Mubarak stated that he will never leave Egypt in the face of 17 tumultuous days of public protests, provoking outbursts of anger from protesters at Cairo’s’ Liberation square, who prior to the speech had created dramatic scenes of jubilation as they expected Mubarak to declare his resignation, a Press TV correspondent reported.
The embattled president once again asserted that he will not stand as candidate for the upcoming elections, and that he was transferring some powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
He further acknowledged that his government had made mistakes and expressed sorrow for those killed in the demonstrations, promising that those responsible for the killings would be punished.
“I don’t feel embarrassment in holding talks with the youths and creating dialog,” said Mubarak, adding that “the protesters’ blood will not be in vain.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Omar Suleiman made a speech during which he called on Egyptians youth to to go back home and resume work.
The protesters took off their shoes and brandished them at the screen on which they had seen Mubarak’s speech, and shouted “Down with Mubarak, leave, leave!”
Others called for an immediate general strike and called on army — which has deployed large numbers of troops around the square — to support the Egyptian nation, instead of Mubarak’s “illegitimate” regime.
“Egyptian army, the choice is now, the regime or the people,” the protesters chanted.
Meanwhile, a Press TV correspondent said that furious crowds of people at Cairo’s’ Liberation Square, which has become the focal point of pro-democracy demonstrations, are moving toward Mubarak’s palace to vent out their outrage at the decision.
Reports say more than 300 people have been killed by security forces and thousands injured since the beginning of the revolution on January 25.