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Thousands Fill Tahrir Square For 'Last Chance' Protest

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November 24, 2011: A boy looks at Egyptian Army soldiers standing guard atop a concrete block barricade on the street between Tahrir Square and the interior ministry in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

Tens of thousands of protesters chanting, "Leave, leave!" are rapidly filling up Cairo's Tahrir Square in what promises to be a massive demonstration to force Egypt's ruling military council to yield power.

The Friday rally is dubbed by organizers as "The Last Chance Million-Man Protest," and comes one day after the military offered an apology for the killing of nearly 40 protesters in clashes on side streets near Tahrir over the last week.

The military also says that parliamentary elections due to start Monday will go ahead on schedule.

At the same time, Egyptian state television reported the nation's ruling military has asked a Mubarak-era prime minister to head the next government.

Kamal el-Ganzouri, 78, served as prime minister in the 1990s under President Hosni Mubarak, toppled in a popular uprising in February. The Friday television announcement followed a meeting between el-Ganzouri and military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi the night before.

El-Ganzouri will replace Essam Sharaf, who resigned this week amid deadly clashes between police and protesters calling for the military to immediately step down.

El-Ganzouri's appointment was likely to anger the protesters, already seething over the military's perceived reluctance to dismantle the legacy of Mubarak's 29-year rule.

The protest is expected to peak after Friday prayers in the square.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene says pro-reform leader and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed El-Baradei has arrived in the square and is expected to join the prayers.