Following a week of heated public disagreement, a number of rival Egyptian political forces have agreed to participate in the "Popular Will and Unity Friday" demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday (July 29th).
The Revolution Youth Coalition issued a statement Wednesday (July 27th) calling on all political groups to participate in the demonstration by "setting aside individual demands and rallying around the goal of completing the objectives that the January 25th revolution was waged for."
The statement, signed by 20 political movements, said the demonstration's goal is to pressure the current Egyptian leadership to speed up trials of officials involved in killing protestors during the revolution, cease military tribunals of civilians, and set a clear parliamentary and presidential election timetable to ensure the transfer of power to an elected civilian authority as soon as possible.
The statement also rejected the laws governing parliamentary and Shura council elections, the law criminalizing sit-ins, and the party law issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces a few months ago.
The last few days had witnessed sharp disagreement between Islamist forces and the youth movements that are currently holding a sit-in at Tahrir Square over the protesters' demands.
Islamist organisations had called for a protest that they labeled the "Million Man March to Defend Islamic Identity and Popular Will" to oppose the demands of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Leftist forces called for the "Persistence and Unity" march in order to emphatically underscore the sit-in's demands.
According to Assem Abdul Majed, a leader in the Islamic Group, Tahrir Square belongs to not only liberal and leftist groups, but all Egyptians.
During a recent television interview, Majed said his organisation is not the only group opposed to the sit-in that has been underway since July 8th, and that many Egyptians hold reservations about it due to its adverse impact on the economy and security situation.
Fears of clashes between the two rival demonstrations prompted some parties to attempt to coalesce the groups' demands.
The Islamist Wasat Party led the mediation efforts, convening an urgent meeting on Wednesday. Various Islamist and liberal party representatives attended the meeting along with members of the Revolution Youth Coalition. The Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Wafd party abstained.
Wasat Party chair Abu al-Ala Madi told Al-Shorfa that the representatives who attended the meeting agreed to participate in a demonstration Friday with the objective of unifying ranks and renouncing divisions.
"The principal demands are that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces speed up the implementation of measures ensuring social justice and equal rights of citizens, and activate the process of compensating the families of martyrs," Madi said.
"Political forces are also calling for purging state institutions of the remnants of the former regime and restructuring them, and to put forth any draft laws for community dialogue during the transition phase," he said.
One of the main disagreements between the camps concerns the new constitution; leftist forces want it drafted before the next parliamentary elections, while the Islamist parties want legislative elections held as early as possible.
George Ishak, a leader in the National Assembly for Change, told Al-Shorfa that all political forces must respect each other and have faith in the rules of democracy.
Ishak told Al-Shorfa that "next Friday is the 'Friday of Accord' between the political forces that led the January 25th revolution with the goal of liberating Egypt of Mubarak's regime and building a free democratic state worthy of its history."
He said the protestors must maintain the peaceful nature of the demonstrations and sit-ins despite the risk for flare-ups, such as last week's incident in the al-Abbasiya area of Cairo where a number of demonstrators were attacked while marching to Ministry of Defense headquarters.
Meanwhile, the Revolution Youth Coalition reached an agreement with the Popular Will Front, which represents a number of Salafist youth coalitions, on a set of demands that will be raised in Friday's demonstrations.
The agreement, which was announced on Tuesday, comprises seven demands, including giving full authority to the government to start eradicating administrative and financial corruption, as well as speeding up the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak.