Egypt military calls for end to protests as Mubaraks vows to step down

The Egyptian military has called for an end to more than a week of demonstrations and for protestors to return home, saying it was for the sake of stability in the country.

The announcement came after President Hosni Mubarak said he would relinquish power in September.

Ismail Etman, a military spokesman, said: “Your message has arrived, your demands became known. You are capable of bringing normal life to Egypt.”

The announcement came as internet service began to return to Egypt, while a night-time curfew was relaxed, and now runs from 5pm to 7am instead of 3pm to 8am.

On Tuesday, more than 250,000 protestors congregated in Cairo’s main square to demand Mubarak leave within days.

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Crowds were also building in the capital for a ninth day of protests to try to force out the president earlier than September.

The army gave a tacit endorsement to the protests on Monday by saying it would not use force against demonstrators, saying that they had legitimate demands

President Mubarak issued an address to the nation around 11pm, announcing he would serve out the last months of his term and “die on Egyptian soil.”

He promised not to seek re-election, however that failed to calm the public outcry, as clashes erupted between his opponents and supporters.

The US president, Barack Obama, spoke to Mubarak following the announcement of Egyptian president to step down in September.

Obama said: “What is clear and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now.”

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, also called for a rapid transition “without delay”.

Turkey’s prime minister Tayyip Erdogan, an influential voice in the Arab world, said Mr Mubarak’s plan step down did not meet the people’s expectations and the change should begin sooner rather than later.