Thousands of Egyptians rally in Tahrir amid election turmoil

Egypt is experiencing the biggest protests since last year when President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office. All day Friday, tens of thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood poured into Tahrir Square despite the searing 100 degree heat.

The tension is rising. Egyptians held their first free presidential election last weekend but no winner has been announced yet.

Banned under the Mubarak regime, the Brotherhood believes their man, candidate Mohammed Morsi, won the election last week. And they turned out in force to send a message to the ruling generals.

"We will not leave this place until we achieve what we want until we achieve our freedom," said one demonstrator.

Egypt's military blames candidates for ongoing election unrest, warns Tahrir protesters
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Egyptians rally against military in Cairo's Tahrir

CBS News heard the same message from almost everyone we spoke with.

The ballots from last weekend's vote have been tallied, and the winner should have been announced yesterday. But there has been no official announcement. Instead, Egypt's election commission said it needs time to investigate charges of fraud from both sides.

That has the Brotherhood's supporters in the square worried that the generals are working behind the scenes to make sure their party doesn't win.

Just last week, the Supreme Court dissolved the parliament where the Muslim Brotherhood held a majority.

Today, Morsi urged the military to release the election results as soon as possible and strongly criticized the military's recent decree that stripped the presidency of much of its power.

Morsi's opponent, Ahmed Shafik, has also claimed victory. Shafik is a former air force general and Mubarak's last prime minister.

The protest has the look of last year's occupation of Tahrir Square, when Hosni Mubarak was forced from office after an 18-day revolution. The military warned protesters it would respond with "the utmost firmness" to anyone who threatened the interest of the state.

The protesters didn't seem intimidated.

"They can fight us, they can kill us but we will never leave this square. Never," one demonstrator said.

The election committee has given itself a Sunday deadline to declare a winner, but oftentimes these deadlines come and go.

  • Charlie D'Agata

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