Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak announced he will stay through the end of his term but will not run when elections are held in September. The promise did little to appease the hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for his immediate removal in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria.
"My first responsibility is to restore the security and stability of the homeland, to achieve a peaceful transition of power in a way that will protect Egypt and Egyptians and that will allow for responsibility to be given to whomever the people elect in the forthcoming elections," Mubarak said in a speech broadcast on state television.
But the man who has kept Egypt in his firm authoritarian grip for 30 years said he will not be forced into exile. "This is my country. This is where I lived, I fought and defended its land, sovereignty and interests, and I will die on its soil," the 82-year-old Mubarak said.
The eight-day protest in Egypt reached a tipping point in the past 24 hours. The Egyptian military emboldened the demonstrators by announcing it refused Muabarak's orders to use force against them. And then overnight, more than a quarter million Egyptians poured into Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square. The protest "cut across Egypt’s entrenched lines of piety, class and ideology, marking the largest demonstration yet against the nearly 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak and energizing a country that feels on the cusp of change," reported the NY Times.
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