Won''t resign, says Mubarak as opposition deadline ends today

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Rania

Cairo, Feb 4 (PTI) Ignoring today''s deadline to stepdown, President Hosni Mubarak gave a clear indication that hewill not do so immediately as it will bring "chaos" in Egyptas anti-government protesters started converging in centralCairo demanding an end to his 30-year rule.

Faced with three days of violent clashes between anti-and pro-government groups, security forces braced for apossible showdown as protesters intensified their campaigndescribing the deadline set for today as the ''day ofdeparture'' for the President.

Mubarak, 82, in an interview to ABC news, said he is"fed up" and wants to quit but fears that the nation will"sink in chaos" if he steps down at this stage.

"I am fed up. After 62 years in public service, I havehad enough. I want to go," said Mubarak, who has made two tvbroadcasts from his heavily guarded palace here since theunrest broke out on January 25, leaving over 300 dead andseveral hundreds injured.

"If I resign today, there will be chaos," he said onbeing asked about today''s deadline by the protesters for himto quit power and leave the country.

"I don''t care what people say about me. Right now Icare about my country."

The President blamed opposition Muslim Brotherhood forthe violence in Cairo and said "I was very unhappy (aboutviolence)... I do not want to see Egyptians fighting eachother."

On US President Barack Obama''s apparent calls for hisresignation, Mubarak said he told his American counterpart"You don''t understand the Egyptian culture and what wouldhappen if I step down now."

Mubarak dismissed speculation about his wanting toanoint his son Gamal when he relinquishes power.

"I would never run away... I will die on this soil,"he said.

Amid the political turmoil, foreign journalists havebecome targets of rampaging mobs, mostly aligned with theembattled President.

Journalists became targets, beaten, bloodied, harassedand detained by raging men, most all in some way aligned withMubarak, CNN, ABC News and other media outlets reported.

News channels reported that several journalists hadbeen detained or forcibly kept confined to their hotels.

Protesters poured into the streets leading to theTahrir Square -- the hub of anti-government demonstrations inthe heart of Cairo, amid apprehensions of a bloodyconfrontation with armed pro-regime forces..

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