Cairo, Feb 01 (Jagran News Network):  As anti-Mubarak sentiments reached a crescendo on Tuesday with the "million man march" to demand the Egyptian President’s ouster, Opposition’s Mohamed ElBaradei asked the beleaguered leader to step down by Friday.

As a quarter million people marched to the house of the President in Cairo, the UN estimated that at least 300 protesters may have been killed at the hands of security forces.

Protesters poured into Tahrir, or Liberation Square, among them people defying a government transportation shutdown. The peaceful crowd stood shoulder to shoulder — schoolteachers, farmers, unemployed university graduates, women in headscarves and women in high heels, men in suits and working-class men in scuffed shoes.

ElBaradei asked Mubarak to not just quit but also leave Egypt. His demand came even as In a fresh bid to defuse the crisis, an embattled Mubarak, 82, offered to open "immediate talks" with opposition groups as pressure mounted on him to quit.

His offer moved none.

"The word on the streets in Cairo is no longer that Mubarak should go but, that he should be put on trial," the former UN nuclear chief inspector has told a UK daily.

In the backdrop of massive uprising in Cairo, ElBaradei, who is tipped to become an interim President in case Mubarak bolts, claimed that time was fast running out.

"It is now a matter of hours and days. There is no longer a question now that Mubarak will stay," ElBaradei, the choice of eight major opposition groups leading the revolt in Egypt said.

Sensing strong public sentiments, the military made it clear that it would not crush Tuesday's mass anti-government protests and said the protesters demands were "legitimate."

"To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people ... have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people," the military said in a statement on state TV.