All of Egypt was at fever pitch in anticipation that President Hosni Mubarak would resign in a televised speech this evening. Instead he refused to move and set himself up for massive conflict with a broad mass of Egyptians who want a real democracy in this large, civilized, educated but desperately poor country. What happens next is anyone’s guess. Al Jazeera continues to have the best coverage of any media service; here’s their latest report:
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has refused to step down from his post, saying that he will not bow to “foreign pressure” in a televised address to the nation.
Mubarak announced that he had put into place a framework that would lead to the amendment of six constitutional articles in the address late on Thursday night.
“I can not and will not accept to be dictated orders from outside, no matter what the source is,” Mubarak said.
He said he was addressing his people with a “speech from the heart”.
Mubarak said that he is “totally committed to fulfilling all the promises” that he has earlier made regarding constituional and political reform.
“I have laid down a vision … to exit the current crisis, and to realise the demands voiced by the youth and citizens … without undermining the constitution in a manner that ensures the stability of our society,” he said.
He said he would stick by his earlier announcment of not seeking re-election in September, though he did delegate some powers to Omar Suleiman, the vice-president.
“I will remain adamant to shoulder my responsibility, protecting the constitution and safeguarding the interests of Egyptians [until the next elections].
“This is the oath I have taken before God and the nation, and I will continue to keep this oath,” he said.
Mubarak said the current “moment was not against my personality, against Hosni Mubarak”, and concluded by saying that he would not leave Egyptian soil until he was “buried under it”.
Mubarak’s comments were not well-received by hundreds of thousands gathered at Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in other cities, who erupted into angry chants against him. Pro-democracy protesters had been expecting Mubarak to resign, and their mood of celebration quickly turned to extreme anger as they heard the president’s speech…
[continues at Al Jazeera]