Egyptian Military Tries to Create Buffer Zone

PHOTO Protesters in Cairo, Egypt formed a human line defense to keep out trouble makers.
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A little while ago in Tahrir Square a rumor swept through the crowd that President Hosni Mubarak had resigned.

The people went crazy, shouting, "he resigned, he resigned." The Square erupted in a kind of euphoria for 30 seconds. But it quickly became clear the rumor was not true and the crowd is once again calm.

This was the day the anti-government protesters had called "The Day of Departure." Those calling upon President Mubarak to resign immediately had hoped this would be the day.

But yesterday in my exclusive interview with him, President Mubarak told me he had no intention of leaving Egypt.

"I would never run away," he said, "I will die on this soil." So far it seems he is sticking with his resolve.

For Complete Coverage of the Crisis in Egypt, Featuring Exclusive Reporting From Christiane Amanpour, Click Here

In general, after the violence of the last few days, the situation here on the Square has utterly changed. The army has become a buffer zone, deployed around the Square to increase the distance between anti-government and pro-Mubarak supporters.

I came in from one bridge and I could see that the army has taken the whole bridge, having deployed tanks at both ends of the bridge so there is no chance, at this entry point, that pro- and anti-government protesters can clash.

There are also soldiers on foot forming armored barricades. The protesters themselves are forming line after line of defense, to keep out trouble makers. Once again you must pass through a checkpoint to get onto the Square.

I walked in front of the national museum and it is just strewn with rubble and burnt out vehicles leading up to the 6th of October Bridge where many of the clashes have taken place.

This is honestly like a World War II scene with all these burnt cars, rubble, and what look like military field hospitals that are actually triage centers set up by the medical professionals among the protesters. Once a symbol of liberation, Tahrir Square remains a bloody battleground and at the center of the chaos.

President Mubarak Defends His Legacy

While sitting down for an exclusive 30-minute interview with me on Thursday, President Mubarak pledged his loyalty to Egypt.

He also defended his legacy, recounting the many years he has spent leading his country.

He told me, "I never intended to run [for office] again."

When I asked him what he thought of seeing the people shouting insults about him and wanting him gone, he said, "I don't care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt."

He added that he feared that his country would descend into a worse state of chaos if he were to step down.

Do you have questions about the mass protests in Egypt? Submit your questions to Christiane Amanpour HERE.

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