Mubarak Stubbornly Refuses to Stand Down

Mubarak Stubbornly Refuses to Stand Down

Roars of anger rang out of Tahrir Square after Mubarak announced he would not leave until September. Protestors waved their shoes at Mubarak as a carnival-like atmosphere turned to rage. The crowds are shouting out the slogan ‘He Must Leave’ but this is not what has happened this evening.

The president is offering minor concessions to the protestors, using the tone of a father speaking to his children; patronizing and condescending. He is still entrenched in the notion that he will stay in power, reminding the people of his military successes, playing on the emotions of Egyptians.

On one hand, the president made some minor concessions like amending articles 76 and 77 that are concerned with how a president is nominated and the term limits of a president. He also mentioned cancelling article 179 which is the basis of the Emergency Law. The president is not saying anything new, because the constitutional committee is already revising these articles. The president has failed to deliver what the people wanted. Vice President Suleiman will have some of the president’s powers, but there has been no outright transference of powers to the vice president.

Before the president’s speech, there were signs that something historic would happen tonight. This made crowds of protestors take on a celebratory atmosphere. The first sign was from the armed forces that power was being bestowed on them. The fact that this did not happen, clearly indicates a behind-the-scenes dynamic; there are obviously other plans at work. The secretary general of the NDP said on record that he expects Mubarak to answer the people’s demands by Friday. The indications that led the protestors to celebrate prematurely were founded on solid ground.

Undoubtedly, Egypt is on the cusp on something historic. However, the president’s speech belied the indications. The president’s speech will definitely mobilize protestors tomorrow. The key passage from the speech is that Mubarak intends to stay in power and by the looks of the protestors in Tahrir Square and in other places around the country; the masses intend to continue protesting.