Roads Shut as Masses Descend on Cairo

Military pledges not to fire on protesters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2011 3:41 AM CST
An effigy depicting President Hosni Mubarak is seen hanging on a traffic light as anti-government protesters gather in Tahrir square in downtown Cairo today.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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(Newser) – Authorities have shut down all roads and public transportation to Cairo as anti-government protesters gather for what organizers say will be the biggest day of protests yet, security officials tell AP. Organizers hope a million people will gather in the city's Tahrir Square to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The square has been the epicenter of a week of escalating protests.

In what is seen as a sign that Mubarak has lost the support of the military, an army spokesman went on state TV to pledge that the military recognizes the "legitimacy of the people's demands" and will not fire on protesters. Army tanks and troops have surrounded Tahrir Square for days but have not prevented people from joining the protests. "He only needs a push!" is one of the most frequent chants among protesters in the square.

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