Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's son will not attempt to succeed his father in elections later this year in deference to anti-government protesters, according to a report on state television.
Vice-President Omar Suleiman on Thursday announced the intentions of Gamal Mubarak, who had long been expected to succeed his father, something widely opposed by Egyptians.
Suleiman's announcement came as Egyptian soldiers worked to separate anti-government demonstrators and supporters of the president at Cairo's Tahrir Square, the site of deadly clashes between the groups.
But the fighting continued, with both sides hurling stones at each other and gunshots heard in the area.
CBC's David Common, reporting from Cairo, said it appeared that soldiers fired over the heads of pro-Mabarak supporters in an effort to keep them apart from the anti-government group.
He said early Thursday morning that a pickup truck with Mubarak supporters drove into a crowd of anti-government demonstrators.
The pro-Mubarak supporters were pulled out of the truck and "beaten relentlessly" by the large crowd.
The groups repeatedly clashed Wednesday, leaving five people dead and more than 800 wounded.
The two sides traded volleys of rocks and Molotov cocktails for much of Wednesday night, until automatic gunfire and powerful single shots rained into the square starting at around 4 a.m. and continuing for more than two hours.
"Most of the casualties were the result of stone throwing and attacks with metal rods and sticks. At dawn today, there were gunshots," Health Minister Ahmed Samih Farid told state television.
"The real casualties taken to hospital were 836, of which 86 are still in hospital and there are five dead."
Soldiers had not intervened in the clashes, other than firing warning shots.
The Associated Press reported that four tanks cleared a highway overpass from where Mubarak supporters had hurled rocks and firebombs onto the protesters.
Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq apologized for the attacks on demonstrators.
"This is a fatal error," he said. "When investigations reveal who is behind this crime and who allowed it to happen, I promise they will be held accountable and will be punished for what they did."
Several foreign journalists have been injured in the melee, including reporters from Radio-Canada, CNN, the New York Times and The Associated Press.
Some were directly attacked while others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Radio-Canada reporter Jean-François Lépine and cameraman Sylvain Castonguay were roughed up by pro-government supporters near Cairo's airport. Castonguay was badly beaten, and the attack only ended after soldiers intervened.
For 10 days, anti-government protesters have taken to the streets, demanding Mubarak leave office. On Tuesday, the Egyptian president stated he would not run in the September elections, but protesters keep insisting Mubarak must step down immediately.
The anti-Mubarak movement has vowed to intensify protests to force him out by Friday despite a plea from a military spokesman for anti-government demonstrators to clear the streets and go home.