Egyptian president-for-life Hosni Mubarak announced to the world that he was not going to relinquish his position. The Washington Post reports:
CAIRO - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, defiantly rejecting opposition demands that he leave power immediately, vowed late Thursday that he would follow through with his plans to transfer authority to an elected government after his term ends in September and would continue efforts to amend Egypt'sconstitution in the meantime.
In a televised address to the nation, the 82-year-old president indicated that he was taking steps to lift a widely despised emergency law. But the speech fell far short of demands that he give up the office he has held for nearly 30 years and start an immediate transition to democracy.
As Mubarak vowed to remain in office, a huge crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square shouted angrily, "Get out, get out." Many demonstrators removed their shoes and pointed the soles toward a large white sheet used as a screen to show the president's speech. The gesture is one of contempt in the Arab world.
Mubarak's speech came after 17 days of massive citizen demonstrations. Earlier in the day, Egypt's military said the longtime leader would meet protesters' demands, and CIA director Leon Panetta told U.S. lawmakers that Mubarak could step aside as soon as Thursday night.