“He is here to support the revolutionaries,” said protester Ahmed Awad, 35. “He came to see for himself the tragedy caused by the military.”
Fireworks lit the sky in the evening and a large banner was strung over a side street called Mohammed Mahmoud, where most of the fighting occurred, declaring that it would be renamed “Eyes of the Revolution Street,” in honor of the hundreds of protesters who suffered eye injuries as a result of tear gas used by police.
About 500 protesters camped out in front of the Cabinet office, vowing to remain to prevent el-Ganzouri’s government from entering the building.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters also rallied in other cities, including at least 10,000 in Alexandria and smaller crowds in Luxor and Assiut in southern Egypt.
The military has rejected calls to immediately step down, saying its claim to power is supported by the warm welcome given to troops who took over the streets from the discredited police early in the anti-Mubarak uprising as well as an overwhelming endorsement for constitutional amendments they proposed in a March referendum.
Tantawi has offered another referendum on whether his military council should step down immediately.
Such a vote, activists say, would be divisive and likely open the door for a deal between the military and political groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt’s largest and best organized group, the Brotherhood is notorious for its opportunism and thirst for power. It was empowered after the fall of Mubarak, regaining legitimacy after spending nearly 60 years as an outlawed group.
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