Less than 24 hours after defying mounting demands to resign, pledging to stay in office through September's presidential elections, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down after 30 years in power.
A R A B I C A ارابيكا
By Kristen Gillespie
Less than 24 hours after defying mounting demands to resign, pledging to stay in office through September's presidential elections, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down after 30 years in power. The announcement came after a day that featured the most intense protests in the 18 days of non-stop demonstrations in Cairo and throughout the country. As news spread of his departure, crowds erupted, both on the ground and online with a massive mix of relief and pure joy.
*Mubarak had his vice president, a solemn-faced Omar Suleiman, read the thirty second statement on Egyptian state television Friday evening, Cairo time: "Citizens, in these difficult circumstances that the country is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to relinquish the office of the presidency of the republic and has charged the Supreme Council of the armed forces with taking over the affairs of the country."
*Following the announcement of Mubarak's resignation, BBC Arabic's cameras, with a new caption of "Egypt after Mubarak," captured the jubilant crowds at Tahrir Square and beyond… the live feed showed horns honking, flags waving, tears of joy flowing, and deafening cheers rippling through hundreds of thousands of people around the country simultaneously.
Lead headlines in the Arabic press in the hours after the announcement of Mubarak's resignation:
*Al Jazeera: URGENT - Celebrations in Jordan, the Gaza Strip, Tunisia, as Mubarak steps down, Hamas hails Egyptian and Israel hopes will not be affected in the peace treaty with Egypt.
*Al Arabiya: "Protests in Suez, Alexandria, Damiet and clashes near the presidential palace
*Wael Ghonim welcomes the army statement and asks for a time frame for implementing reforms; says unsure about withdrawing from Tahrir Square
*Pan-Arab paper Al Hayat: Vice President Omar Suleiman asks Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to take charge of national dialogue
*Pan-Arab paper A-Sharq Al-Awsat: "Egypt teeters between Tahrir Square and the palace"
*Jordan's Ammon News website reported that Jordanians were heading for the Egyptian embassy in Amman to celebrate "the fall of the Mubarak regime," and that celebrations were taking place around the country.
*The revolution may not reach the headlines of Tishreen, Syria's state-run mouthpiece of the Bashar al Assad regime, which is leading with: "President Assad discusses the situation in Lebanon and efforts to form a new government"
BEFORE (& AFTER) THE FALL
*Following Mubarak's speech to the nation Thursday night, protesters vowed to redouble their efforts to drive him from office. Pro-democracy activists stepped up operations on Friday, putting increasing pressure on the regime by expanding the protests to state television, presidential palaces, among other institutions of the state:
*Hackers shut down the website of Mubarak's party, the National Democratic Party, with a banner reading "Safeguard our beloved country from all evil – we love you, Egypt."
*Protesters in Alexandria surrounded army head quarters, chanting: "Are you protecting the people, or are you protecting Mubarak the dog?" Posted by Egyptian blogger/journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy, who runs the popular 3arabawy blog.
PHOTO DU JOUR
*This picture Friday of enormous crowds in Tahrir Square, posted on Al Jazeera's blog, says it all.
Feb. 11, 2011
photo credit: illustir
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