Thursday, February 10, 2011
Update 7:00 PM CST : Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Major Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei warned of potential violent unrest after President Hosni Mubarak announced late Thursday he would not step down before September elections.
Mubarak "is gambling with his country" in order to stay at the helm, ElBaradei told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
He reiterated the message of his Twitter account, which read, "Egypt will explode. Army must save the country now."
Major clashes between the people and the army, which Egyptians traditionally believe has been on their side, would be devastating, said ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Key players in Egypt
ElBaradei's outlook had changed since hours before, when Egyptians, including thousands packed in Cairo's Tahrir Square, expected Mubarak to step down rather than delegate powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
Thursday afternoon, ElBaradei wrote: "I am closely following the situation. We are almost there."
But he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Egyptians will not accept the new arrangement.
"Suleiman is considered to be an extension of Mubarak. They are twins. Neither of them is acceptable to the people," ElBaradei said. "For the sake of their country, they should go."
ElBaradei said a leadership council and a caretaker government should rule the North African nation for one year during a transition to a more democratic process.
Mubarak's defiant remarks about foreign intervention, and his determination to see the transition through, was not what most in the Tahrir Square crowd wanted to hear.
"Get out! Get out!" many chanted as he spoke.
Suleiman told the protesters to go home and back to work. That had not happened by early Friday.
Yaser Fathi, one of the organizers of a post-speech protest in the northern city of Alexandria, told CNN hundreds of demonstrators marched to an Egyptian military base. They asked the armed forces to intervene and shouted that "the military must step in to get Mubarak out," Fathi said.
The vice president referred to the past two weeks as the "revolution of the young people."
Khalid Abdalla, a demonstrator in Tahrir Square and star of the motion picture "The Kite Runner," said early Friday that it's "an incredibly sad moment right now." "Everyone's lost," the actor said. "People are trying to work out what more they can do."
Here are the latest developments, as confirmed by CNN, on the uprising in Egypt. Throngs of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Egypt's major cities to demand an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, prompting the government to deploy the military to deal with civil unrest for the first time in a generation. Check out our full coverage and the latest tweets from CNN correspondents on the ground.
[Update 12:40 p.m. in Cairo, 5:40 p.m. ET President Hosni Mubarak has transfered all effective powers of the presidency to Vice President Omar Suleiman, making Suleiman the de-facto president of Egypt, the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States said.
"The president did indicate very clearly he was transferring all his presidential authority to the vice president," Sameh Shoukry told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "President Mubarak has transferred the powers of the presidency to his vice president, who will now undertake all authority as president."
That makes Mubarak the de jure head of state, or as a matter of law, and Suleiman, the de-facto head of state and the military, Shoukry said, attributing the information to the Egyptian government.
[Update 12:25 p.m. in Cairo, 5:25 p.m. ET] CNN's Ivan Watson says you need only look at the network of tents and a makeshift wooden shelter erected in the middle of Tahrir Square for evidence of what people are planning to do next: "These people are not going. 'When he leaves, we leave.' This is just the beginning."
[Update 12:15 p.m. in Cairo, 5:15 p.m. ET] Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered his view on the situation in Egypt Thursday during a visit to the United Nations:
"I think we should not pretend that we are more important for the Egyptian people than their own interests... it's up to the Egyptian people to find their way and to do it according to their own constitution, norms and practices."
[Update 11:58 p.m. in Cairo, 4:58 p.m. ET] Protesters are forming a human chain around the offices of the state-run television after Mubarak's announcement that he will stay in power until September. "The anger is deep, it's profound and widespread," CNN's Ben Wedeman reports of the crowd reaction. Some speculate that the government is trying to provoke strong reaction to justify a crackdown.
[Update 11:38 p.m. in Cairo, 4:38 p.m. ET] Vice President Omar Suleiman says President Hosni Mubarak's speech affirms his commitment to responding to "the demands of the people" and to making the "safety, security and stability" of Egypt a priority above any other consideration.
He also commended the "youth revolution" while urging young people to "go back to your houses, go back to your work, the homeland needs your work." He also told them to ignore the "satellite images" that "mar Egypt" by fomenting revolt.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 1:52 PM
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak said in a national address Tuesday evening that he will not step down until a new president is selected in elections scheduled for September.
Saying a peaceful transfer of power is underway, Mr. Mubarak refused to give in to demands of tens of thousands of anti-government protesters who took to the streets for a 17th straight day.
It is the second time in two weeks that Mubarak told the nation he will stay in office until September.
