Hosni Mubarak steps down, for benefit of republic: Suleiman (Second Lead)

Friday, February 11, 2011

CAIRO - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down for “the benefit of the republic”, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced Friday evening.

Speaking on the state TV, Suleiman said: “Hosni Mubarak is stepping down as president of Egypt”.

The vice president, in his brief statement, said Mubarak was “stepping down for the benefit of the republic”.

Mubarak has handed over responsibility for running the nation’s affairs to the higher military council, BBC quoted the state TV as saying.

As the much-awaited news of Mumbarak quitting reached Tahrir Square, tens of thousands of people, who have been campaigning for the last 18 days, erupted in jubilation.

Suleiman’s short statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving by the pro-democracy campaigners who attended protests across the country Friday.

The crowd in Tahrir chanted “We have brought down the regime”, while many were seen crying, cheering and embracing one another.

“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,” Al Jazeera reported.

Pro-democracy activists in the Egyptian capital had marched on the presidential palace and state television buildings Friday, the 18th consecutive day of protests.

At the state television building earlier in the day, thousands had blocked people from entering or leaving, accusing the broadcaster of supporting the current government and of not truthfully reporting on the protests.

“The military has stood aside and people are flooding through (a gap where barbed wire has been moved aside),” Al Jazeera stated.

“A lot of anger (was) generated” after Mubarak’s speech Thursday night, when he repeated his vow to complete his term as president in September, the report added.

Filed under: Politics

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