Tens of thousands of Egyptianstoday packed the Tahrir Square here, the flash point of thepro-democracy protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak,for a "victory march", even as an influential cleric askedmilitary to sack the cabinet dominated by old-regime figures.

In a Friday sermon held in the Egyptian capital''sTahrir Square, Qatar-based Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi,close to Muslim Brotherhood, asked Arab leaders to listen totheir people and acknowledge their region has changed.

"The world has changed, the world has progressed, andthe Arab world has changed within," al-Qaradawi said.

"We want a new government that doesn''t include the oldfaces ... When people see the old faces, it reminds them ofhunger, poverty, misery," said Qaradawi, who is widelyconsidered one of Islam''s top scholars.

"Don''t obstruct the people," Qaradawi said, addressinghis message to the Arab world''s leaders. "Don''t try to leadthem on with empty talk. Conduct a real dialogue with them."

Qaradawi, who has close ties with Muslim Brotherhood,asked the military to sack the cabinet dominated by old regimefigures, a key demand of pro-democracy activists.

Keeping up pressure on the new military rulers tocarry out democratic reforms, the groups, which had organisedthe uprising, called it the "Friday of Victory andContinuation," reflecting both their achievement in forcing82-year-old Mubarak out and their concerns 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.

Before stepping down, Mubarak sacked his governmentand ordered former air force commander Ahmed Shafiq to form anew cabinet. The move that was aimed at placating theprotesters. But Shafiq kept on most of the members of the oldcabinet dominated by Mubarak''s National Democratic Party.

At least 365 people were killed and 5,500 injuredduring the protests against Mubarak''s 30-year regime,according to Egypt''s Health Ministry.

Pro-democracy activists also sought an investigationinto the killings during the uprising, lifting of thedecades-old emergency law and support for the pay strikes byworkers across 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. .

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