Internet activists discuss pol reform with military

Cairo: The online activists, who had helped galvanise the pro-democracy movement in Egypt, met the military leadership on Monday and said the caretaker government has set a 10-day timeframe to rewrite the Mubarak-era constitution, to be put to referendum within two months.

The unlikely hero of the Egypt uprising, young Google executive Wael Ghonim, along with seven others, discussed the future of political reform with the military leadership, which has been entrusted with the task of carrying out a political overhaul of the Egyptian system.

The activists, whose endeavours on the web had helped mobilise millions of Egyptians in an anti-Hosni Mubarak uprising, said they laid out their views to the caretaker government.

"We met the army … to understand their point of view and lay out our views," Ghonim and blogger Amr Salama said in a note on a pro-democracy website that had helped launch the revolt.

They said the Supreme Military Council, which dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution yesterday, vowed to rewrite the constitution within 10 days and put it to a referendum within two months, in line with the protesters` demands for democratic change, according to Al Jazeera.

Ghonim became a national hero after his 12-day detention and an emotional appearance on television, and also addressed gatherings at the Tahrir Square.

Meanwhile, the Council is also considering to ban strikes across the country to restore order and ensure that workers go back to work.

Al Jazeera quoted a military source as saying that the Council would issue an order to ban meetings by labour unions or professional syndicates, effectively forbidding strikes, and would tell all Egyptians to get back to work.

Such an order could become another flashpoint in the country which is witnessing an atmosphere of chaos.

Over 20 days of turmoil has affected the economic well-being of the country, hampering businesses and tourism.

Emboldened by the success of the mass uprising, many workers and unions across the country have taken to strikes to demand better working conditions.

Hundreds of people gathered again in Cairo`s Tahrir Square today, many of them protesting against the police.

Earlier in the day, protesters in the square said they had been told by the army to leave or face arrest.

Scuffles had broken out yesterday between the soldiers and some of the protesters as the Army tried to clear the Square to enable normal traffic movement.