Protesters have been demanding that officials appointed by former president Hosni Mubarak be dismissed [AFP]

Egypt's ruling military council has decided to replace some provincial governors who had been appointed by Hosni Mubarak, the country's former president who was toppled by a popular uprising on February 11, state television has said.

Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square have been demanding that the military council, which is provisionally running the country until elections in September, implement a number of reforms.

More than 1,000 people demonstrated in the square for a third straight day on Sunday, with the removal of provincial governors appointed by Mubarak one of their key demands.

The protesters are also demanding that Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein, the head of the military council, step down.

Tantawi was appointed defence minister by Mubarak and served under him for many years.

Some protesters brandished an effigy of Tantawi in the square, the roads into which were blocked by barbed wire.

"What is wanted is a civilian council," read one slogan, while some protesters chanted: "The people demand that the field marshal be toppled".

A dozen armoured personnel carriers that were full of troops waited near the square, but remained out of sight of the protesters.

The protesters, who had occupied the square overnight, had prepared themselves for an army raid in the early hours of Sunday, after the military had warned that it would enforce a 0200 to 0500 curfew.

Protesters were seen rushing to their barricades several times when those manning them raised the alarm regarding the presence of either "thugs" or security forces.

Growing complaints

Egypt's military rulers have enjoyed broad support since the uprising against Mubarak, but complaints against them have steadily been growing.

On Friday, thousands of protesters packed into the square in one of the biggest demonstrations to take place since Mubarak was ousted.

A hard core of protesters remained in the square overnight, protecting at least seven army officers who had joined them, in contravention of explicit orders not to do so from military authorities.

Army and security forces raided the square early on Saturday morning to break up the protest, resulting in the death of at least one person and injuries to 71 others.

Soldiers and police used tasers and batons to try to drive out the protesters.
   
The army blamed the violence on members of Mubarak's National Democratic Party.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the best organised opposition political movement, has described those protesting against the military as "zealots", and has refused to condone their demonstrations.

"The Muslim Brotherhood condemns any attempt to weaken [the military's relationship with the people], and especially attempts to cause any split between the military and the people or to pit them against each other," it said in a statement.

"It is apparent that there are those who are striving to accomplish that from the remnants of the old regime, and some zealots who do not consider consequences."

Source: Agencies