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February 4th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Tens of thousands mass in Cairo's Tahrir Square

CNN Wire Staff

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) - Egypt's burgeoning reform movement drew tens of thousands of people, undeterred by deadly clashes and government crackdowns, to Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday for a mass rally with a single message for the president: "Leave."

Among the demonstrators were the secretary-general of the Arab League and the spokesman for the largest center of Sunni Muslim learning, two men representing pillars of authority.

The central Cairo plaza transformed from a bloody battleground to the scene of a largely peaceful political rally dubbed "Day of Departure" as Egyptians gave embattled President Hosni Mubarak until the end of the day to relinquish power.

Attempts to defuse the crisis, meanwhile, seemed to be going nowhere. Government brass had signaled a wish to meet with opposition leaders but those talks have not gotten traction, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

Vice President Omar Suleiman's offer to meet opposition groups fell flat, said the official who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the rapidly evolving situation. No key opposition leaders showed up.

That opposition, a disparate group of at least six factions and political groups nominally headed by Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, is still "jockeying," the official said, hedging their bets on how events will play out. Some have refused to negotiate until Mubarak steps down.

Day 11 of the uprising was mostly jubilant in Tahrir Square, but tensions remained high.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Middle East
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Doreen Kaplan

    QUESTION did the elderly American get escorted safely out of her apartment?? Seen no news on this

    February 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm |