(Reuters) - Protesters called for a push on Tuesday to eject President Hosni Mubarak from power after the government conceded little ground in talks with the opposition and sought to squeeze demonstrators out of central Cairo.
The protesters barricaded in a tent camp in Tahrir Square have vowed to stay until Mubarak quits and hope to take their two-week campaign to the streets with more mass demonstrations on Tuesday and Friday.
Tuesday’s demonstrations will test the protesters’ ability to maintain pressure on the government after Mubarak, 82, refused calls to end his 30-year rule now. He has said he will stay until an election in September but will not run in it.
Hundreds of thousands of people took part in previous demonstrations and the United Nations says 300 people may have died so far.
Egyptian opposition figures have reported little progress in talks with the government.
The Muslim Brotherhood, by far the best organised opposition group, said on Monday it could quit the process if protesters’ demands were not met, including the immediate exit of Mubarak. U.S. President Barack Obama however said the talks were making progress. “Obviously, Egypt has to negotiate a path and they’re making progress,” he told reporters in Washington.
The United States, adopting a cautious approach to the crisis, has urged all sides to allow time for an “orderly transition” to a new political order in Egypt, for decades a strategic ally.
But protesters worry that when Mubarak does leave, he will be replaced not with the democracy they seek but with another authoritarian ruler.