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One year on, calls for change continue in Egypt

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 03:43

Jan. 22 - Almost one year after Egyptians took to the streets and toppled the government tensions continue over the role of the military. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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The families of those who died in the Egyptian uprising gather in Cairo. This time they are chanting against the Egyptian military. Many say the military council that now runs the country has failed to deliver on changes demanded by pro-democracy groups. Hundreds have been killed or injured since the uprising began last January 25th. Many fell during clashes between protesters and security forces. Now the victims' relatives say the culprits have been left unpunished. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) FATHER OF VICTIM, MUSTAFA SHAKER ABDEL FATAH, SAYING: "So far, no officer has yet been tried and nobody will be tried. As long as the Military Council rules the country, no one from the military will stand trial because this Military Council is made up of the sons of Mubarak, the sons of a deposed man. It is impossible under any circumstance that sons would try their father." Many Egyptians have tired of endless protests, and left the military council to its business. But for some activists, their distrust of the generals has only grown. Human rights groups accuse the council of a catalogue of abuses, including the violent suppression of protests and a surge in military trials. Frank Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt was deployed by the Obama Administration last year to deliver its message to the government. He says the role of the military in Egypt is still a work in progress. (SOUNDBITE)(English) FORMER AMB. FRANK WISNER, SAYING: "How do you balance the military, and its sense of responsibility with a civilian dominated civilian society -- be it Muslim or not Muslim -- the same struggle that the Turks have gone through over the years. It has reached a stage in Turkey where the military has taken a back seat and allowed finally a civilian government to move forwards and define the course of the state -- also a government with Islamic sentiments. So the model of Turkey is out there but how the military and the civilian government are going to work out the balances in a new Egypt of the future is a game in play -- a game in progress we don't know the answer yet." Though Egypt has just held its most free elections in six decades, political reforms in the country of 80 million have fallen far short of the overhaul sought by the young reformists. Egypt's pro-democracy groups, hardly represented at all in a new parliament dominated by Islamists, now find themselves sidelined. Both the newly elected Muslim Brotherhood and the military have called for celebrations on January 25, setting them at odds with youth groups who want the day to be an occasion for mass protest. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters

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One year on, calls for change continue in Egypt

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 03:43