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Egypt crisis: Mubarak won’t quit now; Army orders protesters to leave

The Opposition defied Army orders saying it would go ahead with a rally after the Friday prayers.

Written by Agencies | Cairo |
February 2, 2011 5:21:55 pm

Massive Egyptian crowds kept up their protest in Cairo and other key towns today,seeking immediate ouster of embattled President Hosni Mubarak rejecting his offer to quit by September and defied orders from the military to “go home”.

Thousands of people converged on the Tahrir (Liberation) Square,chanting slogans like “Mubarak you have to go now. Go,Go now,” as the military for the first time since the outbreak of the uprising against the 30-year rule of Mubarak nine days ago,issued a decree asking the protesters to end their demonstrations.

“Your message has arrived. Your demands have become known,” Military spokesman Ismail Etman said on the state television in an address,marking a shift in the Army’s stand,with the men in battle fatigues apparently throwing their weight behind Mubarak.

Opposition parties defied the Army orders to “go home” saying they planned to go ahead with a massive rally after the Friday prayers. Their leaders have served an ultimatum on Mubarak to quit by then.

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Egypt’s Army,hugely popular with the public,has so far refrained from interfering with the huge protests and the marches by the people and it was not immediately known whether its new warnings were a prelude to any clampdown.

The army’s warning came as Mubarak,buckling under pressure,promised not to stand for presidential elections scheduled in September,but said he had no intention to flee Egypt.

82-year-old Mubarak went on television to announce that he would not contest the September polls,but would also not step down immediately,an offer which failed to calm public fury as clashes erupted between his supporters and opponents in major cities.

“I say in all honesty and regardless of the current situation,that I did not intend to nominate myself for a new presidential term,” he said.

His address beamed over giant TV screens on the Tahrir Square — the hub of anti-government protests in heart of Cairo — was greeted by boos and jeers by the mammoth crowds who chanted “Go Go Go Now Mubarak.”

In his 10-minute address,Mubarak said he would not flee the country. “I will die on Egyptian soil,” he said.

The President,who appeared somber,said he would serve the remaining part of his term to accomplish necessary steps for peaceful transfer of power and carry out amendments to the rules of Presidential elections.

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