Saturday, February 12, 2011


Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian
president, has resigned from his
post, handing over power to the
armed forces.
Omar Suleiman, the vice-
president, announced in a
televised address that the
president was "waiving" his
office, and had handed over
authority to the Supreme Council
of the Armed Forces.
Suleiman's short statement was
received with a roar of approval
and by celebratory chanting and
flag-waving from a crowd of
hundreds of thousands in Cairo's
Tahrir Square, as well by pro-
democracy campaigners who
attended protests across the
country on Friday.
The crowd in Tahrir chanted "We
have brought down the
regime", while many were seen
crying, cheering and embracing
one another.
Mohamed ElBaradei, an
opposition leader, hailed the
moment as being "a dream come
true" while speaking to Al
"I can't tell you how every
Egyptian feels today," he said.
"We have been able to restore
our humanity ... to be free and
He reiterated that Egypt now
needs to return to stability, and
proposed that a transition
government be put in place for
the next year. The government,
he said, would include figures
from the army, from the
opposition and from other
"We need to go on ... our priority
is to make sure the country is
restored as a socially cohesive,
economically vibrant and ...
democratic country," he said.
Ayman Nour, another opposition
figure and a former president,
told Al Jazeera that he would
consider running for the
presidency if there was
concensus on his candidacy. He
called Friday "the greatest day in
Egyptian history".
"This nation has been born
again. These people have been
born again, and this is a new
"Tonight, after all of these weeks
of frustration, of violence, of
intimidation ... today the people
of Egypt undoubtedly [feel they]
have been heard, not only by the
president, but by people all
around the world," our
correspondent at Tahrir Square
reported, following the
"The sense of euphoria is simply
indescribable," our
correspondent at Mubarak's
Heliopolis presidential palace,
where at least ten thousand pro-
democracy activists had
gathered, said.
"I have waited, I have worked all
my adult life to see the power of
the people come to the fore and
show itself. I am speechless."
Dina Magdi, a pro-democracy
campaigner in Tahrir Square told
Al Jazeera.
"The moment is not only about
Mubarak stepping down, it is
also about people's power to
bring about the change that no-
one ... thought possible."
In Alexandria, Egypt's second city,
our correspondent described an
"explosion of emotion". He said
that hundreds of thousands
were celebrating in the streets.
Responding to the
announcement, Catherine
Ashton, the European Union's
foreign policy chief, told Al
Jazeera that the 27-nation bloc
"respect[ed] the decision that
President Mubarak has taken".
She said the EU wanted to "pay
tribute to the dignity of"
Egyptians' behaviour at this time,
and that Europe was ready to
offer its assistance in this
transition period in the fields of
elections, building civil society
and other areas.
Joseph Biden, the US vice-
president, said this was "pivotal
moment in history", and that the
transition in Egypt must be
"irreversible ... a negotiated path
towards democracy".
Barack Obama, the US president,
was due to make a statement on
the resignation at 1800GMT.
The Swiss foreign ministry,
meanwhile, has confirmed to Al
Jazeera that they have frozen
assets linked to Mubarak.
'Farewell Friday'
Suleiman's announcement came
after hundreds of thousands of
Egyptians took the streets for
the 18th consecutive day,
marching on presidential palaces,
state television buildings and
other government installations.
Pro-democracy activists had
dubbed the day 'Farewell Friday',
and had called for "millions" to
turn out and demand that
Mubarak resign.
Hundreds of thousands were
seen to have gathered at Cairo's
Tahrir Square, which has been
the focal point of protests,
chanting slogans against the
government and expressing their
dissatisfaction with Mubarak's
statement on Thursday night,
when he had reiterated his vow
to complete his term.
Hundreds of thousands were
also seen demonstrating in
Alexandria, where several
thousand also marched to a
presidential palace there.
Protests were also reported from
the cities of Mansoura, Mahalla,
Suez, Tanta and Ismailia with
thousands in attendance.
Violence was reported in the
north Sinai town of el-Arish,
where protesters attempted to
storm a police station. At least
one person was killed, and 20
wounded in that attack, our
correspondent said.
Earlier in the day, protesters had
laid siege to the state television's
offices in Cairo, accusing the

No comments: