Demonstrators trickling out of Cairo’s Tahrir Square

February 14th, 2011 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Feb 14 (IANS) Thousands of demonstrators have left the Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital after the country’s new military rulers said they would dissolve parliament and suspend the constitution, media reports said Monday.The military council - the Supreme Council of Armed Forces - said it would stay in power for six months or until elections can be held, according to the BBC.

The announcements were welcomed by many protesters.

President Hosni Mubarak quit Friday after 18 days of mass rallies.

Monday has been declared as a bank holiday in an attempt to return the situation to normal, after workers disrupted operations at the country’s main state banks.

Banks will reopen Wednesday, as Tuesday is also a public holiday, Al Jazeera reported.

Another media report said the military may ban meetings by labour unions and other professional organisations.

Some employees, emboldened by the success of protesters, were now seeking the removal of the bosses they blame for what they consider to be huge earnings gaps in their companies.

Protesters were emptying the main focal point of the popular uprising, Tahrir Square, with only a few hardcore demonstrators remaining.

On Sunday, a statement from the military council was read out on state television saying it would suspend the constitution and set up a committee to draft a new one, which would then be put to a popular referendum.

The country’s constitution has prevented many parties and groups from standing in elections, leaving Egypt with a parliament packed with supporters of the National Democratic Party loyal to Mubarak.

The opposition’s Ayman Nour, who challenged Mubarak for the presidency in 2005, described the military leadership’s steps as a “victory for the revolution”.

Caretaker Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said his main priority was to restore the country’s security.

“Our main concern now as a cabinet is security - we need to bring back a sense of security to the Egyptian citizen.”

“Parallel to that we also want to ensure that the daily life of all Egyptians goes back to normal and that basic needs like bread and healthcare are available.”

In the northern city of Alexandria, people also began to get back to work.

Protest organisers have, however, threatened more rallies if the military council fails to accept their agenda for reform.

“If the army does not fulfil our demands, our uprising and its measures will return stronger,” said Safwat Hegazi, a protest leader.

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