Reaction To “I Was A Youth Once Too”

The tug of war between President Hosni Mubarak and the hundreds of thousands of protesters in Cairo continues.

Demonstrators erupted in anger Thursday night in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after Mubarak said he would not resign but would only transfer his power to his vice president and close confidant, Omar Suleiman.

In one line that led to jeers from the crowd, Mubarak said in a patriarchal tone, “I was a youth once too.”

The crowd, one of the biggest since the mass protests began more than two weeks ago, began to chant, “Get out! Get out!” And many protesters took off their shoes, hoisting them into the air in one of the most offensive gestures in the Middle East.

Thousands then left Tahrir Square and marched toward the presidential palace. Earlier in the day, some protesters handed out fliers that in Arabic said if Mubarak did not resign, a second phase of the movement would begin, which would include a general strike across the country and an expansion of the protests beyond Tahrir Square, where they have persisted continuously since Jan. 25.

The crowd had been electrified before the speech, anticipating that Mubarak would resign. During the speech, the protesters fell silent. Then after, they erupted in frustration.

“I am so surprised, we thought today was the day. It is just disappointing,” said Ahmed Rami, a protester in Tahrir Square. “We will not leave this square. We are going to march to the presidential palace with all of our anger in our hearts to kick him out.”

Mubarak said, as he had in an earlier speech, that he would stay on to see the country through September’s national elections and that he had begun a national dialogue with the military and opposition groups to address the protesters’ concerns.

Complete article via GlobalPost


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