Cairo, Nov 25: Unmoved by the ruling Generals' overtures like appointment of a new Premier, tens of thousands of Egyptians today packed the iconic Tahrir Square here for a “last chance” mass rally demanding that the military junta hand over power to civilians immediately.
The latest protests follow days of clashes between the demonstrators and riot police that left at least 41 people dead and over 3,000 injured.
The violence has been centered around Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the movement that led to Hosni Mubarak's ouster as President in February.
As protesters filled up the Square, organisers said that today's demonstration was “the last chance million-man protest,” implying that the military rulers do not have much time to accede to their demands.
An imam led tens of thousands of worshippers in prayer in Tahrir Square, urging the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to hand power to a “national salvation government”. Sheikh Mazhar Shahin said protesters would remain in the Square until their demands are met.
Earlier in the day, state media reported that 78-year-old Kamal Ganzouri, an economist who served as Egyptian Premier under Mubarak between 1996 and 1999, has been appointed the new Prime Minister, in an apparent concession to protesters' demands for a civilian government.
He agreed in principle to lead a national salvation government after meeting Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council. Ganzouri, who had distanced himself from Mubarak's regime, has also been suggested as a possible Presidential candidate.
Egypt's military rulers yesterday expressed “deep apologies” for deaths of protesters in violence since Saturday and vowed to punish the culprits.
The unrest, which entered the seventh day today, came days before the country's first parliamentary elections—scheduled to open on Monday—since Mubarak was ousted.
The military rulers say they will transfer power to civilians, but that the process should not be rushed to avoid chaos.
They have pledged to hold Parliamentary elections on time, despite demands for their postponement. Mamdouh Shahin, Major General of the military council, said that elections would continue as planned from Monday.
He also assured demonstrators that those responsible for killing or injuring protesters would be held accountable and that many detainees would be released as early as tomorrow.