Egypt army takes 'measures to protect nation'

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told the BBC that President Hosni Mubarak may step down and the situation in the country will be clarified soon, the British broadcaster said on Thursday.

Egypt’s army is expected to make a statement on Thursday in which it will respond to the demands of protests, satellite television said.

It said the higher council of the armed forces had held a meeting, but gave no further details.

Every step of the way, the basic fact of the uprising in Egypt has become more obvious and more explicit: with each new confrontation, the protestors have realised, and demonstrated, that they are more powerful than their oppressors.

Pro-democracy protesters consolidated a new encampment around Cairo’s Parliament building and the main focus of the opposition, Tahri Square, remained crowded.

Organisers were promising another major push on the streets on Friday when protesters said they plan to move on to the state radio and television building in “The Day of Martyrs” dedicated to the dead which the United Nations says could number 300.

Washington has pressured Mubarak to speed up the pace of reform but has stopped short of demanding the resignation of the president of Egypt which has a peace treaty with Israel and an army which receives about $1,3-billion in US aid a year. - Reuters

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