Hundreds of thousands Egyptians took to the streets of Tahrir today to protest military trials and the prolonged criminal prosecutions of corrupt officials from the ousted Mubarak regime.
It was called Friday of Justice for Revolutionary Martyrs on Facebook page We Are all Khaled Said, one of the many social media vehicles responsible for galvanizing protestors today and in the 18 days of rallies that brought down the Mubarak regime.
IBTimes World correspondent Michael Martin talked to Mosa'ab El-Shamy, renowned blogger and democracy activist. El-Shamy was not only present at today's protest, but was arrested and tried at an Egyptian military court after participating in a May 15 protest to commemorate the 1948 loss of Palestine to Israeli forces.
Elshamy gives us a look into what protestors are saying on the streets of Tahrir.
Here is the full text of their conversation:
MM: You attended today's Friday of Justice for Revolutionary Martyrs protest. Why?
MES: It's been almost six months since the revolution started, and things have only been getting worse. We protested because the martyrs haven't gotten justice yet, and corrupt figures are still in charge, and over the military council action. I protested because the media is still biased and keeps inciting against revolutionaries and call them vandals and thugs. Also because the courts keep releasing police officers accused of murder on bail. So there's so many things going wrong i think the question is why would anyone not protest this Friday!
MM: The group No Military Trials for Civilians was involved in planning today's protest. You yourself have been tried in a military court, right?
MES: In my case, it was kind of a mock trial since there were orders that we all get released after the huge pressure in the street. The 1 year suspended sentence was already prepared and it just seemed like a fake trial to get the routine official work. So maybe I'm not the best example. Others who were charged with 3, 5 or 7 years for protesting within 48 hours of their arrest and with absence of any lawyer with them will show the true face of military trials.
Yes. Today, I protested for ending such tribunals and transferring the thousands of civilians there to civilian courts. Since the corrupt figures are tried under such courts then protesters might as well have at least a similar treatment.
MM: Do you feel that protests like Friday's are going to help or hurt the movement toward Egyptian democracy? Why?
MES: They'll absolutely help. Because so far, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (the ruling council in the current transitional period, comprised of 12 generals)-made of Mubarak men basically has only been doing reactions in my opinion. Only when people mobilize and take to the streets and reiterate their demands, are they heard and some action is taken by the ruling council. When we stayed over a month at our homes, things only got worse. It'll definitely help. People need to be reminded that they
MM: Is there anything that international community can do to help you? Or would you prefer that foreign powers let Egyptians fight this battle on their own?
MES: Well obviously, it's the Egyptian people's battle
But we need people to keep following what's going on like they did during the 18 days, their support was overwhelming and protests by the embassies etcetera helped a great deal.
I personally would like American people to pressure their government to stop selling tear gas bombs to the Egyptian one