Egypt Army Admits 'Legitimacy' of Protest Demands

CAIRO -- Egypt's military says it recognizes "the legitimacy of the people's demands" and promised to guarantee "freedom of expression" ahead of a planned escalation of the country's week-old anti-government protests.

A military spokesman, Ismail Etman, has appeared on state TV saying the military "has not and will not use force" against protesters, but he urged them not to commit acts harming security or damage property.

The statement was the strongest sign to date that the military will allow week-old protests to continue and even grow as long as they are peaceful. The statement did not specify what demands the military views as legitimate -- but the main demand by protesters is the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.