Unmoved by Mubarak's speech, Egyptian protesters insist: 'He must leave.'
Responding to Egyptian President Mubarak's offer to not run for reelection in September, one protester in Cairo's Tahrir Square said: 'Thirty years of injustice is enough. We don’t need eight more months.'
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Protester: 'Thirty years of injustice is enough.'
Indeed, many in Tahrir Square on Tuesday night said they not only want Mubarak out but they want him judged for what they say are crimes against the nation. They also rejected the vice president recently appointed by Mubarak and any leaders from his ruling National Democratic Party.Skip to next paragraph
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Egyptians are demanding an entirely new slate and a chance to choose their own leaders. Their movement has now gone too far to turn back, they say.
“You think after all this, after everything that happened, we’re just going to leave when he says this?” asked Negla Sayyed, who came with her son to protest today. “I don’t think so. Eighty million people don’t want him. Thirty years of injustice is enough. We don’t need eight more months.”
Mubarak’s address was projected into Tahrir Square on a sheet hung from a building. Many who watched were planning to spend the chilly night in the square, where thousands have slept since Friday following a fierce battle with police. Some set up tents in the middle of the square. Others simply lay in the street.
ElBaradei: It's 'a trick'
Mubarak’s statement was immediately rejected by Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency, who has become a leading opposition figure in Egypt. Calling Mubarak’s statement "a trick” to stay in power, he reportedly reiterated that Mubarak must step down before opposition groups will negotiate.
Mr. ElBaradei today had a phone conversation with the US ambassador to Egypt, as Washington appears to be reaching out to key figures who may play a role in Egypt’s future. Meanwhile, a former US ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner, traveled to Cairo to speak with Mubarak and help facilitate an “orderly transition.”
How that transition comes about, and who plays a role in it, remains to be seen. President Barack Obama, in an message following Mubarak’s speech Tuesday, said political transition "must begin now" and voiced support for the protesters who continue to call for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. “To the young people of Egypt, we hear your voices,” he said.
Those voices include Sayed El Sisi, an unemployed college graduate who blames the Mubarak government for creating the conditions in which many Egyptians find it difficult to earn a living.
“This is not enough for us, and we will not give up,” says Mr. El Sisi. “I want to see a new president in my country who will change every eight years whether he is good or bad, like in the US. We want change, and we want it now.”