A tense stand off is developing in Egypt following an announcement from president Hosni Mubarak stating he intends to remain in office until elections in September.
Speculation yesterday had suggested the incumbent would resign after nearly three weeks of protests against this rule.
However, the hopes of the protestors were dashed when president Mubarak confirmed he will not step down.
Crowds have been gathering outside the presidential palace in Cairo this morning, with numbers expected to swell following Friday prayers.
Tahrir Square and the offices of state TV in the city have also been a focus for discontent.
Troops have been containing crowds, with pledges not to use force now being put to the test.
An “important statement” is expected from the military’s supreme council later today the Egyptian state news agency Mena reported earlier.
President Mubarak offered to cede some, unspecified, powers vice-president Omar Suleiman.
However, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to satisfy protestors.
After the speech, US President Barack Obama convened a meeting with his national security team at the White House.
America had been expecting president Mubarak to resign his position.
However, Saudi Arabia has offered support to the embattled leader, pledging to meet any short fall in aid to Egypt.