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Five Cabinet ministers said they had resigned from the Morsi government to join the protests, the state news agency MENA reported.

A majority of Egyptians who have turned out against Mr. Morsi support a temporary intervention by the military. On Sunday, protesters cheered as military helicopters flew over Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“The army is welcomed by the people to mediate a solution, not to rule again,” Moushira Khattab, a former Egyptian minister of family and population who joined the protesters in Cairo, said Monday in a Wilson Center conference call.

The military is the “last lifeline” for Egyptians, she said.

Nabil Fahmy, a former Egyptian ambassador to the United States who was also on the Wilson Center call, said the military’s statement “proves again that the only way out is that the army has to step in, not to rule, but to meet the people’s will.”

Eric Trager, an Egypt analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the demand for army intervention shows that Mr. Morsi has failed.

“The fact that this possibility is now on the table is a testament to the fact that Egypt’s state is on the verge of collapse, and that Morsi’s lack of control has rendered him a president in name only,” Mr. Trager said.

“Events may be moving too quickly for Morsi to reverse the campaign against him, but if he outlines a serious plan for navigating out of the current political crisis, such as a process for revising the constitution and mechanisms for more inclusive governance, he would likely win the military’s acquiescence, because the military does not want to rule the country again, given its sour previous experience,” he said.

Opposition activists, who have organized under the banner of “Tamarod,” or “Rebellion,” want Mr. Morsi to step down by 5 p.m. Tuesday or risk an escalation in the protests.

Tamarod claims to have collected 22 million signatures from Egyptians on its petition that calls on Mr. Morsi to step down. Egypt has a population of 85 million.

“[Mr. Morsi‘s] time is over,” Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, chairman of the Reform and Development Party in Egypt, said on the Wilson Center call. “This is sort of a correction to the revolution which has to take place.”

However, Mr. Morsi may be helped by disarray in the opposition and a lack of common vision and credibility among political parties.

Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters also have vowed to defend him, but their pro-government demonstrations are dwarfed by the anti-Morsi throngs.

Many supporters fear the tension will deteriorate into widespread conflict.

“The military has sacrificed legitimacy,” said Manal Shouib, a Morsi supporter, according to an Associated Press report. “There will be a civil war.”

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