Egypt protesters plan a 'million man march' in Cairo

The so-called 'Shabab April 6' movement said it plans to have more than a million people on the streets of Cairo tomorrow, as anti-Mubarak sentiments reached a feverish pitch in the embattled nation.

As thousands of protesters converged on Tahrir Square -- the hub of the protests in the heart of Cairo -- their leaders served an ultimatum telling the army to choose between "Egypt or Mubarak", indicating that a decisive stage was nearing.

On his part, 82-year-old defiant Mubarak told his new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to bring in immediate reform to stem the tide. His instructions to Shafiq were read out on state tv but had no discernable effect on protesters who vowed to continue their demonstrations until Mubarak steps down.

Terming the reforms as "too little and too late," the protesters continued their sit-in at the Tahrir Square saying they would not budge till Mubarak resigns, with indications that Egyptian strongman's fate now hangs on the military.

As the focus shifted on the influential army for a smooth transition of power, protesters enforced a countrywide general strike.

Pro-democracy activist and Nobel Laureate Mohammad ElBaradei, who defied house arrest to join the protesters at the Tahrir Square last night, asked the embattled president to "step down today itself."

"It is loud and clear from everybody in Egypt that Mubarak has to leave today," ElBaradei said in an interview aired on CNN.

"He needs to leave today... to be followed by a smooth transition (to) a national unity government to be followed by all the measures set in place for a free and fair election."
Army positioned tanks around the square and were checking the identity papers, but were letting protesters in.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the last six days of violence crossed 150.Egyptian judges and scholars from world's prestigious Islamic seminary Al-Azhar joined mass protests, calling for an end to Mubarak's 30-year rule.

France 24 Television channel quoted a senior US official as saying that President Barack Obama's national security aides believe "Mubarak's time had passed".

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday called for an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt, saying the legitimate grievances of the people will have to be addressed.

In a desperate move to cling to power, Mubarak yesterday visited the military headquarters and met the newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman and top commanders after which more troops and armoured vehicles moved on to the streets.
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera channel put the death toll at 150 and said 4,000 people had been injured since protests began, while some other reports said over 100 had been killed.

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