Egyptians insist Mubarak to vacate chair immediately


CAIRO, Feb 4 (Reuters): Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians marched peacefully in Cairo on Friday to demand an immediate end to President Hosni Mubarak`s 30-year rule, but there was no sign of his generals, or his U.S. allies, squeezing him out just yet.
Turnout nationwide seemed short of the million seen on Tuesday and which leaders had hoped to match on what they called “Departure Day.” Many Egyptians, weary of disorder, feel Mubarak did enough this week by pledging to step down in September. Some also were wary of renewed violence by shadowy Mubarak loyalists.
On the 11th day of unprecedented massive protests which have revolutionized Egypt and the wider Arab world, some 200,000 men and women from all walks of life streamed past patient soldiers to the capital`s Tahrir, or Liberation, Square.
A similar number marched in the second city of Alexandria and smaller pro-democracy rallies were held elsewhere.
“Leave! Leave! Leave!” crowds chanted after Friday prayers on the square in Cairo. A cleric praised the “revolution of the young” and declared: “We want the head of the regime removed.”
“Game over” said one banner, in English for the benefit of international television channels beaming out live coverage.
Yet for all the enthusiasm on the streets, and new-found tolerance by the army, Mubarak`s fate, and that of a 60-year-old system of military-backed rule, lies as much in bargains struck behind the scenes among generals keen to retain influence and Western officials anxious not to see a key Arab ally against radical Muslims slide into chaos or be taken over by Islamists.
European Union leaders echoed calls from the United States for Mubarak to do more than promise not to run in September`s election: “This transition process must start now,” they said.
The 82-year-old president said on Thursday he was “fed up” but would not stand down because that would create chaos.


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