Egypt’s government has started dropping dark hints that the military will stop playing nice if protests continue much longer, the New York Times reports. In a televised interview today, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told protesters that “if chaos occurs, the armed forces will intervene to control the country, a step which would lead to a very dangerous situation.” Those comments came after Omar Suleiman warned of the possibility of “a coup” if protesters refused to negotiate.
“We can’t bear this for a long time,” Suleiman said. He said the regime wanted to resolve the crisis through dialogue—“We don’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.” If dialogue fails, he said, “a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps.” Protesters took that badly. “He is threatening to impose martial law, which means everybody in the square will be smashed,” one protest leader told the Guardian. “But what would he do with the rest of the 70 million Egyptians who will follow us?”