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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mubarak Steps Down After Egyptian Protests

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hands power over to the military.
 
After 18 days of protests on the streets of Cairo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed to relinquish power Feb.11. Mubarak is rumored to have fled the country.
Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on Egyptian television Feb. 11.
Elated Egyptians flooded the streets in celebration, many chanting "God is great!" and setting off fireworks. The Middle-East News Agency reported that many people had fainted as a result of the news. There were also reports of several heart attacks.
"President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as President and has assigned the Higher Council of the Armed Forces to run the affairs of the country," said Suleiman.


Following Suleiman's announcement, the Swiss government has also announced that they have frozen all Mubarak's assets, including those of his family.
"By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change," said President Obama. "…For Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day."
Perhaps inspired by the Jan. uprising in Tunisia, the protests began Jan. 25 with demonstrators demanding that Mubarak step down immediately, ending what many have called a ruthless regime.
Because most of the demonstrators were sharing information via social networks and cell phones, Mubarak had ordered all phone towers and internet connections shut off. But the protests continued.
The streets of Cairo erupted in chaos, with protestors squaring off with both Mubarak's security forces, and with the Egyptian military. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 300 people have lost their lives in the demonstrations since Jan. 25.


Originally, Mubarak had agreed to relinquish power after the country's September elections, but this did not satisfy the people in the streets. In a Feb. 10 speech, Mubarak stated that he was handing power over to Vice President Suleiman. But there was no mention of resignation.
It is unclear what the next step will be for the Egyptian government. According to Egyptian military officials, the army is meeting to decide what to do with Mubarak's parliament. They will also decide when to hold an election.
Egypt does have a constitution, which was implemented in 1971, and it calls for the election of a new leader within 60 days. But it is uncertain if that stipulation will be enforced; Mubarak's decision to hand over the government to the military was obviously unconstitutional.
But despite these details, most Egyptians remain optimistic about their future and the new freedoms they stand to gain with the regime change.

*Information contained in this article was gathered from CNN & The Associated Press

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