Egypt Protesters Turn Angry as Mubarak Stays Put

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

CAIRO - Protesters in Cairo responded with anger Thursday after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced that he wasn't stepping down but was delegating some of his presidential power to his vice president, Omar Suleiman.

Complete Coverage: Anger in the Arab World

Mubarak also said he would transfer power to his successor after the September elections.


The crowd in Tahrir Square had swollen to several hundred thousand in expectation that Mubarak would announce is resignation in the nighttime address to the nation. Instead, they watched in shocked silence, slapping their foreheads in anger and disbelief. Some broke into tears. After he finished, they broke out into chants for him to go.

Immediately after Mubarak's speech, Vice President Omar Suleiman called on the protesters to "go home" and asked Egyptians to "unite and look to the future."

CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that not long after Mubarak's began, protesters shouted in unison "Leave! Leave! Leave!"

In his speech, Mubarak also said he will lift the hated emergency measure which gave the police such enormous powers and also censored the nation's press. While that is a big concession from the 30-year ruler, it is not what demonstrators have been asking for in the past two and a half weeks.

CBS News Correspondent Terry McCarthy reports from Tahrir Square, the main venue for the Egyptian capital's demonstrations, described the atmosphere there as thundering.

People were very hopeful when the speech was started, McCarthy reports. People were chanting and singing. When they heard him come on, it was widely believed that he was leaving. The crowds reacted angrily when they realized he wasn't, so suddenly the crowd became very tense and very angry.

Earlier Thursday night, the army had blocked the road to the airport, Palmer reports. Everybody's wondering whether the army now is going to come out in force and try and prevent marching.

It's a dangerous situation, Palmer reports. The crowd is angry, and they clearly don't think they've had enough.

The army is going to wait and see how the crowd reacts, and if it does turn ugly, they are now prepared to come in.

After the speech, some protesters left the square, tears in the eyes. But the majority of the crowd remained, planning to camp for the night.

"The speech is a provocation," said Muhammed Abdul Rahman, a 26-year-old lawyer who had joined the protesters for the first time Thursday. "This is going to bring people together more, and people will come out in greater numbers."

Hazem Khalifa, a young chemist in the crowd, vowed protests would continue. "He's tried to divide people before, now the people understand him and they've learned his ways," he said.

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