Last night, the protesters in Tahrir Square believed they would not be there today. But the hope that Mubarak was to bow to their wishes and stand down turned to anger when his televised address made no mention of his leaving.
The fact that he promised to transfer powers to his vice-president cut no ice. One protester in the square said: “The president has given us Suleiman who is worse than Mubarak.”
Another added: “We’re not afraid of the army, the army is on our side. We’re not afraid of anyone. And even if the army was not on our side, we’re not afraid of Mubarak nor anyone. We’re fed up.”
“I’m sure the army will keep the president’s promise of a transition period. The president had to make this transition, but he’s capable of going back on his promises,” said another demonstrator.
The attitude at the grassroots of the revolt is proving a stiff test for Egypt’s powerful army.
It has offered a string of concessions, but did not go as far as ending the president’s 30 year rule.
Our correspondent in Cairo, Mohammed Elhamy, reports: “The decision to hand over presidential power to his vice-president is not enough for the demonstrators, and they insist they will continue to protest as long as Mubarak remains. It is a complex crisis, and this could throw the ball into the army’s court.”