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Small Cairo rally calls for speedy change

Feb. 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM   |   Comments

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CAIRO, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- About 4,000 people gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo to call for quicker government change, while a top official said the critics are right on some points.

Deputy Prime Minster Yehia al-Gamal told al-Masry al-Youm Tuesday "certain ministers" should be replaced. Gamal said Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told him deciding who is in the government is up to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Demonstrators in Tahrir Square, site of the massive rallies that brought down former President Hosni Mubarak, demanded a complete change of government, an end to the state of emergency and the freeing of all political prisoners. Organizers had predicted Tuesday's rally would attract a million people, but actual attendance was much smaller.

Gamal said Mubarak is "ill and depressed." He denied rumors the former president is still running the country from his villa in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Wagih Afify Salama, director of the Arabic Center for Strategic and Political Studies, was in the square. He said the current cabinet "bears the residues of corruption."

Mohamed Mahsoub, secretary-general of the "Egyptian Front for Reclaiming the People's Wealth," told al-Masry his group is trying to track money transfers by members of Mubarak's government. He said, for example, one former official transferred $620 million from a British bank to UBS in Switzerland.

Mahsoub said because his group has no official standing it can only serve as a clearinghouse, passing details on to the authorities.

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