Egypt's military has thrown its weight behind President Hosni Mubarak's decision not to resign but to transfer most of his powers to his vice president.
Friday's statement is likely to further enrage protesters who have marched to Mubarak's Cairo palace and other key symbols of the hated regime in a new push to force the president out.
The statement — the second in two days — comes after a meeting of the military's Supreme Council, led by the defense minister.
The military says it endorses Mubarak's plan for a peaceful transfer of power and free and fair presidential elections later this year.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
CAIRO (AP) — Several hundred protesters have gathered outside the presidential palace in Cairo, calling on Egypt's longtime authoritarian ruler to step down.
The protesters are separated from the al-Ouruba palace gate by four army tanks and barbed wire. Army troops at the scene Friday are not preventing more protesters from joining the crowd.
It's not immediately known whether Mubarak was at the palace in the Heliopolis area.
Protesters are enraged by Mubarak's latest refusal to step down and have promised mass protests to drive him out.
One demonstrator near the palace, teacher Mahmoud Abdel-Wahid, says Mubarak "got the message but he is ignoring it."