11 Feb

MSN BREAKING NEWS REPORT - CAIRO — Hosni Mubarak has resigned as president of Egypt, the country’s vice president said in a brief statement Friday.

Omar Suleiman, speaking on state television, said Mubarak had decided to give up “the office of the president of the republic” and said the Supreme Council of the armed forces would “run the affairs of the country.”

The news swept the country and Tahrir Square, home of the protest movement, erupted in celebration.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters had gathered for a huge rally on what they called “Farewell Friday,” and after 18 days they finally achieved their main goal.

Suleiman’s statement came after Mubarak left Cairo for the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, shortly after protesters marched on his main presidential palace and held vast rallies across Egypt.

Mubarak passed most of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman Thursday night, but rebuffed the demands of demonstrators that he step down immediately.

Mubarak’s departure came after an offer by the army to ensure 30-year-old emergency laws were lifted and that free and fair elections were held failed to placate the crowd.

The military’s comments were seen as a major push to end the worst crisis in Egypt’s modern history and contained a clear signal that it wanted demonstrators off the streets.

However, live television pictures from Alexandria showed massed ranks of people filling a main boulevard in the city and Al-Jazeera reported there were other demonstrations in Suez, Mahala, Tanta and Ismailia.

Elsewhere, in the north Sinai town of el-Arish, there was a alarming development with Reuters reporting that about 1,000 people attacked a police station in an attempt to free prisoners.

Witnesses said they threw Molotov cocktails and exchanged gunfire with police who retreated to the roof. Al-Jazeera television reported the attackers were protesters who broke away from the main demonstration in el-Arish.

Earlier, U.S. officials had said they were “encouraged by the restraint shown by the (Egyptian) military” so far Friday and also that the protesters had remained “peaceful and not turned to violence.”

Another member of the ruling National Democratic Party, the general secretary Hossam Badrawi, also resigned Friday.

“It’s a resignation from the position and from the party,” Badrawi told private al-Hayat TV. “The formation of new parties in a new manner that reflects new thinking is better for society now at this stage.”

Before news of Mubarak’s departure, the protesters’ pledge to march from the central Tahrir (Liberation) Square to the presidential palace had raised fears of a confrontation between elite troops and demonstrators.

A crowd of more than 1,000 people were already there by midday, demanding he resign immediately. The army did not try to remove them, a Reuters witness said.

The protesters gathered up against a barbed wire cordon around the palace, about 50 yards from the palace walls at its closest point. Six tanks and armored vehicles separated the protesters from the building.

“Down, down Hosni Mubarak!” chanted the protesters. A sign delivering the same message was attached to razor wire blocking one of the entrances to the residence.

To read more, go here.

~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Hollywood California USA. 2.11.11~


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