Truce halts fighting in Cairo's Tahrir Square

By MAGGIE MICHAEL | November 24, 2011 | 2:45 AM EST

Protesters attempt to get rid of a tear gas canister during clashes with riot police near Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011. Police are clashing with anti-government protesters for a fifth day in Cairo. Tens of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square have rejected a promise by Egypt's military ruler to speed up a presidential election to the first half of next year. They want Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to step down immediately in favor of an interim civilian council. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

CAIRO (AP) — Police and protesters demanding that Egypt's ruling military council step down are observing a truce after five days of deadly street battles in which at least 40 people have died.

Egypt's military also issued a statement on Thursday apologizing for the loss of life and vowing to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of protesters in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country.

Army troops have used metal bars and barbed wire to build barricades to separate the protesters and the police on side streets leading from Tahrir to the nearby Interior Ministry. Most of the fighting has been taking place on those side streets.

The truce came into force around 6 a.m. and was still holding by late morning.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) — An American film maker has told a colleague by phone that she was arrested by Egyptian police while documenting clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Jehane Nojaim's producer Karim Amer says she was detained and her camera was confiscated.

He said Wednesday he was separated from her after they both fled from tear gas.

Nojaim is an award-winning film maker of Egyptian ancestry, best known for her 2004 documentary "Control Room" about the pan-Arab news station, Al-Jazeera.

Clashes resumed for a fifth day in central Cairo despite a promise by the head of the ruling military council to speed transition to civilian rule, aiming for next July. Protesters demand that the military leave office now.