Egyptian government officials join anti-Mubarak protests

Demonstrators gather in Cairo for “Friday of departure”

With no sign of the government supporters who clashed with protesters in Cairo two days ago, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Tahrir square for an eleventh straight day of demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak’s government. Several government officials, including Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League and a former foreign minister, and Mohamed Rafah Tahtawy, spokesman for Egypt’s highest state-run religious authority, appear to have aligned themselves with the protesters. The military has begun to gain some control over the chaos of the previous days. The government has also said it is open to negotiations with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, who in turn said they would not be presenting a candidate for the next election in September. “It is not a retreat,” said Mohammed el-Beltagui, a leading spokesman for the Brotherhood, said, “it is to take away the scare tactics that Hosni Mubarak uses to deceive the people here and abroad that he should stay in power.”

New York Times

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