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by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

Not sure Mubarak "chose" this day. I think his speech last night was a "Hail Mary," possibly with the intent of so enraging the protesters that they would get violent. Then the military could have felt justified in stepping in to suppress them. Thus, the pivotal moment was last night, when the protesters, despite their profound and understandable disappointment and anger, resisted the impulse to react with violence. At this point, most of the military leaders must have realized that, even if they themselves were willing to stand by Mubarak, the rank and file would not turn on the protesters if any attempt was made to disperse them or otherwise break up the demonstrations. Hence, a military coup ensued.

Days, months or even years from now, I would predict that the demonstrators' peaceful response to Mubarak's refusal to step down on the night of Feb. 10, 2011 will be viewed as the turning point in this revolution.

(Photo: An Egyptian anti-government demonstrator listens to a speech by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as tens of thousands gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 10, 2011. Embattled Mubarak delegated power to his deputy and former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and proposed constitutional reforms but said the transition to end his 30-year-reign would last until September. By Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)

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