CAIRO — Egypt’s military rulers warned Thursday against any threat to democracy and national security on the eve of planned protests calling for reform, in a statement on their Facebook page.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power when president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February, warned protesters against “those who seek to impede the democratic transformation that began with the call for parliamentary elections.”
On Tuesday, the military laid out the timetable for the first post-Mubarak elections which will kick off on November 28 and take four months. Presidential elections are expected to be set next year.
Activists have called for a protest on Friday to “reclaim the revolution” amid heightened frustration at the military ruler’s handling of transition from authoritarian rule.
“Those who have called for the Friday (protest) bear the responsibility to organise and secure and protect all private and public property,” SCAF said.
“Any encroachment on army units or camps or important establishments will be considered a threat to Egyptian national security and will be dealt with with the utmost firmness,” SCAF said.
Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi has repeatedly stressed the army’s commitment to democracy, but protesters have maintained pressure on the military council he presides over the slow pace of change.
Thousands of protesters have been flocking to Cairo’s Tahrir Square — the epicentre of protests that toppled Mubarak– on an almost weekly basis to rally for speedy reforms.
Protesters have been calling for the lifting of the decades-old emergency law, an end to military trials of civilians and social justice.