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Ghonim: Mubarak Must Go "Immediately"

Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who has emerged as a spokesperson for the thousands of protesters on Egyptian streets demanding President Hosni Mubarak's ouster, expressed bitter disappointment Friday with the military's statement backing Mubarak's transition plans.

In an emotional interview with al Arabiya television in Cairo, Ghonim said Mubarak must be withdrawn "immediately" from the political scene, rejecting the latest appeasement attempts made by the octogenarian leader who said late Thursday he would remain in office until September elections.

Ghonim said Mubarak's latest remarks amounted to little more than a show, vowing to continue leading the uprising.

"I am with the revolution," he said, addressing Mubarak directly through the television monitor: "By clinging to power like this, you are the one destroying the country."

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Ghonim read out his statement in response to the military's endorsement of Mubarak's position, demanding that the country's powerful military guarantee the implementation of the people's demands within a specific time frame to be agreed upon. He said Mubarak should be granted an honorary status, but must be withdrawn "immediately, immediately, immediately" from the political scene.

Ghonim also demanded that Information Minister Annas al-Fiqi be removed from his position and that all restrictions on the formation of political parties be dropped. He said all prisoners taken since the beginning of the uprising on Jan. 25 should be freed and all "corrupt officials" be put on trial.

He said the protest movement's full proposal would be submitted to the Army in writing.

"I am stronger than Hosni Mubarak. I am stronger than Omar Suleiman," Ghonim said, referring to the president and vice president.

"We won't give up," he continued. "This cannot be a draw match. Concede defeat or you'll be responsible for the butcheries that will take place." He said he was prepared to die to see his movement's demands met.