CAIRO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Crowds were building in Cairo's
Tahrir square on Wednesday for a ninth day of protests to try to
force Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak from office with one clear
message: "We will not go, he will go."
The chant pulsed from speakers set up on the edge of the
square as protesters began to regroup for the day unpersuaded by
Mubarak saying in a nationwide broadcast late on Tuesday that he
would not stand for a sixth term of office.
The core of protesters will have to convince the broader
public to keep up the momentum in pushing for Mubarak to go in a
country where many Egyptians have been shocked by the
convulsions on their normally quiet street.
At least 1,500 people were in the central square, which has
become a focal point for the protests and drew hundreds of
thousands on Tuesday. Many had camped in tents and under
blankets, determined to stay until Mubarak goes.
Banners measuring some 20 metres long read: "The people
demand the fall of the regime."
Many shops remained closed in downtown, but some customers
said on Tuesday that several ATMs they tried were working and
giving out cash as normal.
Many Egyptians live hand to month and have felt the strain
as protests demanding Mubarak step down have spread across the
country, disrupting services ranging from food supplies to cash
Although SMS messaging was still patchy, mass circulation
messages were landing. One which arrived on Wednesday said: "The
armed forces are concerned with your security and wellbeing and
will not resort to the use of force against these great people."
It was reiterating the army stance announced on Monday that
they would not use violence against protesters.
(Reporting by Marwa Awad; Writing by Alison Williams)
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