Despite Heat, Protesters Flood Cairo's Main Square Tens of thousands gathered at Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday amid growing frustration and anger in the streets over the military junta's failure to punish those responsible for violence during the revolution — and the slow pace of reform. NPR's Soraya Nelson talks to Michele Norris.
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Despite Heat, Protesters Flood Cairo's Main Square

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Despite Heat, Protesters Flood Cairo's Main Square

Despite Heat, Protesters Flood Cairo's Main Square

Despite Heat, Protesters Flood Cairo's Main Square

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/137709658/137709792" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tens of thousands gathered at Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday amid growing frustration and anger in the streets over the military junta's failure to punish those responsible for violence during the revolution — and the slow pace of reform. NPR's Soraya Nelson talks to Michele Norris.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Cairo, where she covered the protests in Tahrir Square today, and she joins us now. Soraya, why are protestors back out protesting today?

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: And if you add to that the fact that the police force has become a lot more brutal in its dealings with protestors as of late, this is all fueling people to turn out. One of the protestors I spoke to at the square was Huda, who expressed the frustration that so many here feel.

HUDA: The process is very slow, and we're all having doubts that justice is being served, and we would like to see justice served. And I'll be here until I see signs for that happening.

SARHADDI NELSON: She was among many protestors who plan to spend the night in Tahrir Square.

NORRIS: So she's looking for signs, Soraya. Are there any democratic reforms that have actually taken place since Mubarak was ousted?

SARHADDI NELSON: But everything they've done has more or less ensured that power will remain with the executive branch, with the future president. And this is not democratic in the eyes of many here.

NORRIS: Has there been any punishment for officials from Mubarak's regime who've been accused of corruption and theft or for those police officers accused of killing protestors?

SARHADDI NELSON: And then you have the former information and finance ministers under Mubarak who were acquitted of misusing public funds. All of this has many Egyptians worrying that Mubarak and his sons, too, are going to escape justice even in the unlikely chance that their trials go forward next month.

NORRIS: Is it likely that these protestors will achieve their objectives? How effective are these protests? And do you think they'll continue?

SARHADDI NELSON: But the problem is that many Egyptians are also getting really tired of protests. They want the country to get back to work. And at the same time, protestors who are spending all their time making demands are not spending any time creating political parties or offering up candidates in elections that are planned for later this year.

NORRIS: Soraya, thank you very much.

SARHADDI NELSON: You're welcome.

NORRIS: That's NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, speaking to us from Cairo.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NORRIS: This is NPR.

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