Cairo/London, Jan 30 (Agencies): Firing his Cabinet, Hosni Mubarak appointed intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as deputy president, as US President Barack Obama told his Egyptian counterpart to avoid violence, which is spinning out of control.

Mubarak said in a televised, 11-minute speech: "I have asked the government to resign." He appointed Ahmed Shafik, the former aviation minister, as prime minister. "Omar Suleiman has been sworn in as deputy to President Hosni Mubarak," sources said.

The demand for Mubarak's resignation reached a crescendo with thousands of demonstrators demanding that he step down. The protestors recently gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo, where anti-government demonstrations kicked off peacefully before turning violent in the following days.

Witnesses said several tanks were parked near the square. Egyptians have been taking to the streets since Tuesday, demanding Mubarak's ouster. A demonstrator said: "All people can die, to hell with us all - only Hosni Mubarak wants to live."

The government has banned unauthorised protests and warned protesters that they would be dealt with swiftly. "Down with Mubarak", chanted the protesters.

In Cairo, police have used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protesters at the interior ministry. The military continued to patrol the streets with tanks and armoured vehicles as demonstrators defied the overnight curfew, ordered by Mubarak for Cairo, Suez and Alexandria but later extended nationwide.