After a 30 year reign and 18 days of protests from Egyptians, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned from office at approximately 11:00 AM EST (8:00 PM EET).
Thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square immediately began celebrating the start of a new era. Vice President Omar Suleiman, the de facto President, announced that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would be in charge of Egyptian affairs.
“My fellow citizens. In this difficult time that the country is going through, President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has decided to relieve himself of his position as president and the supreme military council has taken control of the state’s affairs. May God protect us,” Suleiman announced.
Mubarak, who left Cairo shortly after the announcement, became president after the former president, Anwar al-Sadat, was assassinated in 1981. Egyptian emergency laws were implemented shortly after and have been a rising source of tension for the last 30 years. The Egyptian protests were inspired by two main factors; a Facebook page, “We are all Khaled Said,” created in memory of an Egyptian activist allegedly killed by police and subsequently used to organize street demonstrations; and the successful Tunisian anti-government protests — in response to poor living conditions and economic crisis — which ended up driving the Tunisian president to flee.
|RedEye covers the Egyptian revolution|
The protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square began calling for Mubarak’s resignation on January 25 and were met with violence from police and Mubarak supporters. A defiant President Mubarak authorized a nationwide cutoff of Internet services and refused to step down.
When Saudi Arabian Google executive Wael Ghonim was released by Egyptian authorities, the revolt gained power. Shortly after, Tahrir Square was met with the largest protest of the revolution.
Mubarak’s resignation comes after 18 days of protests that left 300 dead.
Student reaction was positive – but with reservations. “I’m excited that he resigned,” said Jacob Emont (12), “but the fact that the military council is taking over is a bit unnerving.”
“It’s good that he stepped down because he needs to do what’s right for his people, not himself,” said Kara Atwell (11).