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President Mubarak defies resignation calls

    CAIRO (AFP) - Furious Egyptian demonstrators vowed to launch their most spectacular protest yet in Cairo on Friday to demand the immediate departure of President Hosni Mubarak and his newly anointed deputy.

   Many tens of thousands of citizens thronged Tahrir Square in the heart of the capital late Thursday hoping to hear the 82-year-old strongman step down.

Instead he delegated presidential power to Vice President Omar Suleiman.

   Mubarak said he would remain nominally in charge until September, and vowed he would one day die in Egypt rather than seek exile, infuriating protesters.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak makes a televised statement to his nation in this image taken from TV aired Thursday Feb. 10, 2011. Following more than two weeks of protests, anti-government demonstrators were given hope by official statements suggesting that Mubarak may step down after 30 years in power. But Mubarak said in his statement that while protester demands are legitimate, he won't give in to foreign dictates. (AP-Yonhap)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak makes a televised statement to his nation in this image taken from TV aired Thursday Feb. 10, 2011. Following more than two weeks of protests, anti-government demonstrators were given hope by official statements suggesting that Mubarak may step down after 30 years in power. But Mubarak said in his statement that while protester demands are legitimate, he won't give in to foreign dictates. (AP-Yonhap)


   The reaction was immediate, angry and dismayed.

   His televised speech was met with angry chants of "Down, Down with Mubarak"

among the more than 200,000 people who packed Cairo's Tahrir Square on the 17th day of massive nationwide protests demanding the strongman's overthrow.

   Many of the protesters called for an immediate general strike and angrily addressed the army, which had deployed large numbers of troops and tanks around the square: "Egyptian army, the choice is now, the regime or the people!"

   Following the speech, the bulk of the crowd began to disperse, but most vowed to return on Friday, which has already been declared a "day of rage".

   A hard core of several thousand protesters was to remain in the sprawling tented encampment that has occupied the square since January 28.

   "We won't leave until he leaves," declared 32-year-old accountant Ayman Shawky. "I don't think it's stupidity, it's arrogance. He lost his last chance to leave with his dignity intact."

   Hopes had run high that Mubarak would step down immediately after the military leadership had announced hours earlier that it would intervene to ensure the country's security and see that the people's "legitimate" demands were met.

   But by the end of his speech Mubarak remained president.



   Delegating his powers to his former intelligence chief Suleiman," a frail Mubarak said in a scratchy voice. "I have decided to delegate power to the vice president based on the constitution."

   "I am conscious of the dangers of this crossroad... and this forces us to prioritise the higher interests of the nation."

   He went on to take a swipe at the United States and other countries that have pushed him to accelerate a transition to democracy, saying: "I have never bent to foreign diktats.

   "I have always preserved peace and worked for Egypt and its stability."

   Speaking after Mubarak, Suleiman told the protesters to go home.

   But as they began peacefully filing out of Tahrir Square, the chants grew darker. "To the palace we are heading, martyrs by the millions!" they shouted.

   Earlier, the square had been bathed in a carnival atmosphere, as many tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered to celebrate what they hoped would be Mubarak's final speech of a three-decade-long autocratic reign.

   When they realised he was refusing to step down, the mood changed and deep-seated anger rose to the surface.

   The crowd chanted "Neither Mubarak nor Suleiman!" as one elderly woman

moaned: "The old man just won't give up power."

   "He is still speaking to us as if we were fools," said Ali Hassan. "He is a general defeated on the battlefield who will not retreat before inflicting as many casualties as he can."

   Earlier, tens of thousands of Egyptian workers striking nationwide had swelled the protesters' ranks, increasing the chances Friday's demonstrations would be the biggest yet.


   Immediately after Mubarak's speech, US President Barack Obama called an emergency meeting of his national security team.

   Obama watched Mubarak's nationwide address aboard Air Force One, hours after telling a crowd in Michigan that history was unfolding in Egypt, amid rumours and reports at the time that the 82-year-old Arab strongman would step down.

