REPORTING FROM CAIRO — Egypt's military rulers are in emergency talks with political groups Tuesday as thousands of protesters marched into Tahrir Square on the fourth day of pro-democracy rallies that have left at least 29 people dead.
The country is slipping further into crisis. The interim government's entire Cabinet has offered to step down, but it is uncertain if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will accept the resignations. Protesters say they will not leave the square until the ruling generals themselves relinquish power before parliamentary elections on Monday.
Police fired tear gas and attempted to keep demonstrators from reaching the nearby Interior Ministry, a long reviled symbol of state repression.
Protesters are angry not only at the military's refusal to cede authority to an elected government but also at political parties, including the dominant Muslim Brotherhood, for not strongly supporting the demonstrations. The Brotherhood, which is expected to win a major share of the seats in parliament, fears that the protests may jeopardize or delay the elections.
"I'm against all the political parties,” said Sayed Mahmoud Ali, a protester and restaurant owner. “They've been letting us down since Friday when they decided to abandon the sit-in. I'm leaving my work and family behind to be here, so what are politicians waiting for? It seems to me that politicians want to win the parliament and the presidency over the bodies of martyrs dying here in the square."
The nationwide demonstrations are being called the National Salvation Protest.
-- Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan
Photo: A riot police officer fires tear gas near Tahrir Square on Tuesday. Credit: Associated Press