A university professor told VOA Egyptian anti-government protesters are shocked and disappointed by President Hosni Mubarak’s refusal to step down saying the embattled leader is, in his words, pushing the country into a big dark hole.
Said Sadek, professor of political sociology at the American University of Cairo, predicted that the protesters could begin a violent demonstration Friday after Muslim prayers to express what he described as their anger and displeasure at President Mubarak’s transformation plans he outlined in his Thursday night speech.
“His (Mr. Mubarak’s) answers were very much like a bureaucratic official, not a politician who is sensing that there is a problem in the country. But, we are facing one of the most serious crises we had in the last 100 years, and that is why there is anger and everybody (is) shouting, ‘We want you to leave. You have to get the message.’ This is the objective of the revolution,” said Sadek.
“I feel that he is pushing the country into a big dark hole and we don’t know what will happen afterwards, but there would be a very violent reaction tomorrow (Friday). I don’t think the people will accept it and they will act.”
Mr. Mubarak said in a national address late Thursday that he will not step down until a new president is selected in elections scheduled for September. But, he added that powers are being transferred to Egypt's vice president.
Mr. Mubarak said he was speaking as a “father to his children.” He said he would lift the hated emergency law when the security situation permits.
Later, Egypt's ambassador to Washington (Sameh Shoukry) said in a U.S. broadcast interview (CNN) that Vice President Omar Suleiman was now the “de facto president” of Egypt. He explained that Mr. Mubarak no longer had any presidential powers because he has transferred all of his powers to Mr. Suleiman.
Demonstrators in Cairo's main Tahrir Square jeered and chanted “He must leave” during the speech. They also waved their shoes in the air, a symbol of disrespect in the Arab world. They had earlier danced in expectation that Mr. Mubarak would resign.
After the president's speech, Mr. Suleiman called on Egyptian youth to “go home” and “go back to work.” He said the president handed down powers to him to restore peace and security and restore a normal way of life in Egypt.
Sadek said the anti-government protesters will continue to demand that Mr. Mubarak step down “immediately.”
“The fact (is) that many crimes were committed and they all (members of the government) fear that, if Mr. Mubarak leaves and others also leave, there is no safe haven because you can still prosecute them and get their money and put them on trial,” said Sadek.