- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s military ruler says the armed forces are prepared to hold a referendum on immediately transferring power to a civilian authority if people demand it.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi also told the nation in a televised address Tuesday that presidential elections will be held before June 30, but did not specifically mention a date for the transfer of power.

In his brief address, Tantawi sought to cast the military as the nation’s foremost patriots and angrily denounced what he called attempts to taint its reputation.

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square immediately rejected Tantawi’s proposal with chants of “erhal,” or leave.