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Egypt in crisis as Tahrir spirit returns

“Leave!” thousands of Egyptian protesters told military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi from Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday, 10 months after the same call toppled his former boss Hosni Mubarak.

world Updated: Nov 23, 2011 00:38 IST

“Leave!” thousands of Egyptian protesters told military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi from Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday, 10 months after the same call toppled his former boss Hosni Mubarak.

Tens of thousands of protesters swarmed Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday to demand and end to military rule, heightening tension amid deadly clashes that threaten to derail legislative polls next week.

As the protesters streamed into the iconic square, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) was locked in crisis talks with a number of political forces in a bid to defuse the crisis, state media reported.

A military source said the idea was discussed of forming a new government headed by former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei, or Abdelmoneim Abul Futuh, a presidential hopeful and former member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s de facto ruler, was to address the nation later Tuesday, state television said.

Those at Tahrir square indicated they would want to hear nothing less than an announcement of an end to the rule of SCAF, which took over when Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular revolt in February.

Power transfer

Two Egyptian politicians say the ruling military has moved up the date for transferring power to a civilian government to July 1, 2012. Abu al-alla Madi and Mohammed Selim el-Awa, who attended a five-hour crisis meeting with the military rulers, said the council also accepted the resignation of PM Essam Sharaf’s government and will form a “national salvation” Cabinet to replace it.