Cairo: Tensions are still high on Egyptian streets and new rulers are grappling with political and economic aftermath after President Hosni Mubarak was forced to quit a month ago.

On February 11, newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman somberly announced on state television that Mubarak had quit after nearly three decades of autocratic rule and had handed over powers to the military.

In less than a minute Egypt was turning a momentous page in its history-a mere 18 days after the revolt to unseat Mubarak was unleashed-with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces assuming the delicate transition.

As joy exploded across Tahrir Square, where anti-Mubarak forces had camped in defiance of his regime, the 20-member junta pledged to steer the Arab world's most populous nation into democracy and to restore civil rights.

But the euphoria in the square, the epicentre of the protests, was soon dampened by feelings of uncertainty.

Political instability, economic hardships and sectarian violence have rocked Egypt in the days that followed the ouster of Mubarak, despite efforts by the country's new rulers to clean house.

Former cabinet ministers and prominent businessmen close to the ousted regime have been arrested and put on trial as protesters turned the heat on the authorities to purge the country of diehard Mubarak loyalists.

Ex-interior minister Habib al-Adly was the first to go and replaced by Mansour Essawy, who vowed that police would be back on the streets amid efforts to restore security.

The anti-government protests that erupted on January 25 saw violent clashes between Adly's forces and demonstrators, and left at least 384 dead and more than 6,000 injured. Adly's trial for money laundering opened March 5.

Two days earlier the army appointed a new Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf who had joined the protesters in Tahrir Square during the demonstrations calling for the ouster of Mubarak, political and economic reforms.

Sharaf first public act was to go to Tahrir Square on March 4 to pledge that he will work for a democratic system.

Three days later his new cabinet was sworn in. The military also announced that a referendum on constitutional changes will be held on March 19 ahead of plans to hold legislative and presidential elections -- key demands by the protesters.

A month after Mubarak's ouster, the economy, much of which rests on tourism revenues, remains fragile and is a key challenge facing Egypt's new rulers.

(Agencies)