   There was no immediate comment from senior US officials on Mubarak's speech and Obama declined to answer shouted questions from reporters after he exited his Marine One helicopter and marched into the Oval Office.

   But CNN quoted one unnamed official as saying the speech was "not what we were told would happen, not what we wanted to happen."

무바라크, 사퇴 거부.."부통령에 권력이양"(종합)

타흐리르 광장 시민들 분노..엘바라데이 "이집트 폭발할 것"

    (카이로=연합뉴스) = 호스니 무바라크 이집트 대통령은  10일(현
지시간) 즉각적인 퇴임을 거부한 채 자신의 권력을 오마르 술레이만 부통령에게  점 진적으로 이양하겠다고 밝혔다.
    무바라크 대통령은 이날 밤 국영TV로 생중계된 대국민 연설에서 "나는 외부의 강권에 굴복하지 않을 것"이라며 대선이 치러지는 오는 9월까지 평화적인 권력이양 조치를 밟아나갈 것이라고 언급, 조기 사퇴를 하지 않겠다는 뜻을 거듭 강조했다.
    무바라크 대통령은 또 "나는 차기 대선에 나서지 않겠다는 내 의도를 분명히 밝 힌다"며 종전의 불출마 약속을 재확인한 뒤 "헌법의 5개 조항은 개정하고, 1개 조항 은 삭제할 것"이라며 종전의 개헌 약속을 구체화했다.
    그는 이어 발효된 지 30년 된 비상계엄령도 국가의 안보상황이 안정되면 해제하 겠다고 밝혔으나 구체적인 계엄법 폐지 시점을 못박지는 않았다.

 

   이 같은 발표는 이날 밤 무바라크 대통령이 사임을 공식 발표할 것이라는  세간 의 예측과 배치되는 것이어서 카이로의 타흐리르(해방) 광장에 모인 시민들은 즉각 반발했다.
    무바라크 대통령의 연설이 시작되기 전까지 이집트에서는 그가 사임을 발표할 수 있다는 징후가 곳곳에서 감지됐고, 이런 탓에 타흐리르 광장에는 이날 저녁 무렵 부터 수십만명이 운집해 그의 연설을 기다렸다.
    이와 관련, 이집트 군의 최고위원회는 이날 최고 사령관인 무바라크 대통령이 불참한 가운데 회의를 연 뒤 국영TV에 "국민의 적법한 요구에 대한 지지"를 발표해 무바라크 대통령이 군의 압력 속에 퇴임을 결심한 게 아니냐는 관측을 불러일으켰다 .
    하지만, 무바라크 대통령은 오는 9월까지 권좌를 유지하겠다는 뜻을 재차  밝혔 고, 이에 타흐리르 광장의 시민들은 "떠나라, 떠나라, 떠나라"라는 구호를 연호하며 분노를 표출했다.
    이집트의 유력한 야권 지도자인 모하메드 엘바라데이 전 국제원자력기구(IAEA) 사무총장도 자신의 트위터를 통해 "이집트가 폭발할 것"이라며 "군은 지금 당장  국 가를 구하라"고 촉구했다.
    이런 가운데, 술레이만 부통령은 무바라크 대통령의 연설이 끝난 뒤 타흐리르 광장에 모인 시민들에게 가정과 직장으로 복귀하라고 요구했다.
    그러나 시민들은 "우리는 대통령궁으로 향한다, 수백만 명의 순교자" 등의 구호 를 외치며 반발했으며, 일부는 타흐리르 광장 근처의 국영방송 건물 쪽으로 몰려가 항의 시위를 벌였다.
    이집트 민주화 시위를 이끌고 있는 주요 단체들은 이튿날인 11일 카이로 시내 6 곳에서 각각 집회를 연 뒤 타흐리르 광장으로 행진하는 `100만명 항의 시위'를 열 예정이다.

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