CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak assembled his economy team on Saturday, the Egyptian media reported, as thousands of anti-government protesters remained camped out on Cairo's Tahrir, or Liberation, Square.
The political crisis that engulfed the country since Jan. 25 has cost Egypt an estimated $3.1 billion, with the ensuing violence driving a nation once seen as a pillar of stability to the brink of chaos.
The state MENA news agency said Mubarak's meetings took place Saturday morning in the presidential palace in Heliopolis, a Cairo suburb miles away from the events in the city center. The report said the oil minister, the financial minister, the Central Bank governor and other top economy officials were present.
On Friday, a rally of nearly 100,000 anti-government protesters failed to force the ruler of 30 years to relinquish power despite pressure from the Obama administration for a swift exit to allow for a path toward democracy.
The mood among the crowd of several thousand in Tahrir Square was calm, in a marked contrast to clashes earlier in the week between anti-government protesters and Mubarak supporters.
Egyptian troops, deployed on the square's periphery, are controlling access and checking IDs of those entering. Security forces also tried to clear some of the entrance roads, remove charred hulks of cars and other debris, remnants of the pitched street battles earlier in the week.
Opposition leaders have said the protests would not end until Mubarak leaves office. In an apparent attempt to pace themselves, protest leaders have said the main rallies in Tahrir Square would take place on Tuesdays and Fridays.
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