President Hosni Mubarak provoked rage on Egypt’s streets on Thursday when he said he would hand powers to his deputy but disappointed protesters who had been expecting him to step down altogether after two weeks of unrest.
“Leave! Leave!” chanted thousands who had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in anticipation that a televised speech would be the moment their demands for an end to Mubarak’s 30 years of authoritarian, one-man rule were met.
Instead, the 82-year-old former general portrayed himself as a patriot overseeing an orderly transition until elections in September. He praised the young people who have stunned the Arab world with unprecedented demonstrations, offering constitutional change and a bigger role for Vice President Omar Suleiman.