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Egypt's Mubarak Digs in His Heels

7 years ago68 views

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Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak hands power to the vice president - which essentially ends his 30-year one-man rule. But, as he has insisted all along, he is not leaving his post.

President Hosni Mubarak provoked rage on Egypt's streets on Thursday when he said he would hand powers over to his deputy, but that he is not stepping down.

The 82-year-old leader is adamant about not quitting his post.

But that’s not what protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square wanted to hear.

Thousands chanted, “Leave! Leave!”

In a 20-minute speech, Mubarak portrayed himself as a patriot overseeing an orderly transition until elections in September.

He praised the young people who have stunned the Arab world with unprecedented demonstrations, offering constitutional change and a bigger role for Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Waving shoes in the air in a dramatic Arab show of contempt, the crowds in central Cairo chanted: "Down, down Hosni Mubarak."

Mubarak said he would not bow to foreign pressure.

[Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian President]:
"As the President of the republic, I do not find any embarrassment or fault in listening to young people in my country and responding to that. However, the real embarrassment and shame and what I did not and will not accept ever is to listen to any foreign instructions coming from abroad, regardless of its sources or motives."

Suleiman, a 74-year-old former intelligence chief, is not widely popular with protesters who are seeking a complete break with the military-dominated system that has governed Egypt for the past six decades.

There is much anger on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, hours ahead of a planned "Day of Martyrs" protest on Friday to commemorate the 300 or more killed by security forces since January 25.

The Egyptian army has been on the streets for two weeks and on Thursday said it was in charge.

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