By PAUL SCHEMM and MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press Paul Schemm And Maggie Michael, Associated Press
CAIRO – Egypt exploded with joy, tears, and relief after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak with a momentous march on his palaces and state TV. Mubarak, who until the end seemed unable to grasp the depth of resentment over his three decades of authoritarian rule, finally resigned Friday and handed power to the military.
“The people ousted the regime,” rang out chants from crowds of hundreds of thousands massed in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square and outside Mubarak’s main palace several miles away in a northern district of the capital.
The crowds in Cairo, the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and other cities around the country burst into pandemonium. They danced, chanted “goodbye, goodbye,” and raised their hands in prayer as fireworks and car horns sounded after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.
“Finally we are free,” said Safwan Abou Stat, a 60-year-old in the crowd of protesters at the palace. “From now on anyone who is going to rule will know that these people are great.”
The protests have already echoed around the Middle East, with several of the region’s autocratic rulers making pre-emptive gestures of democratic reform to avert their own protest movements. The lesson many took: If it could happen in three weeks in Egypt, where Mubarak’s lock on power had appeared unshakable, it could happen anywhere.
The United States at times seemed overwhelmed trying to keep up with the rapidly changing crisis, fumbling to juggle its advocacy of democracy and the right to protest, its loyalty to longtime ally Mubarak and its fears of Muslim fundamentalists gaining a foothold. Neighboring Israel watched with growing unease, worried that their 1979 peace treaty could be in danger. It quickly demanded on Friday that post-Mubarak Egypt continue to adhere to it.
Mubarak, a former air force commander came to power after the 1981 assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat by Islamic radicals. Throughout his rule, he showed a near obsession with stability, using rigged elections and a hated police force accused of widespread torture to ensure his control.
He resisted calls for reform even as public bitterness grew over corruption, deteriorating infrastructure and rampant poverty in a country where 40 percent live below or near the poverty line.
The protest movement that began on Jan. 25 grew from small groups of youth activists organizing on the Internet into a mass movement that tapped into the discontent to become the largest popular uprising in the Arab world.
Up to the last hours, Mubarak sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title.
But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soldiers stood by, besieging his palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building. A governor of a southern province was forced to flee to safety in the face of protests there.
His fall came 32 years to the day after the collapse of the shah’s government in Iran.
Vice President Suleiman — who appears to have lost his post as well in the military takeover — appeared grim as he delivered the short announcement.
“In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic,” he said. “He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.”
Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, whose young supporters were among the organizers of the protest movement, told The Associated Press, “This is the greatest day of my life.”
“The country has been liberated after decades of repression,” he said adding that he expects a “beautiful” transition of power.
Outside Mubarak’s Oruba Palace in northern Cairo, women on balconies ululated with the joyous tongue-trilling used to mark weddings and births.
Mohammed el-Masry, weeping with joy, said he had spent the past two weeks in Tahrir before marching to the palace Friday. He was now headed back to the square to join his ecstatic colleagues. “We made it,” he gasped.
The question now turned to how the military, long Egypt’s most powerful institution and now its official ruler, will handle the transition in power. Earlier in the day, the Armed Forces Supreme Council — the military’s top body — vowed to guide the country to greater democracy. State TV said a new statement by the military would be issued Friday evening.
Abdel-Rahman Samir, one of the youth organizers of the protests, said the protest movement would now open negotiations with the military over democratic reform but vowed protests would continue to ensure change is carried out.
“We still don’t have any guarantees yet — if we end the whole situation now the it’s like we haven’t done anything,” he said. “So we need to keep sitting in Tahrir until we get all our demands.”
But, he added, “I feel fantastic. …. I feel like we have worked so hard, we planted a seed for a year and a half and now we are now finally sowing the fruits.”
Ask any business owner if they would agree to sell a company with them agreeing to be held hostage to a $100 million penalty clause, and on a company that only sold for only $219,000 million? Man that is nearly half the darn selling price. This unsound clause in the BTC agreement is more than enough reason to stop this disposal price sale now.
Thats the kind of deal this dem dumb govt. put in place. You’ll see why now we need to get them out of office, vote them or just stop the world and throw them off.
When people stick together things happen…lets not be divided (PLP/FNM) but focus on the common goal Keep our money making BTC form being sold to foreigners especially for peanuts….then turn around and pay them to run it…WOW
The REVOLUTION IS COMING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY !The REVOLUTION IS COMING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY !The REVOLUTION IS COMING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY !The REVOLUTION IS COMING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY The REVOLUTION IS COMING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY The REVOLUTION IS COMING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY The REVOLUTION IS COMING BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY 2011 AND BEYOND
May the Spirit of change that happen in Egypt ,America and Trinidad&Tobago let it plz happen in the Bahamas..Ingraham and Christie needs to go.
