25 Nov 2011

Egypt military says sorry for protesters' deaths

7:57 am on 25 November 2011

Two of Egypt's most senior generals have apologised for the first time for the deaths of protesters in the unrest in Cairo and other cities during the past week.

However, the ruling military council has rejected calls to step down immediately.

At the same time, it has reaffirmed that parliamentary elections will go ahead as scheduled next week.

A BBC correspondent says Egypt's interim military rulers are doing their best to defuse political tensions in the run-up to next Monday's parliamentary elections, when around a third of the country's electoral districts are due to vote.

A senior general Mukhtar al-Mouallah says those elections will go on, asserting that the army does not want power and people do have the right to peaceful protest.

However, the protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square do not trust the military and many of them want the elections postponed until the generals stand down.