By TOM ENGLISH

A girl leads a chant PHOTO: Flickr/IokhaA girl leads a chant for thousands of protesters who attended a December rally in Cairo, Egypt, to call on Egypt’s military to transfer power to non-military leaders. The United States gives $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt’s military every year. PHOTO: Flickr/Iokha

A year after a people’s revolution in Egypt ousted a dictator, Egyptians still struggle to free themselves from military rule. Early in 2011, protesters demanded the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, more freedom and a non-military government. Under pressure from widespread demonstrations and strikes, Mubarak left office in February 2011 and gave power to a military junta (pronounced “hoonta”), or group of military officers.

Elections for parliament began on November 28, 2011, and took place over six weeks to determine Egypt’s new non-military leaders. However, many in Egypt are afraid that the elections won’t be fair and that the military will stay in power for a long time.

After the first round of elections, soldiers beat up judges and other people at vote-counting centers. On December 16, nine people were killed and 350 were injured when soldiers tried to break up an anti-military protest outside the Parliament building in Cairo, the Egyptian capital. Soldiers threw rocks, bottles and furniture on the protesters from the rooftops.

Late in December, for days, soldiers beat protesters including women. Soldiers were shown on video dragging a woman through the street by her hair with her clothing partially ripped off. Islama Thabet, an Egyptian protester, said on Democracy Now!, “They [the military council] have no problem doing that, so long as they get to stay in power and cover up their crimes, and the regime remains in place, protecting Mubarak and the previous regime, which has still not fallen.”