Egypt political forces meet to ‘protect revolution’

Hundreds of Egyptian political figures, scholars and activists gathered in Cairo on Saturday, in the biggest post-revolt meeting of political forces aimed at "protecting the revolution."

Over 2,000 participants turned up at a large hall for the meeting, dubbed "Egypt's First Conference: The people protect the revolution."

The conference, organized by renowned Egyptian engineer and social activist Mamduh Hamza aims to elect a "National Council" of 60 members who plan to work with authorities to map out Egypt's future, organizers told AFP.

Egypt has been going through a fragile transition phase since a popular uprising toppled veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak on 11 February and saw power transferred to a military council.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has vowed to pave the way for a free democratic system, but it has come under criticism for its slow pace of reform and alleged rights abuses.

Since Mubarak's overthrow, the country has been gripped by insecurity and sectarian unrest, amid — by the government's admission — a "counter-revolution" by remnants of the old regime aimed at sowing chaos.

Saturday's conference, which also groups workers, farmers and youth groups that helped launch the revolt, aims to form a council that will be the "main voice of the revolution and potentially a main driver in the transitional phase," Ihab Hamdy said.

Mubarak is currently under arrest in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, but his two sons Alaa and Gamal are in jail with a host of former ministers and businessmen affiliated with the old regime, detained as part of a sweeping probe into corruption.

On Thursday, the once feared Egyptian interior minister Habib al-Adly was sentenced to 12 years for money-laundering in the first trial of an official from the Mubarak regime.

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