Obama slapped down his ultimatum when he saw Mubarak had unleashed the strong-arm squads of his National Democratic Party against the anti-government protesters, the day after he told the nation that he would stay for the remainder of his term as president.
Obama hardened his position following three more occurrences:
1. The Egyptian army for the first time abandoned its neutrality and let 50,000 Mubarak supporters enter Tahrir Square where the protesters had been gathering without stopping them for inspection at the checkpoints outside. They stormed into the square on camels and horses, trampled protesters and beat about them with knives, swords, axes and petrol bombs.
3. The first fissures appeared Wednesday in opposition ranks. All ten secular parties agreed to respond positively to the Vice President's invitation to dialogue on constitutional reform, excepting the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest and best organized of them all. Its leaders refused to have any truck with the regime or any of its leaders and demanded that Mubarak step down without further delay.
The Brotherhood also heated up its denunciations of America, Britain and Israel.