Mubarak refuses to quit, promises to replace his ministers

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New York, Jan 29 (ANI): Refusing to give in to a popular demand to resign, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has promised to replace ministers in his government.

Mubarak told the nation that it needs dialogue, not violence, and that he has asked for the government to step down, as protesters continue to defy a nationwide curfew in the early hours of Saturday.

Appearing on national television, he termed the popular protests as "part of bigger plot to shake the stability" of Egypt.

Mubarak refused calls, shouted by huge, angry crowds in the central squares of Cairo, the northern port of Alexandria and the canal city of Suez, for him to resign.

"I will not shy away from taking any decision that maintains the security of every Egyptian," he vowed, as gunfire rang out around Cairo, The New York Times reports.

"As the President of this country, I assure you that I'm working for the people and giving freedoms of opinion as long as you are respecting the law. There is a little line between freedom and chaos," he said

The Egyptian Government is trying to quiet the message in an otherwise open society, shutting down major Internet and cell phone services, making communication and organization difficult. A curfew was issued, but ignored by protesters.

Many regional experts were still predicting that the Mubarak, who has outmaneuvered domestic political rivals and Egypt's Islamic movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, for decades, would find a way to suppress dissent and restore control.

For the first time since the 1980s, Mubarak felt compelled to call the military into the streets of the major cities to restore order and enforce a national 6 p.m. curfew. He also ordered that Egypt be essentially severed from the global Internet and telecommunications systems. (ANI)

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