Egypt crisis: Demonstrations Continue Amid government Talks Demonstrators in Egypt spent a 14th day in Cairo's Tahrir Square, as concessions offered by Hosni Mubarak, the president, were deemed not good enough by opponents to halt the revolt.
Anti-government protesters sit and lie inside the tracks of an Egyptian Army tank Photo: AP
Protesters sat under the tracks of army tanks deployed around the square, fearful that any movement by the military could be designed to drive out the protesters or abandon them to the mercy of pro-regime thugs.
In further signs of a return to normal life, the nightly curfew in three Egyptian cities including Cairo was pushed back to 8:00 pm to 6:00am.
Activists kept up the pressure by barring access to the Mugamma, the heart of Egypt's bureaucracy, which dominates the square, despite dozens of people trying to gain access to get documents such as passports processed.
In a mark of the tension, protesters seized a man with a petrol can they said was trying to set the building alight, fearing they would be blamed, and handed him over to the troops controlling access to the square.
Mr Mubarak, meanwhile, met at his presidential offices with Omar Suleiman, the vice president, Fathi Surur, the parliament speaker, and the head of Egypt's appeals court, Sari Siyam, according to reports.
On Sunday, Mr Suleiman - Mr Mubarak's key lieutenant and possible successor - tried to appease the revolt by inviting several opposition groups to join him on a panel to pilot democratic reform.
But the demonstrators were unimpressed and vowed to maintain their vigil.
Opposition parties, including the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, repeated their demand that Mr Mubarak himself must stand down or immediately delegate his powers to Mr Suleiman.
And there was scant relief for the strongman in the Western capitals where he was once hailed as a close ally and bulwark of Middle East stability.
The government said the parties agreed to set up a committee to examine constitutional amendments by March, while an office would look at complaints over the treatment of political prisoners and loosen media curbs.
A strict emergency law would be lifted "depending on the security situation," the government said.
But Mr Suleiman refused another key demand of the opposition, saying he would not assume Mr Mubarak's powers and rule in his place during the transition.
Not all of the opposition movements involved in the revolt against Mubarak's rule were present at the talks. Former UN nuclear watchdog head and leading dissident Mohamed ElBaradei was not invited, and has criticised the talks.
The Muslim Brotherhood, still officially banned, said it had agreed to take part in the talks because it wanted to determine if the government was serious about reform, but warned that the initial concessions were insufficient.