Egyptians Mark 'Day Of Victory' As Concerns Grow

It's been one week since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, and huge crowds converged again Friday on Tahrir Square in Cairo. The official Egyptian news agency put the turnout at more than 2 million. Demonstrators are complaining that the military has stopped meeting with youth groups, and that there have been no pay raises in years.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

It has been one week since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. And today, huge crowds converged once again on Cairo's Tahrir Square. The official Egyptian news agency put the turnout at more than two million.

(Soundbite of music and chanting)

NORRIS: The atmosphere was festive, whole families waving flags and banners came out to mark the occasion billed as A Day of Victory.

But as NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports, there are concerns the democracy people fought so hard for is already at risk.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO: A week ago today, Hosni Mubarak stepped down, the military took over and Egypt sailed into freer but more uncertain waters.

(Soundbite of a crowd)

Professor REEM SAAD (Director of Middle East Studies, American University, Cairo): It's really very opaque, what is happening. But we would really like to see more stronger signs that there is a change in the regime, and these have not been forthcoming with the speed they should have.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Reem Saad is the head of the Department of Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo. She worries that the power structure Mubarak left behind remains.

Prof. SAAD: A large part of the regime is still in place. We're still with the same cabinet and the army. We're still with the same leadership in the very important places.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Very few people are familiar with the military junta that controls the country. Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, who heads the military council, has not addressed the nation. The military has also stopped its negotiations with one of the groups representing the youth movement. And a key opposition figure, Nobel laureate Mohamed Elbaradei, says he has not been approached to talk with the military either. It's not clear if the generals are speaking to anyone involved in the revolution at all.

Gigi Ibrahim is a blogger and longtime activist here.

Ms. GIGI IBRAHIM (Activist): We need to see valid action. We need to see at least a timeline, a guideline or something from the military that shows their true intention in not staying in power, and ensuring this transition in process, and reaching out to more people. They've really not reached out to all the groups.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The military has said there will be elections here in six months and it's appointed a constitutional committee to change key articles to allow for a free and fair vote. Yesterday, the government also detained a much-loathed former interior minister and a businessman who was a key associate of Hosni Mubarak's son, Gamal.

(Soundbite of a crowd and gunfire)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Many on the street today expressed their support for the army, which is lauded as a heroic institution.

Dr. KHALID ABBAS: I think that the army is doing a very good job until now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Dr. Khalid Abbas(ph) was among the crowd today, but even he says the people are watching and waiting for real change.

Dr. ABBAS: Look, there is no going back. This is the start of revolution. We have acquired the first step but we still have a lot to do.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Cairo.

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