Mubarak 'ready to bow to demands'

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Egyptian lawyers in black robes are stopped by anti-riot police officers in Cairo's Tahrir Square (AP)

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will speak to the nation and meet protesters’ demands, military and ruling party officials have said.

Protesters have insisted that he step down immediately.

Military officials said the armed forces’ supreme council met on Thursday and would issue a statement that they claimed would meet the demands of the protesters.

The ruling party chief, Hossan Badrawi, told the Associated Press he expected Mr Mubarak to address the nation and make an announcement that would satisfy their demands.

The military’s supreme council announced on state TV its “support of the legitimate demands of the people.”

A spokesman said the council was in permanent session to explore “what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people”.

General Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, told thousands of protesters in central Tahrir Square, “All your demands will be met today.”

Meanwhile, a formal corruption investigation has been launched against three former Egyptian government ministers and a former ruling party leader.

State television said the investigation was targeting former commerce minister Rachid Mohammed Rachid, former tourism minister Zuhair Garana, and former housing minister Ahmed Maghrabi.

Ahmed Ezz, a steel tycoon and former senior figure in the ruling party, is also under investigation. Mr Ezz, an MP, is a close confidant of President Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal.

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