Egyptian medical workers demonstrate in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. Egypt's foreign minister warns of a military coup if protesters continue mass demonstrations and don't follow a government-run framework for enacting gradual reform. The comments by Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit were the second veiled threat this week from the regime of a direct military takeover if protests persist. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
Cairo - President Hosni Mubarak will meet the demands of protesters, military and ruling party officials said Thursday in the strongest indication yet that Egypt’s longtime president may be about to give up power and that the armed forces were seizing control.
The military’s supreme council was meeting Thursday, without the commander in chief Mubarak, and announced on state TV its “support of the legitimate demands of the people.” A spokesman read a statement that the council was in permanent session “to explore “what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people.”
The statement was labelled “communique number 1,” a phrasing that suggests a military coup.
Footage on state TV showed Defense Minster Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi chairing the meeting of two dozen top stern-faced army officers, seated around a table. At Tantawi’s right was military chief of staff Gen. Sami Anan. Not present was Mubarak, the commander in chief and a former air force chief, or his vice president, Omar Suleiman, a former army general and intelligence chief named to his post after the protests erupted Jan. 25.
The head of the ruling party, Hossam Badrawi, told The Associated Press that he expects that Mubarak will “address the people tonight to respond to protesters demands.”