As President Mohamed Morsi addressed the nation Wednesday night, in advance of mass street protests demanding his removal Sunday, his speech fell well short of appeasing his opponents.
The long speech was badly received by Egypt's opposition figures along with swathes of the public who protested across different cities in the early hours of Thursday against his address
Prominent writer Alaa Al-Aswany slammed the speech as "miserable," predicting that 30 June demonstrations will put paid to Morsi's rule.
Al-Aswany took a swipe at how Morsi perceives the current political deadlock as a mere "conflict" with old-regime figures and thugs aiming to ignite chaos, while turning his back on the opposition, the people it represents, and their demands.
"Are the 16 million who signed the Rebel [petition] thugs and remnants [of the old regime]?" Al-Aswany, a leading member of the opposition Constitution Party, wrote on Twitter.
The Rebel campaign, a mammoth anti-Morsi signature drive, has been the main force behind calls for mass anti-regime protests on 30 June demanding snap presidential polls.
In his speech, Morsi singled out and named certain "thugs" as well as opposition and old regime figures, leading some to threaten legal action against him for his statements.
Rights lawyer Gamal Eid, for his part, slammed the president for "bragging that he knows thugs by name, while ignoring the murder of Shia Egyptians by his supporters."
The speech came at a time when the opposition is making final preparations for mass rallies Sunday, the first anniversary of the Morsi's inauguration. Islamists, meanwhile, are planning their own show of strength in support of the beleaguered president Friday.
Morsi in his speech called for calm: "I say to all those planning to take to the streets to keep the protests peaceful and not be dragged into violence, as violence will only lead to violence. Protests are a way of expressing an opinion — not imposing one."
The Rebel campaign said that the perceived failure of Morsi's speech will help drum up greater support for 30 June rallies.
"I swear, if we had hired him in Rebel to help the campaign succeed, he would have never done better than what he did in the address," Rebel member Mohamed Abdel Aziz said.