Egypt’s embattled President Hosni Mubarak today abruptly stepped down as president, ending his 30-year-reign, and Egyptian armed forces took control of the country’s leadership.
Crowds gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into loud cheers, chanting “Egypt is free, Egypt is free,” as the historic announcement was made.
“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,” Vice President Omar Suleiman said in a somber one-minute announcement on TV.
The military’s spokesman went on state television to thank Mubarak for his service and said it is reviewing the situation. Saluting those who have died in these 18-day long protests, the military hailed the “martyrs” and said the army will guarantee that the demands of the Egyptian people be met.