Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt army says ready to lift state of emergency

Egypt army says ready to lift state of emergency CAIRO: Egypt's powerful army said on Friday it would lift emergency law, promised a free presidential election and guaranteed other concessions to protesters but signalled it now wanted them off the streets.

The comments came after President Hosni Mubarak enraged protesters by handing powers to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, instead of quitting office now.

Protesters have called for big demonstration against Mubarak on Friday.

The army said in "Communiqué No. 2" that it "confirms the lifting of the state of emergency as soon as the current circumstances end," a promise that would remove a law imposed for 30 years that protesters say is used to stifle dissent.

The military, in the statement issued by its higher military council and read out on state television, pledged to ensure "the legislative amendments required to conduct a free and honest presidential election."

The army, whose role is seen as critical in the coming days in placating the masses, also said it would protect the nation but repeated a call for protesters to go home so life returned to normal.

Protests have knocked the economy.

The army "confirms the need to resume orderly work in the government installations and a return to normal life, preserve the interests and property of our great people."

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