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Egypt's Tahrir Square sees mass protests against ruling military

Protesters converge on Tahrir Square as Egypt's political crisis deepens.

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Egyptians gather to protest in Tahrir Square on June 15, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (Daniel Berehulak/AFP/Getty Images)

CAIRO, Egypt -- Massive demonstrations against Egypt's Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) are being held in Cairo's Tahrir Square tonight, a day after the ruling generals consolidated their power by amending the country's provisional constitution. 

The protests, called by the Muslim Brotherhood, have gathered throngs of Egyptians concerned about the military's move as well as those frustrated by Thursday's dissolution of parliament

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"We don't want the military to occupy us," Aed Negy, an engineer and consultant told GlobalPost while protesting. "They want to occupy our freedom ... We will not leave the Freedom Square until they go."

Another protester, Mona Hussein, 37, a teacher from Cairo, told GlobalPost she was there to protest the SCAF, which "wants to overtake the authority and the presidency."

The Muslim Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice party held a majority in the former legislative body, has also filed a lawsuit that attempts to block the dissolution of parliament and amendments limiting the powers of the nation's new president, reported The Los Angeles Times.

Egypt held a runoff vote for the presidency June 16-17. The winner is set to be announced Thursday.

Preliminary results, meanwhile, suggest that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi has won against former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq by a slight margin. 

SCAF late Sunday issued key amendments to the March 30, 2011, constitutional declaration that served as a kind of interim constitution following the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak by popular protest in February.

The amendments state that SCAF will retain full control of the military and forbid the country's new president from declaring war without SCAF's approval.

It was not immediately clear what powers, if any, the new president will hold. 

The document also said SCAF will appoint a new panel to draft a constitution if a sufficient assembly is not formed within a week. The proposed constitution will then face a popular referendum within a stated timeline, after which parliamentary elections are to be held.

However, even after the public weighs in on the constitution, the president, SCAF, prime minister or judiciary can ask for revisions if they "find that the new constitution contains an article or more which conflict with the revolution's goals and its main principles or which conflict with any principal agreed upon in all of Egypt's former constitutions," according to a translation of the amendment provided by Ahram Online.

The move is likely to add to widespread concern that SCAF is trying to cling to power after taking control following Mubarak's overthrow.  

In the video below, GlobalPost talks to 29-year-old Ahmed Ali from Giza, editor of Egyptian news website Kholasa.net.

"They [the generals] are dealing with it like they want some extra food. They're not taking it seriously...[maybe my sign] will make people realize how ridiculously they're dealing with the country," he said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/120618/egypts-tahrir-square-sees-mass-protests-against-rulin