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Civil Rights – Egypt’s military rulers have agreed to speed up presidential elections, a key demand of the protestors flooding Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi said on national TV the elections would happen by July 2012. He also promised the seething crowds that the elections due next week would go ahead as planned.
“The armed forces, represented by their Supreme Council, do not aspire to govern and put the supreme interest of the country above all considerations,” he said.
“They are fully prepared to immediately hand over power and to return to their original duty in protecting the homeland if that what they people want [sic], through a popular referendum if necessary,” he added.
The announcement came following days of oft-violent protests in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the movement that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak last spring.
Witnesses said that the bulk of the protestors were not appeased by the military’s latest concessions, chanting: “We are not leaving, he [Tantawi] leaves.”
As crisis talks occurred between the military and political leaders, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf spoke briefly to reporters and pleaded for calm.
“All I ask of the people is that they leave, calm down. We have responded to what they wanted. We were so close to our main goal which is the elections. This is what is important, the political shift,” he said.
It is a plea that will likely go unheeded as chaos continues to reign throughout Egypt.
Read more at BBC.