Charles: your argument is rather lame. People have been losing their jobs left, right and center since this Ing., regime allegedly hoodwinked it;s way into governing in 2007. The few thousand who lost their jobs as you, so callously spoke of, represents the lives of hardworking, honest Bahamians. Think about the many children whose lives were turned upside down because of spite and petty polotics. I don;t know if you are missing the point or are just being mischievous when you say, that an uprising is not justified. As bad as it was when thousands were losing their jobs as you put it, there was never a serious cry as I am hearing right now. The people seem to have had enough of being second class citizens in their own land. The people seem to be saying enough is enough is the arrogant abuse that we are experiencing from a one man band and furthermore, Charles the people are fighting for ownership of the most profitable asset that our Country owns(B.T.C)We would like to know that it is here for our children and grand children to be owners and not just mere consumers. So Charles stop playing petty politics and when you go to church please pray for all of us and especially for the head of this Nation for as we know if, the head is sick so is, the whole body.
there is no justification in up rising because a few thousand have lost their pay check……lets be real man….we must better train ourselves to multi task and stop being damn lazy.. we never give a full days work. we always stealing time and items from our employer. the union here are the ones destroying this country. they want all the gold/perks/gifts for what? we better wake up before its to late. any bit of stupid crime will set us back a few decades…we dont need that..go to church tomorrow and pray for a better bahamas and greater PEACE NOT WAR
Let’s review. If the PLP under Christie became better known as the candy store to the likes of an Anna Nicole Smith, then certainly the PM has now admitted, for the very first time, that his government has taken all Bahamians further into the biggest debt in Bahamian history, all to favor the paycheques for his selected group of Bahamians, all in the hopes of vote gathering. All this while since 2007 his government, and himself, has displayed total arrogance for thousands of other unemployed Bahamian brothers and sisters. The press has reported some pretty heartless actions and arrogant things towards Bahamians who had, or were on the verge of losing their paycheques. We learn every day of the growing rumblings taking place in cabinet meetings
We must be mindful that President Hosni Mubarak came to power after the 1981 assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat.
This is important to know:
…Anwar’s Egypt had become a British colony “BECAUSE” Crippling debt had forced the Egyptian government to sell the British government its interests (Keep BTC in mind).
The British and French had used these resources to establish enough political control over Egyptian affairs to refer to Egypt as a British colony.
My question to you is; COULD THIS BE WHERE WE ARE HEADED IN THE BAHAMAS?
@wisdom. I hope not, we have no resources. we all would be dead of starvation, and many or health an socail ills. sell BTC could nowhere equate to Egypts problem…boy we really dumb bad. Remember everything in this country that is worth owning is own my non-bahamians. where is the demo or the stop dont sell Burn House, Kalik, why not demo against Atlantis? or better still, try all other major hotels in the Bahamas. I think we are mis-guided in our selfish quest for power (PLP) we still living the false dream that the FNM is not the government. I beg to answer what would the PLP do if it wins the 2012 elections…..? hire 15,000 person in the public service as i have heard from the dumbest in freeport?. Wake up bahamas. work hard and smart to take care of yourself and your family. remember the crooked lawyers run this country, and they are all buddies red and gold.
maybe we can overthrow the govt. and make rondey the hangman moncur President, with fred mitchel as his deputy, an make Mel maycork the minister of national security oops!
Wise, thinking is need if we are to get over the hump, not ego flaring asswholes OK. remember all good things must come to an end. As a christian nation we sure talk more volience than peace…Where is the BCC on all these ministers charge with rape and other stuff and the threats of civil unrest? maybe they will be a part of it for …can u see Rev P. paul leading with his group cuffing HAI? they all jokers of the first order.
i hope as a people we ca learn from this and get rid of these old tired mp.it’s time we the young change the direction of our bahamaland.let the revelution begin
Jimmy Carter is best remembered as the American president who lost Iran. Will president Barack Obama be remembered as the president who lacked faith in the Egyptian people?
It took 16 days and the 300 plus brave Egyptians who sacrificed their lives, for the tide to turn against the people who think they are untouchable by the people, who have been catching hell while their leaders have no shame living like royalty. Egypt is already investigating ex-cabinet ministers for corruption, including a billionaire steel tycoon and former ruling party members. The work has just begun to rebuild the peoples Egypt. Even there billions and over a million paid secret police could not save these crooks. There is noting more beautiful than the tears of Freedom.
This happens when a leader believes that he is a GOD AND HIS WORDS AND ACTIONS ARE ALL THAT MATTERS,however when a people unit THEY CAN DESTROY ALL FALSE GODS!!!
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