The dramatic announcement came on state television shortly after 10:45 p.m. in Egypt. Demonstrators in Cairo's main Tahrir Square had earlier danced and sang in jubilation in expecation that Mubarak would resign.
Earlier in the day, Egyptian military officials and members of the ruling party said Mr. Mubarak will "meet protesters' demands."
Egyptians have been calling for the ouster of President Mubarak, 82, who has been in power for nearly 30 years. They have been demanding he leave immediately. He had previously announced he will not seek reelection in a presidential vote scheduled for September.
Earlier in the day, the military's supreme council met without the commander in chief, Mr. Mubarak. The military is due to issue a statement shortly on state television.
More than two weeks since demonstrators first took the streets of Egypt's major cities to demand an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign, thousands have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square amid speculation that he may announce his resignation. Here are the latest developments, as confirmed by CNN:
[Update 11:05 p.m. in Cairo, 4:05 p.m. ET] "This guy is calling for more rage in the country," a protester in Tahrir Square tells CNN's Fred Pleitgen after Mubarak speaks. "This guy doesn't want to leave in peace."
[Update 11:00 p.m. in Cairo, 4:00 p.m. ET] The crowd in Tahrir Square erupts into roars of "get out" as Mubarak announces he will not step down.
"I will not submit to any international pressures," he says. "I love Egypt, I I have worked hard for its renaissance and I have never tried to have more authority, and I think the majority of other people here know very well who Hosni Mubarak is and it hurts my heart when I see and I hear from my own people."
Update 10:55 p.m. in Cairo, 3:55 p.m. ET] "President Hosni Mubarak announced Thursday that he "will follow the track of peaceful transition until September." He also said he will hold accountable those who fomented violence against demonstrators during the past two weeks.
[Update 10:50 p.m. in Cairo, 3:50 p.m. ET] "I will not nominate myself for next the presidential election and I will be satisfied with what I have done to the country and the homeland for more than 60 years during years of peace and war," Mubarak says.
[Update 10:45 p.m. in Cairo, 3:45 p.m. ET] "I will respond to your demands and your voices and this is a commitment that cannot be reversed. I am committed to carrying out my promises in all credibility," President Hosni Mubarak says in a televised address.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 1:06 PM
Reports are saying that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will "meet protesters demands," with some saying that he will transfer power to the military tonight.
Reports the AP:
Military and ruling party officials say President Hosni Mubarak will speak to the nation soon and meet the demands of protesters. Protesters are insisting he step down immediately.
Military officials say the armed forces' supreme council has been meeting all day long and will issue a communique shortly that they say will meet the protesters' demands.
The ruling party chief, Hossan Badrawy, tells The Associated Press he expects Mubarak to address the nation and make a announcement that will satisfy their demands.
This is a developing story.
[Update 6 p.m. in Cairo, 11 a.m. ET] There is a strong likelihood that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will step down Thursday night, CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress.
[Update 5:58 p.m. in Cairo, 10:58 a.m. ET] Cairo's Tahrir Square is packed and the atmosphere is festive amid talk that President Hosni Mubarak may deliver important remarks to the country later on Thursday.
[Update 5:55 p.m. in Cairo, 10:55 a.m. ET] National Intelligence Director James Clapper defended U.S. intelligence operations in Egypt, telling members of Congress that accurate information has been provided, but "specific triggers" for incidents that will cause a regime to fall cannot always be accurately predicted. "We are not clairvoyant," he said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered condolences to the friends and loved ones of Khairy Ramadan Aly, who went missing on January 28 and has been confirmed dead. Aly was a carpenter for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
[Update 5:48 p.m. in Cairo, 10:48 a.m. ET] Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian activist on leave from his job at Google, said, "Mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians," on Twitter amid signs of possible imminent change in Egypt. Ghonim has been hailed by many fellow protesters as a hero.
[Posted 5:32 p.m. in Cairo, 10:32 a.m. ET] Some of the most senior military officers in Egypt met Thursday to discuss the crisis in that country and plan to meet further to discuss "what can be achieved to preserve the homeland and the gains of the Egyptian people," a spokesman for the Egyptian military said.
The new secretary general of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party told CNN he expects President Hosni Mubarak will "take the next steps" after amending the constitution. Asked what the next step would be, Houssam Badrawi said "accommodating the demands of the youth" and the "best interests of the country." Badrawi told CNN that the demands of Egypt's protesters had been met. "They won," he said.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 8:00 AM