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Thousands Mark Egyptian Revolution in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Crowds packed Tahrir Square to mark the first anniversary of the Egyptian Revolution despite cold and rain, but with little celebration.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 1/25/2012, 10:17 AM

Cairo's Tahrir Square was packed with people despite the cold and the rain early Wednesday, but reporters noted few signs of celebration in the crowd.

Police circulated through the crowd watching for signs of violence, as demonstrators raised banners and chanted slogans protesting the country's ruling Supreme Military Council.

Israel's new ambassador to Egypt, Yaakov Amitai, flew back to Tel Aviv last week, and will remain out of the country until after the anniversary "celebrations" have ended.

The military is determined to retain a firm grip on the country until a president is elected in June, at which time Council leader Mohammed Hussein Tantawi has said he will hand over power to the newly-elected official.

Protesters, however, are insisting the military step down and transfer power to a civilian authority sooner and have clashes off and on throughout the year with security forces over the matter.

One year after massive demonstrations in Tahrir Square toppled the 31-year regime of former President Hosni Mubarak -- now on trial for the murder of those who were killed by security forces during the protests -- little has changed in Egypt.

The economy is still depressed and poverty is still rampant. Unemployment is still high and Muslims are still terrorizing and murdering Coptic Christians.

What has changed, however, is its government: the country's once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood  has essentially taken over the parliament. Its Freedom and Justice Party and the allied Salafi Al Nour Party won a majority in recent legislative elections, positioning Islamists to control Egyptian politics for the foreseeable future.

But although expectations are high, the only real changes are ones that have worried the reformists who backed the revolution in the first place.

Among those are liberals like Mohamed ElBaradei, who recently withdrew from the presidential race, saying the Islamist victory in the parliament was a clear portent of things to come.