Nightly News   |  November 25, 2011

Egyptian protesters demand civilian rule

Thousands fill Cairo’s Tahrir Square, trying to save Egypt’s revolution. NBC News’ Ayman Moyheldin reports.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now we turn overseas. Emotions are running high and it's violent in around Cairo 's Tahrir Square . Some protesters, as you may know, are calling this fight the second revolution. It's between the people and the military in a country that remains in deep crisis. Meanwhile, there are new developments involving three American students who found themselves caught up in the middle of it all. For the latest we want to turn to NBC 's Ayman Mohyeldin tonight. Ayman , good evening.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN reporting: Good evening, Brian . They are reminiscent scenes from Egypt 's 18 day revolution. The tents are back up. It's part carnival, part demonstration, but all politics. And there is an uneasy calm across the country tonight, but how long will the standoff between the military and the protesters last? They came to Tahrir Square in the hundreds of thousands, part of a nationwide protest to, quote, "save Egypt 's revolution." More than a million people estimated across the country, including in the coastal city of Alexandria and elsewhere. Deadly street fights now giving way to a political showdown. Under mounting domestic pressure and growing international criticism, including from the White House , Egypt 's military rulers appointed a new prime minster on Friday. Kamal Ganzouri , a 78-year-old politician, once served as prime minister in the former regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak . That's why this woman tells me the new apportionment represents the past. 'Why is the military not reaching out to our new young leaders,' she asks. 'It's a new prime minister but the same old problem,' he says. 'The military won't give up power.' There may be a lot of differences in this square, but the one thing everyone

agrees about is clearly spelled on these posters: an end to military rule . That's not lost on the new prime minister, who spoke publicly for the first time today.


MOHYELDIN: 'The military isn't seeking to continue being in power. If I knew they were seeking power, I would not have accepted,' he told a reporter. Meanwhile, the intimidation of foreign journalists and the harassment of women continues. Prominent Egyptian-American activist Mona Eltahawy , arrested during this week's clashes, was sexually assaulted and had both arms broken while in police custody.

Ms. MONA ELTAHAWY: My detention and many other detentions are a reminder that the brutality of the security forces goes unchecked. And that, for me, is a failure of the role of the supreme council of armed forces .

MOHYELDIN: And late tonight, three American University students who were arrested and accused of attacking security forces were released and are now flying back to the US. But in Cairo , people are still anxious. Egypt 's parliamentary elections are scheduled to begin on Monday but it may be several months before the military is ready to hand over any real power to the people. All eyes now turn to the critical vote on Monday that kicks off the parliamentary elections. But the key post of a presidency will not be filled at least until the middle of 2012 . Back to you, Brian .

WILLIAMS: NBC 's Ayman Mohyeldin on the scene for us tonight. Thanks