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11.21.11

Egypt's Army Vows Speedy Power Transfer

Protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square are raging into their fourth day, with a "million-man march" planned for Tuesday. See the latest updates, including the detainment of three U.S. students.

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Egypt's Army Agrees to Transfer Power

Four days of protests can change powerful minds: Egypt’s ruling military agreed on Tuesday to hand over power by July 2012, a year earlier than expected. The move is the biggest concession yet to protesters, who have stormed Cairo’s Tahrir Square for four days and spurred clashes with security forces that have left 33 dead and many more injured. Parliamentary elections will continue as planned on Monday; the Muslim Brotherhood is tipped to win a hefty share of the votes.

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U.S. Students Detained

Three American students were arrested in Cairo's Tahrir Square as protests continued into the fourth day. The students, who attend the American University in Cairo, were accused of throwing Molotov cocktails. They were paraded on Egyptian state television as proof that the protests have been led by foreign interference. The U.S. embassy is currently investigating their arrest, and the sister of one of the students said Tuesday that her brother is being held in a courthouse, not a jail. Nicole Sweeney told the Guardian that she knew very little about what has happened with her 19-year-old brother Derrik, but said her family has been in touch with the State Department.

American Students Arrested in Egypt
Youtube.com

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Egypt Cabinet Quits

The Egyptian cabinet offered its resignation to the country’s military rulers Monday, but the move failed to quell protesters, who are planning their biggest recent demonstration. Some 20,000 camped out in Tahrir Square Monday night, and they are calling for a "million-man march" Tuesday afternoon to pressure the military to hand power over to civilian leaders. Since Saturday, a military crackdown has killed at least 33 people and injured hundreds or thousands more. Also on Tuesday, Amnesty International released a report saying the Egyptian military has “been responsible for a catalog of abuses which in some cases exceeds the record of Hosni Mubarak.” Politicians who attended the crisis meeting Tuesday said parliamentary elections will be held on time and will start on Nov. 28, and the presidential elections will be held before July, as the military council will form a salvation government "within days."

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Bedlam in Tahrir Square
By Mike Giglio & R. M. Schneiderman
Nov. 21, 2011 8:45 PM EDT

Ahmed Salah, a veteran Egyptian activist, stood in the middle of Cairo’s Mohamed Mahmoud Street as tear-gas canisters hissed nearby and protesters rushed their injured colleagues back to safety. “This is a war of attrition,” he said.

The street, which leads into Tahrir Square, is normally known as the home of the American University in Cairo. But in recent days it has become a front line in pitched battles between protesters and the Egyptian authorities.

One week before Egypt’s much-anticipated parliamentary elections, the streets have turned to bedlam once again. The decision by the military, which has run the country since strongman Hosni Mubarak resigned in February, to crack down on the remnants of a massive protest on Friday have reignited large segments of the opposition—many of them young and jobless, and some wielding rocks—who have once again piled into Tahrir Square and its nearby environs, demanding the free and fair election they called for earlier this year.

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Egypt Protests
Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP Photo

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Egypt Cracks Down on Protests
Nov. 21, 2011 6:26 AM EDT

Once the savior of the Egyptian people, the military is now battling against them. At least 24 people have died and more than 1,500 have been injured since Egypt’s military forces began trying to clear Cairo’s Tahrir Square of protesters Saturday. The demonstrators are demanding that the military hand over power in their longest continuous protest since they ousted Hosni Mubarak from power in February. Parliamentary elections are one week away from their scheduled date, but the Army retains executive power until a presidential election, which will not come until early 2013.

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