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Mubarak Refuses To Step Down, Vows To Pass Powers To Egypt's Vice President

Mubarak

The Huffington Post/AP   First Posted: 02/10/11 04:04 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:30 PM ET

CAIRO -- Egypt's Hosni Mubarak refused to step down or leave the country and instead said he would hand his powers to his vice president Thursday, remaining president and ensuring regime control over the reform process. Stunned protesters in central Cairo who demand his ouster waved their shoes in contempt and shouted, "Leave, leave, leave."

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The rapidly moving events raised the question of whether a rift had opened between Mubarak and the military command. Hours earlier, a council of the military's top generals announced it had stepped in to secure the country, and a senior commander announced to protesters in Tahrir Square that all their demands would soon be met, raising cries of victory that Mubarak was on his way out.

After Mubarak's speech, protest organizers called for the army to take action to oust him, and they vowed increased protests on Friday. Several hundred thousand had packed into Tahrir Square, ecstatic with expectation that Mubarak would announce his resignation in his nighttime address. Instead, they watched in shocked silence as he spoke, slapping their foreheads in anger and disbelief. Some broke into tears.

Around a 1,000 marched on the state television headquarters several blocks away, guarded by the military with barbed wire and tanks. "They are the liars," the crowd shouted, pointing at the building, chanting, "We won't leave, they will leave."

Prominent reform advocate, Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, whose supporters were among the organizers of the 17-day-old wave of protests, issued a Tweet calling on the military to act.

"The army must save the country now," he said. "I call on the Egyptian army to immediately interfere to rescue Egypt. The credibility of the army is on the line."

Mohammed Mustapha, a protest spokesman, said, "We are waiting for a strong reaction from the army to Mubarak's speech." He said "huge numbers" of protesters were expected Friday and that many wanted to march on the Oruba palace, Mubarak's main presidential palace several miles away from Tahrir.

Immediately after Mubarak's speech, Vice President Omar Suleiman called on the protesters to "go home" and asked Egyptians to "unite and look to the future."

In his 17-minute speech on state TV, Mubarak spoke as if he were still in charge, saying he was "adamant to continue to shoulder my responsibility to protect the constitution and safeguard the interests of the people." He vowed that he would remain in the country and said he was addressing the youth in Tahrir as "the president of the republic."

"I saw fit to delegate the authorities of the president to the vice president, as dictated in the constitution," said Mubarak, who looked frail but spoke in a determined, almost defiant voice.

Suleiman was already leading the regime's efforts to deal with the crisis. The constitution allows the president to transfer his powers if he is unable to carry out his duties "due to any temporary obstacle," but it does not mean his resignation. Even in that case, the vice president still cannot request constitutional amendments or dissolve parliament.

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Sheikh Jama Abdusalam said such uprisings would rid the war-wracked country of a government that he accused of serving Western interests.

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Al Jazerra's Evan Hill filed a new set of photos from Cairo, documenting the return to some semblance of normality, following the political unrest of recent weeks.

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@ felix85 : France says Egypt asks it to freeze possible assets of ex-officials, adding to UK and Germany already today

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Wael Ghonim, a regional marketing manager for Google in the Middle East tells 60 Minutes about the support that the company provided when he was detained for his role in the protests.

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Hundreds of Egyptian police have been protesting outside the country's Interior Ministry. They are demanding better wages and seeking to disassociate themselves from the deaths of protesters in the run up to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak from the Presidency.

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Ahram Online reports:

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The Guardian reports:

A major development in Bahrain where there are reports that one person has been killed by security forces during a protest:

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@ thelede : Live Update: Dozens of Iran Protest Clips on YouTube http://nyti.ms/dG1C5M #Egypt #Bahrain #Iran

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The New York Times reports:

Two generals sat down Sunday night to talk about their country’s future with seven of the revolution’s young organizers — including the Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim — and the young activists posted their notes on the meeting directly to the Internet for the Egyptian public to see.

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@ AJEnglish : Clashes reported in Iran protests: Pro-reformist marches under way in Tehran despite a heavy security presence a... http://aje.me/fqbkTi

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@ richardengelnbc : #egypt.. some APCs moved out of downtown.. feeling cairo is slowly being 'demilitarized,' although military in control

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Unrest in Yemen turned ugly as protesters clashed with police and government loyalists in Sanaa on the fourth consecutive day of rallies.

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Reuters reports:

Dozens of Iranian opposition supporters were arrested on Monday while taking part in a banned rally in Tehran to support popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, an Iranian opposition website said.

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