Staking its claim to Egypt's presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood rallied in Cairo on Tuesday to demand the ruling generals hand over real power, following moves by the army that its U.S. ally labeled an assault on democracy.
Up to 10,000 gathered as darkness fell on Tahrir Square, cradle of last year's Arab Spring revolution, chanting the name of the Islamist who they say won the weekend's presidential election and condemning measures to curb his powers that will leave much legal authority in the hands of the army for months to come, according to Reuters report. The election result is due to be announced later this week.
"Down, down with military rule!" chanted the crowd, one of the biggest in months at the capital's protest rendezvous, but showing no sign of seeking confrontation with troops as the Brotherhood treads warily through a shifting political arena.
"We are here to finish the revolution," said Ahmed Badawy, a Brotherhood member bussed in, like many, from the provinces.
"We are showing the military council we can see that it is trying to reproduce the old regime and abort the revolution."
In a mark of the movement's desire to put violence behind it and assure Egyptians, fellow Arabs and anxious world powers that it can rule a democracy, one man held a poster of presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy reading "Egypt's Erdogan". Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is a model, for some, of modern Islamic leadership in a nation also long used to influential generals.
"The military council should stick to what it is supposed to do," said the man holding the sign, Hassan al-Attar, 60, adding they were clinging to power for fear of joining ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak - in prison for oppression and corruption.
News as the rally was breaking up that Mubarak, 84, had been moved from prison and was critically ill in hospital left most little moved. Their anger is directed at those who followed him.
The dissolution of a new, Islamist-led parliament on the eve of the presidential election run-off, and a decree issued as it ended that took new powers for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), have been widely condemned in Egypt and abroad.
But weariness after the turmoil and economic hardship of the past 16 months, and a lack of enthusiasm for two presidential contenders from the familiar old adversaries of the army and the Brotherhood, have dimmed many rebellious spirits.
Despite calls to rally, few of the young, urban activists who first launched the revolt turned out on Tahrir on Tuesday.
While many feel betrayed by the generals, who pushed out Mubarak to appease the revolt but now seem to be entrenching their own privileges, the latest anger has not turned violent; neither the Brotherhood nor the army, engaged in a hesitant new symbiosis over the past year, seem anxious to start a fight.