Bowing to eight days of protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced Tuesday night that he will hand over power to an elected successor “in a constitutional way” when his term ends in September.
But the announcement rang flat in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where thousands of protesters erupted in chants of “Down with Mubarak” and “The people want the president to be judged” following his announcement. Some waved shoes in the air — a deep insult in the Arab world.
“This is not enough,” Mahmoud Safi, a lawyer taking part in the Cairo demonstrations, told CNN shortly before the announcement. “We have one request. We want him to leave our country now, immediately, not tomorrow.”
Mubarak has led Egypt for nearly 30 years since the 1981 assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat, aided by an emergency decree that has allowed him to rule with an iron fist. But following demonstrations that have only grown in the past week, the 82-year-old former air force general told his people Tuesday night, “I have spent enough time serving Egypt.”