Egypt's Military Says it Will Withdraw from Tahrir Square

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Update (3:20 p.m. EST): Tantawi's speech has sparked violent clashes between protesters in Tahrir Square and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Reuters has a helpful live blog that is assembling the tweets of people on the ground and streaming live from Cairo. Folks an Twitter are reporting that the SCAF is using tear gas bombings to dispel the protesters. Meanwhile, protesters continue to chant, expressing distrust for Tantawi and rejecting his proposed referendum on the Army's continued role in the government. 

Update (12:58 p.m. EST): Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the chairman of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, appeared on state television to speak on the crisis talks. Al Jazeera reports that he confirmed Monday's elections would go on as planned, and "said the military would give up power and return to its barracks if the people approved such a move in a national referendum." He also "defended the military's conduct and said the army would never kill an Egyptian citizen." NPR's Andy Carvin, meanwhile, tweets: "AJE: The crisis in Egypt might've just deepened with that speech by Tantawi."

Update (12:06 p.m. EST): In its report on the agreement stemming from the crisis meeting, Al Jazeera brings news that the military has pledged to withdraw from Tahrir Square: "As part of the agreement, the military will withdraw forces from Tahrir Square, confine them to protecting public building, compensate the families of the victims, and bring to trial their killers."

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Update (11:51 a.m. EST): The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens that foreigners have been detained for photographing the unrest as the military responds:

All U.S. citizens should avoid Tahrir Square and the immediate surrounding area.  We also alert US citizens that there are restrictions on photographing military personnel and sites, bridges, and canals, including the Suez Canal.   Egyptian authorities may broadly interpret these restrictions to include other potentially sensitive structures, such as embassies, public buildings with international associations, and some religious edifices.  The Embassy has received reports of foreigners detained for photographing security forces and unfolding events in Cairo and other cities.

Update (11:45 a.m. EST): The military council has agreed to keep the date for parliamentary elections set for Nov. 28, tweets Cairo-based PR executive Aya Yousry, attributing the news to Al Arabiya.

The ruling military council in Egypt has accepted the resignation of the country's entire cabinet in the face of demonstrations that have increased in fervor over the last four days, and offered to end its rule by July, 2012. On Tuesday, demonstrators streamed into Tahrir Square for a "million-man march" demanding an end to military rule. After a five-hour crisis meeting, the military council agreed to accept the government's resignation, which it had rejected yesterday, and also to move up the date for a transfer of power to July 1, 2012, the Associated Press reports. The decision did not go down well with the protesters in Tahrir Square: "'We are not leaving, he leaves,' they chanted, referring to military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi."

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