|effigy of Mubarak (photo credit: Victoria Hazou/AP)|
In the face of the largest protest in Egypt yet (several hundred thousand people gathered at Tahir Square in Cairo alone) and increasing lack of support from Mubarak's biggest beneficiary, the United States, the president agreed not to run in the elections next fall. In his lackluster remarks, the aging dictator actually claimed at one point that he was going to retire soon anyway, saying "In all sincerity, regardless of the current circumstances, I never intended to be a candidate for another term."
In all sincerity my foot.
Mubarak's concessions are too little, too late, and it's far from certain that the protesters intend to renounce their demands of immediate resignation. It seems like everyday there is a desperate, last-ditch effort by the Egyptian government to disperse the protests. On Wednesday and Thursday the police in Cairo tried to break up the protests through violence -- it didn't work. Friday the regime tried to intimidate the demonstrators with the military presence throughout the city -- it didn't work. Over the weekend the regime tried to incite unrest by using plainclothes police officers to start looting and encourage others to join in the 'mob mentality' -- it didn't work. Also over the weekend Mubarak made an effort to instill fear in the crowds by flying US made helicopters and fighter jets low over the ground, and guess what -- it didn't work.
Protesters have demanded that Mubarak step down by Friday. At the rate of the Egyptian President's current failures to quell the unrest, they could very well have their wish.
NY Times: Mubarak Says He Won't Run....
Huffington Post: Mubarak Tells Egypt He Will Not Seek Re-election