As the military chief and new Egyptian ruler promised reform, demonstrations against his rule only intensified
Demonstrators and restaurant patrons listen to Field Marshal Tantawi's national address at Cafe Riche, near Tahrir Square, on Tuesday evening / Thanassis Cambanis
CAIRO, Egypt -- Field Marshal and Egyptian military leader Mohammed Hussein Tantawi's televised offer yesterday to hold presidential elections sometime before July barely registered among the thousands of young Egyptians still in Tahrir Square, jostling to get to the front line of a fight with police that was boiling well into its fourth day. Each casualty seemed to double the number of people cramming into nearby Mohammed Mahmoud Street, eager to charge the phalanx of riot police unleashing a literally non-stop barrage of bullets, rubber pellets, and tear gas.
Call it the Tantawi multiplier effect.
With dozens dead and thousands injured, the calls in the back alleys around Tahrir have escalated. They don't want Tantawi's head; they want the end of military rule, period.
Tantawi / AP
"Things have only gotten worse over the last 10 months, as if Tantawi and the military council were punishing people for the revolution," said Hadi Ismail, a 31-year-old computer programmer. He wore an argyle sweater, a blue canvas blazer, and a face mask against the tear gas. He stood with a trio of friends in a narrow lane swirling with the noxious chemical, taking a break from the battle.