Thousands of people have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to mark the first anniversary of the popular protests that dislodged former president Hosni Mubarak who ruled the country for 30 years with an iron fist.

The interim military government is planning to celebrate the anniversary with parades in Alexandria City, air shows in Cairo and fireworks across the country and, according to Al Jazeera, will issue commemorative coins and honour civil servants.

Mubarak and his sons are on trial on charges of killing protesters during the anti-government demonstrations.

Political activists started gathering at Tahrir Square on the eve of the 25 January anniversary, accoridng to a BBC report. They were demanding that Hussein Tantawi, who heads the military council, step down.

The demonstrators also wanted members of the military council to stay away from drafting Egypt's new constitution, as there are fears that they might make the military more powerful.

A new president is expected to be elected by June. The council has announced that they would step down once a new head of state is elected.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Saad al-Katatni has been elected the speaker of parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned for several years during Mubarak's regime, has won most of the seats in parliamentary elections. The party will join the celebrations but has refrained from demanding the resignation of members of the military council.