Egyptian military calls for end to demonstrations

Egyptian anti-government protesters gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) square, watch a screen showing U.S. President Barack Obama live on a TV broadcast from Washington DC, speaking about the situation in Egypt, early Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

CAIRO, Feb 02 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP)  – The Egyptian military called Wednesday for an end to more than a week of demonstrations demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down immediately after nearly 30 years in power.

“Your message has arrived, your demands became known,” military spokesman Ismail Etman said on state television in an address directed to young protesters. “You are capable of bringing normal life to Egypt.”

Internet service also began returning to Egypt after days of an unprecedented cutoff by the government.

Mubarak’s embattled regime and the powerful military appear to be making a unified push to end a street movement to drive the 82-year-old leader out.

The movement built on the work of online activists is fueled by deep frustration with an autocratic regime blamed for ignoring the needs of the poor and allowing corruption and official abuse to run rampant.

After years of tight state control, protesters emboldened by the Tunisia unrest took to the streets on Jan. 25 and mounted a once-unimaginable series of protests across this nation of 80 million.

The army gave a tacit endorsement to the movement on Monday by saying it would not use force against protesters and that they had legitimate demands. On Tuesday, the protesters brought more than 250,000 people into Cairo’s main square to demand Mubarak leave within days.

Mubarak issued a defiant response in an address to the nation around 11 p.m., announcing he would serve out the last months of his term and “die on Egyptian soil.” He promised not to seek re-election, but that did not calm public fury as clashes erupted between his opponents and supporters.

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