Supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak intend to take to the streets in Cairo, Suez and Ismailia on Tuesday to test their strength against a crowd of protesters demanding Mubarak's resignation, the Al Arabia satellite channel reported.
Thousands of opposition supporters are gathering on Cairo's central Tahrir Square for a major demonstration seen as the biggest challenge so far to Mubarak's three-decade rule. The opposition has claimed the protest will involve a "million people" angered with Mubarak's non-democratic policies and demanding major political reforms in the country.
Although sporadic clashes between protesters and supporters of the ruling National Democratic Party have been reported since the outbreak of the protests on January 25, the latter have so far refrained from large-scale demonstrations despite the fact that the ruling party involves some 3.5 million members.
The National Democratic Party's offices across Egypt have been frequently attacked by demonstrators and looters since the beginning of the riots.
The unrest in the country, which has already claimed the lives of at least 150 people and injured some 4,000, is likely to turn even more violent if clashes break out between Mubarak supporters and protesters.
The Egyptian Army, which both Mubarak and protesters have laid their hopes on to help resolve the situation in the country, has already pledged not to fire on protestors if it is ordered to.
In a statement quoted by the state-run Mena news agency, the military said it respected the "legitimate rights of the people."
"The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and well-being. The armed forces will not resort to the use of force against our great people," it said.
Mubarak formed a new cabinet on Monday, but the move has done little to appease the demonstrators.
A local newspaper reported on Monday that Omar Suleiman, the former intelligence chief whom Mubarak appointed the country's vice-president last Friday, has proposed a plan aimed at easing tension in the country, which includes Mubarak's resignation.
Suleiman also proposed a major reshuffle in the ruling party's leadership, the Al-Shorouk newspaper said.
CAIRO, February 1 (RIA Novosti)