A Military Coup in Cairo?

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by Chris Bodenner

Many commentators are reading the tea leaves today, including Blake Hounshell:

A military spokesman popped up to say that the military would meeting regularly to discuss the situation in the country, noting that the people's demands were "legitimate." Neither Mubarak nor his deputy Omar Suleiman were shown to be present at the meeting. So, are actually witnessing a military coup?

The NYT has more on the Army's sudden visibility. AJE provides more clues:

7:53pm: Leader of opposition Karama movement tells Al Jazeera he believes "the military approached Mubarak and told him it was time to go".

7:50pm: More on that concern of the Muslim Brotherhood. " It looks like a military coup," said the Brotherhood's Essam al-Erian. "I feel worry and anxiety. The problem is not with the president, it is with the regime."

6:44pm: Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports the military presence in downtown Cairo has increased in recent hours, with greater numbers of tanks making a highly visible presence.

Scott Lucas wonders:

Is there a clue in this message from Saeed Ahmed of CNN, "Egypt State TV changes tone, runs promo showing protestors shaking hands with military, saying 'Egypt is Changing'."

The Lede:

[CNN correspondent Ben] Wedeman added that "the change in State TV's tone is fascinating." After attempting to demonize or just ignore the protesters on the streets for the past two weeks, now, Mr. Wedeman reports, "Nile TV has really changed its tone: they heart Tahrir."

(Photo: Egyptian anti-government demonstrators perform the evening prayers in front of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) as tens of thousands gather at Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 10, 2011 on the 17th day of consecutive protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. By Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images)

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