[Updated at 12:53 p.m. ET] The military council that has led Egypt since protesters ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February has accepted the resignation of Egypt's Cabinet, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi said Tuesday.
Tantawi's comments come after four days of protests and violence in Cairo. Demonstrators have been calling for the fall of the military council; 29 protesters have died in clashes with security forces since Saturday, said Hisham Sheeha, spokesman for Egypt's Health Ministry.
Egypt's Cabinet offered to resign Monday night. Justice Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz al-Juindy explained that this move to quit the government was driven by opposition to security forces' crackdown on demonstrators.
Tantawi, addressing his country in a televised address Tuesday evening, said that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is "only concerned about the security of the country and the interests of the country" and doesn't want to rule. He said protesters are trying to "drag us back into the past," and that the military-led government is "trying hard to be tolerant."
"The armed forces are always with the people," he said, adding that the armed forces would never be allowed to shoot at the Egyptian people.
After Mubarak's fall, military leaders took control with the promise that eventually a civilian government would be elected and take over. Military leaders still say they will hand over power to a new government when one is elected. However, while parliamentary elections are set to take place Monday, a complex electoral process follows, and the presidential vote could be a year away.
Demonstrators say they are concerned the military, which would continue to be Egypt's top authority until a president is in place, wants to keep a grip on the country. Many also have voiced anger about a proposed constitutional principle that would shield the military's budget from scrutiny by civilian powers. They say they worry the military would become a state within a state.
[Initial post, 12:11 p.m. ET] Egyptian officials have reached an agreement on a national government, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency.FULL STORY