Egypt President Hosni Mubarak defies protesters

February 11, 2011
 

President Hosni Mubarak ... intends to stay until September.President Hosni Mubarak … intends to stay until September. Photo: Reuters 

Egypt President Hosni Mubarak says he will remain in power until a new leader is elected in September.

In a live TV address, Mubarak refused to resign but announced he was handing some of his powers to his vice-president, Omar Suleiman.

Earlier it appeared Mubarak was on the verge of stepping down after 30 years as thousands of anti-regime protesters massed excitedly in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square amid rumours he would go.

Protesters reacted with fury when Mubarak revealed he would not be leaving office immediately, demanding the army join them in revolt.

Hundreds of protesters took off their shoes and brandished them at the screen on which they had seen Mubarak’s speech, an insult in Arab societies, and others chanted: “Down with Mubarak, leave, leave!”

Others called for an immediate general strike and demanded of the army, which has deployed large numbers of troops around the protest: “Egyptian army, the choice is now, the regime or the people!”

Mubarak said Egypt was heading “day after day” to a peaceful transfer of power and he was committed to protect the constitution until that happens.

He said he was proposing amending articles 76, 77, 88, 93 and 189 of the constitution and proposed cancelling article 179 giving powers regarding terrorism cases.

He said dialogue with the opposition had led to a preliminary consensus to resolve the crisis.

smh.com.au, AFP and Reuters

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