Egyptian defense minister visits Tahrir Square

10:20, February 05, 2011      

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Egyptian Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi inspected Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo where pro- and anti-government protesters clashed in the past two days, the state TV reported on Friday.

On Friday, dubbed as the "Day of Departure," thousands of protesters gathered in the square to force President Hosni Mubarak, who said he will not seek another term when his presidential term ends in September, to immediately end his 30-year-old rule.

The protests are expected to reach a peak after the Friday prayers, but the TV said a lot of protesters expressed their desire to end their rally and the army said it would guarantee their safe exit from the square.

The defense minister was talking to the demonstrators who are gathering for a possible pivotal point.

"The army and the people are united," protestors chanted over loudspeaker.

Armed forces announced Friday that all Tahrir exits are safe for protesters who want to leave the square, and that the military will provides cars to transport protesters to their homes.

Vice President Omar Suleiman said in an interview on Thursday " military forces' task is to protect people with all their constitutional and lawful rights, but now it has a new role to protect citizens and stand against outlaws and looters.

Source: Xinhua
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