|Egypt's protests persist despite new cabinet||
CAIRO (AFP) – Hundreds of Egyptian protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday to push for reforms, as Islamists held a separate demonstration calling for stability.
According to, pro-democracy activists had called for a rally in Tahrir Square — the epicenter of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak — after a cabinet reshuffle failed to satisfy their demands.
Sheikh Mazhar Shaheen, conducting the sermon, said the new cabinet line-up had fallen short of the expectations of protesters who want members of Mubarak’s regime forced out of politics.
Thursday’s swearing-in of the new cabinet failed to persuade the Tahrir protesters to go home.
Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had hoped the changes in his cabinet would mollify the protesters camped out in the square since July 8.
Roughly half of the cabinet is made up of new faces, but several ministers hired by Mubarak have remained, including Interior Minister Mansur Essawy.
In an address after the reshuffle, Sharaf said he asked his ministers to prepare action plans with the “first objective of achieving the revolution’s goals and preserving its gains.”
But activists were unimpressed.
“This government does not in any shape express our aspirations for the revolution,” said Tareq al-Khouli, a leader of the April 6 movement and organiser of the sit-in.
“We don’t understand why they are being so obstinate about keeping former Mubarak party members, rather than replacing them with respectable people,” Khouli said, adding the sit-in would continue.
It was the second cabinet to take office in the face of protests since Mubarak stepped down on February 11.
The former president is under arrest on murder and corruption charges in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he is undergoing treatment for a heart condition.
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