Mubarak Refuses To Step Down, Crowds In Cairo Furious

Hosni Mubarak refuses to step down. Things in Egypt may be about to get bad.

Whatever agreements people thought were in place in Egypt have gone out the window, as Hosni Mubarak announced tonight that he was not leaving office:

CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people Thursday that he would delegate more authority to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, but that he would not resign his post, contradicting earlier reports that he would step aside and surprising hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered to hail his departure from the political scene.

In a nationally televised address following a tumultuous day of political rumors and conflicting reports, Mr. Mubarak said he would “admit mistakes” and honor the sacrifices of young people killed in the three-week uprising, but that he would continue to “shoulder my responsibilities” until September, and did not give a firm indication that he would cede political power.

Even as Mr. Mubarak spoke, angry chants were shouted from huge crowds in Cairo who had anticipated his resignation but were instead confronted with a plea from the president to support continued rule by him and his chosen aides. People waved their shoes in defiance, considered an insulting gesture in the Arab world.

Mr. Mubarak said the process of political change initiated by his administration, including a dialogue with opposition groups, would not be reversed. But he signaled no imminent transfer of power and blamed foreigners for seeking to interfere in Egypt’s affairs.

“We will not accept or listen to any foreign interventions or dictations,” Mr. Mubarak said, implying that pressure to resign came from abroad as opposed to masses of people demanding his ouster through his country.

Before Mubarak’s speech, the crowds in Cairo were under the impression that he was leaving and were reacting accordingly. One can only imagine what will happen now. Actually, you don’t really need to, the al-Jazeera live feed confirms it.

It’s Friday again tomorrow in Cairo. I think we can anticipate another round of big protests, and perhaps more.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Quick Takes, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ben Wolf says:

    It’s a good bet a lot of those protesters feel they have too much invested to back off now, even if the military threatens to intervene. I can’t imagine this having anything but an ugly ending.