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Leadership of Egypt's ruling party resigns

Anti-government protesters shout in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. Leaders of Egypt's unprecedented wave of anti-government protests have held talks with the prime minister. State TV says the top leadership body of Egypt's ruling party, including the president's son Gamal Mubarak and the party secretary-general Safwat el-Sharif, resigned Saturday. (Khalil Hamra)
February 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The top leadership body of Egypt's ruling party resigned Saturday, in what's being described as a gesture apparently aimed at convincing anti-government protesters that the regime is serious about reform.

The ruling party leaders who resigned included the country's most powerful and most unpopular political figures.

The leaders who stepped down included the president's son Gamal Mubarak and the party secretary general Safwat el-Sharif.

But State TV, announcing the resignations, still identified head of state Mubarak as president of the ruling party in a sign he would remain in authority.

Egypt's prime minister says stability is returning after 12 days of escalating protests.

Ahmed Shafiq is suggesting that a resolution to the crisis can be reached without the immediate removal of President Hosni Mubarak, the country's leader for 30 years.

Thousands of protestors are still camped out in Cairo's Tahrir Square, but the mood Saturday was mostly calm.

Opposition leaders said the protests won't stop until the president leaves office. They held talks with Shafiq to discuss ways to remove him from office.

Under one proposal, the 82-year-old Mubarak would hand over power to Egypt's vice president but keep his title for a period of time.

Saturday, Mubarak assembled and met with his economic team in an effort to reassert his power.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that leaders in the Middle East should embrace democratic reforms despite the risk of short term instability.

Meantime, demonstrators gathered in the Westwood area of Los Angeles to show their support of the anti-government protesters in Egypt.

Roughly 75 people gathered with signs and placards along the intersection of Veteran Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard outside the Federal building around noon on Saturday.

The resignation of the top leaders of the Egyptian ruling party mean nothing to many, as protesters are demanding democracy and want nothing less than Mubarak to be ousted from office immediately.

"He's using this as an excuse for staying for nine months, and we all know that he's not going to leave after nine months. He's basically going to slaughter the opposition and just to twist his words again and continue ruling," protester Tamer Ali said about Mubarak.

The demonstrators said they intend to gather at the same intersection as long as protests continue in Egypt. This is the group's second protest, as they were also out last Saturday as well. They said they plan to protest again on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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