gheit and suleiman_311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said he will release non-violent youths detained during protests, Reuters reported on Thursday.
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Suleiman added that violent protesters in Tahrir Square will be punished.
Also Thursday, Egyptian state television quoted Suleiman as saying that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's son will not seek to succeed his father in elections later this year, in the the latest concession to anti-government protesters.
It was widely believed that Mubarak was grooming his son Gamal, 46, to succeed him despite significant public opposition.
In related news, the Egyptian attorney-general on Thursday issued a travel ban and froze the bank accounts of several former ministers that are being investigated, Egyptian state television reported.
One of the ministers is reportedly former interior minister Habib el-Adly who is being investigated for pulling police out of Tahrir Square last week. With police absent from the area, there was looting in Cairo.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik on Thursday apologized for the attack by regime supporters on anti-government protesters in central Cairo, vowing to investigate who was behind it.
The protesters have accused the regime of sending a force of paid thugs and policemen in civilian clothes to attack them with rocks, sticks and firebombs to crush their movement to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Shafik told state TV, "I offer my apology for everything that happened yesterday because it's neither logical nor rational."
The public apology from a top government official was highly unusual. Shafik called the attack a "blatant mistake" and promised to investigate "so everyone knows who was behind it."
On Wednesday, pro-Mubarak demonstrators told The Jerusalem Post
that they were not sent by the government
asked about claims by many in the opposition that they were being paid
by Mubarak to come out and rally in the president’s favor, the crowd
became hostile, shouting in English and Arabic that they are poor, and
saying they have never received a dime.
The pro-Mubarak crowds
have also been accused of being police in civilian clothing, sent in to
crush the demonstrations, a claim they also denied. It has also been
reported that many of them were bussed in from Cairo’s slums.Ben Hartman contributed to this report.