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Egypt's interim government offers to step down as protests rage

November 21, 2011 | 12:59 pm


REPORTING FROM CAIRO -- As clashes intensified Monday between thousands of protesters and riot police, Egypt’s interim government offered to resign. The move called into question the legitimacy of the country’s military rulers who for months have faced increasing demands that they step aside for a new democracy.

It was unclear, however, if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would accept the resignations of the Cabinet members, which were seen as an attempt to calm three consecutive days of deadly protests that have shaken the nation ahead of next week’s parliamentary elections.

It was also uncertain whether the gestures would appease protesters whose main target of derision has been the ruling generals.

The resignation offers came as battles between protesters and security forces intensified around the Interior Ministry in Cairo. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at mobs surging toward the long reviled symbol of state oppression.

The violence, which has killed at least 22 people and injured more than 1,400, has further unnerved a nation whose democratic ambitions after the fall of Hosni Mubarak have been stalled by a group of generals.


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-- Jeffrey Fleishman

Photo: Riot policemen during clashes with protesters along a debris-strewn side street near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Monday. Credit: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters