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Egyptian PM: Arrests of journalists "not allowed"

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Egypt's state brutality
  • Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq says journalists are not to be arrested
  • Shafiq: Conditions in Cairo "extremely better than yesterday"
  • Mubarak still planning to stay in office until September elections

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told CNN Sunday that authorities have been told "not to bother" human rights activists and journalists working at anti-government protests.

If there have been such problems, they are "not intended," Shafiq told CNN's Candy Crowley.

Arrests of journalists and human rights activists "are not allowed at all," he said.

The government is listening to the ideas of those behind the demonstrations, he said.

Shafiq described conditions in Cairo Sunday as "extremely better than yesterday." He added, "Hopefully tomorrow will get better."

Though protesters are calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately, the president has not changed his plan to remain in office until the next elections in September, the prime minister said.

Hala Gorani ventures into Cairo
  • Egypt
  • Ahmed Shafiq
  • Hosni Mubarak

"A lot of points must be covered before he leaves," Shafiq said, adding that the months ahead will make it easier for the government to "fulfill the mission" of preparing for new leadership.