Egypt's military threatens to revive emergency law

Egypt's protest movement yesterday turned its anger on the country's military rulers, accusing them of clinging to the repressive legacy of the ousted Mubarak regime.

One of the leaders of the protest that drove Hosni Mubarak from power said the revolution had been "aborted" by the military council, which has said it would reactive the country's widely loathed Emergency Law to restore order after the storming of the Israeli Embassy on Friday that left three people dead. Repeal of the law was a central demand of the protesters.

Activists believe the generals, in control since Mr Mubarak was toppled in February, exploited the attack to justify their rule. "We have no doubt now that the ruling military council is head of the counter-revolution," said Shady al-Ghazaly Harb, a leading member of one of the main protester coalitions.

The use of military courts to try as many as 12,000 people since the fall of Mubarak has tested the patience of many activists and politicians, and on Sunday the general's received more flak after security forces in Cairo raided offices used by the Al-Jazeera news network.

Friday's violence also came just hours after protesters had converged in Tahrir Square for yet another rally drawing attention to the perceived paucity of political reforms. It is clear many are becoming increasingly worried that a military which for so long has enjoyed unbridled political and financial influence will be reluctant to hand over power. Egypt's leftist Tagammu Party says it expects the government to crack down violently on future protests.

Ramy al-Swissy, co-founder of the influential April 6 Youth Movement, accused the generals of trying to undermine the transition to democracy. "We believe the military council is using the embassy attack as an excuse to use the Emergency Law," he said.

The increased tensions between the military and activists comes as Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council, delayed his planned appearance as a witness in the trial of Mr Mubarak. He said the postponement was a result of the Israeli Embassy attack.

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