The Egyptian army has called on the country's President, Mohammed Morsi, to "heed the will of the people," saying that if the situation does not improve within 48 hours, it will intervene. President Obama also urged the Islamist leader to respond to protesters.
Morsi, whose cabinet looks increasingly shaky after five reported ministerial resignations, has agreed to hold new presidential elections. The move comes just two and a half years after the army forced Egypt's previous leader, President Hosni Mubarak, to stand down, in the first wave of the Arab Spring uprising.
The cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez have all seen large-scale demonstrations from people unhappy with the direction the Muslim Brotherhood politician is taking the country. Egypt has been a secular nation for some years now, but there are fears that Morsi is taking the country down an Islamist route. Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei has been nominated by the opposition to negotiate with the government, which is standing firm on its "national reconciliation plan" policy.