Hosni Mubarak Refuses to Step Down

An image grab taken from Egyptian state television Al-Masriya shows Egypts President Hosni Mubarak speaking to the nation in Cairo, on February 10, 2011. UPI/Ismael Mohamad

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused to step down from yesterday in a move that further angered protestors calling for his ouster.

Mubarak addressed crowds of people in a televised address to the nation, he said a government can make mistakes and the most important thing for a regime is to acknowledge mistakes. The leader said he would not heed calls for him to step down and his government would ensure free and fair elections this fall.

Protestors in Cairos Tahrir Square chanted Get out, get out as Mubarak spoke. In his speech he transferred some power to Vice President Omar Suleiman but did not resign.

Mubarak said he would "shoulder my responsibilities" to the nation and ensure a safe handoff of power in the September elections. We will not accept or listen to any foreign interventions or dictations, he said. Mubarak also maintained that the unrest "was not against my personality, against Hosni Mubarak" and vowed not to leave Egyptian soil until he was "buried under it," reports al-Jazeera.

Protestors were enraged at Mubarak and his refusal to concede power. In nearly three weeks of protests, thousands had called for the president to end his 30-year rule. Demonstrators cited problems of unemployment, poverty and a widening gap between rich and poor within the country.

Reactions by Western leaders were also critical.President Obama issued a statement on Thursday night saying that too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy.The 17-minute speech was riddled with details about the changes Mubarak planned to make to the Egyptian constitution. But, crowds threw their shoes in the airs as they asked for him to leave.Suleiman, who has been the face of government, will receive more power. However, these are all powers that the embattled leader can himself revoke.I saw fit to delegate the authorities of the president to the vice president, as dictated by the Constitution, Mr. Mubarak said. He added that he was adamant to continue to shoulder my responsibility to protect the Constitution and safeguard the interests of the people.
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