Egypt live updates: Mubarak steps down
Watch 18 days in five minutes. For the link or embed, go here.
The Post's Leila Fadel calls in to report she has "never witnessed such intoxicating euphoria." With her final words, we'll wrap up the live blog for the day, an amazing day in history. Thank you for joining us!
The Post's Eric Athas made this word cloud of Obama's speech
Here's a video of the full speech:
President Obama just spoke from the White House. His remarks were broadcast on Egyptian State TV.
"There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history," Obama said. "The people of Egypt have spoken. Their voices have been heard. Egypt will never be the same. This is not the end of Egypt's transition. It is the beginning."
Obama said he admired that people of different religions came together, that people chanted, "Muslim, Christian, we are one," that volunteers kept the peace, that doctors and nurses volunteered their aid, and that the military protected the people. He said that America and Egypt would continue to be friends. He also praised the army who will oversee the transition to democracy, but he also called on them to ensure that change. "Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day," he said.
Obama laid out what he hopes the army will do: "That means protecting the rights of Egypt's citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free. Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt's voices to the table, for the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change."
He said he saw in Egypt echoes of India, Germany and Indonesia, in their struggles for freedom. And he quoted Martin Luther King Jr. saying, "There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom. Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note."
Again, he referenced King when he said, "It was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing but non-violence, a moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more."
Here's the full text:
Good afternoon, everybody.
There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times.
The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.
By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change.
But this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It's a beginning. I'm sure there will be difficult days ahead, and many questions remain unanswered.
But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that has defined these last few weeks, for Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.
The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people. That means protecting the rights of Egypt's citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free.
Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt's voices to the table, for the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change.
The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary, and asked for, to pursue a credible transition to a democracy.
I'm also confident that the same ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that the young people of Egypt have shown in recent days can be harnessed to create new opportunity, jobs and businesses that allow the extraordinary potential of this generation to take flight.
OBAMA: And I know that a democratic Egypt can advance its role of responsible leadership not only in the region, but around the world.
Egypt has played a pivotal role in human history for over 6,000 years. But over the last few weeks, the wheel of history turned at a blinding pace as the Egyptian people demanded their universal rights. We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like. We saw young Egyptians say, "For the first time in my life, I really count. My voice is heard. Even though I'm only one person, this is the way real democracy works."
We saw protesters chant "selmeyah, selmeyah -- "We are peaceful" -- again and again. We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect. And we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for those who were wounded; volunteers checking protesters to ensure that they were unarmed.
We saw people of faith praying together and chanting Muslims, Christians, "We are one." And though we know that the strains between faiths still divide too many in this world and no single event will close that chasm immediately, these scenes remind us that we need not be defined by our differences. We can be defined by the common humanity that we share.
And above all, we saw a new generation emerge -- a generation that uses their own creativity and talent and technology to call for a government that represented their hopes and not their fears, a government that is responsive to their boundless aspirations.
One Egyptian put it simply: "Most people have discovered in the last few days that they are worth something. And this cannot be taken away from them anymore, ever."
This is the power of human dignity, and it could never be denied. Egyptians have inspired us, and they've done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence.
For an Egypt, it was the moral force of non-violence -- not terrorism, not mindless killing -- but non-violence, moral force that bent the arch of history toward justice once more.
And while the sights and sound that we heard were entirely Egyptian, we can't help but hear the echoes of history, echoes from Germans tearing down a wall, Indonesian students taking to the streets, Gandhi leading his people down the path of justice.
As Martin Luther King said in celebrating the birth of a new nation in Ghana while trying to perfect his own, "There's something in the soul that cries out for freedom."
Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square. And the entire world has taken note.
Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people, and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in.
The word "Tahrir" means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forever more it will remind us of the Egyptian people, of what they did, of the things that they stood for and how they changed their country and in doing so changed the world.
The Swiss government on Friday froze all assets belonging to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak or his family in Switzerland. Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel said the order took effect immediately so that there would be no misappropriation of state-owned Egyptian assets. It is uncertain how much Mubarak is worth, but figures range from $40 billion to $80 billion
Twitter user @monasosh uploaded an image of a Subway map. The "Mubarak" station name had been crossed out. "The Martyrs" had been written above it:
President Obama is meant to address the situation in Egypt at 3 p.m. EST.
The Supreme Military Council, in its third statement in two days, thanked departing president Mubarak and thanked the sacrifices of the "martyrs." It also reaffirmed that the military would be in charge of the government, but that it did not intend to substitute for popular sovereignty and would shortly have plans in place for a transition.
The four key members of the supreme council are Air Force Commander Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Hafez Enan, Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi and Commander of Air Defense Abd El Aziz Seif-Eldeen.
Enan was in the U.S. for a meeting with the Pentagon when the protests first broke out. Throughout the protests, Sami Enan has been talking to Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and Tantawi was in communication with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Last week, though, all communication was broken off between the Egyptian military and the U.S. for several days.
While the White House considered the possibility of an Egypt led by the military, there are concerns about a power vacuum in the country without Mubarak at the lead.
Leila Fadel speaks to people celebrating on the street of Cairo about their initial disbelief:
For Egypt, Feb. 11 will go down in history as the people's revolution, but the day already has significance in revolutionary history. On this day in 1979, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power in Iran. On this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years.
It's also the birthday of Farouk I, King of Egypt, born in 1920. Farouk I was overthrown by "The Free Officers Movement" in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. That revolution led the Republic of Egypt.
Also, as a date is written as month-day-year in Egypt, today is a palindrome: 11-2-11, or 11-02-2011.
Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas is uploading videos of the scene in downtown Cairo.
Joyful responses to the news filled the Internet shortly after the announcement. First, this Web site popped up: http://ismubarakstillpresident.com/. Then there are these tweets:
On Thursday, Adel Shehadeh wrote:
Friday, Shalabieh responded with:
For a round up of the full tweets go here.
President Obama has been briefed on Mubarak's resignation and there will be a press briefing at 1:30 p.m., Savannah Guthrie of MSNBC reports.
The Post's Leila Fadel called in from Cairo amid the noise of the celebration in the streets:
The BBC published the full transcript of Suleiman's announcement. It reads:
In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody.
Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak has stepped down as president and handed over power to the Egyptian military.
Watch the live feed of Al-Jazeera here.
Hossam Badrawi, the secretary general of the National Democratic Party, Mubarak's party, resigned from his position because he is unhappy with Mubarak's speech. Badrawi voiced his hope Thursday that Mubarak would leave office. Badrawi took the position on Feb. 5, after Mubarak's son Gamal resigned.
"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."
While much of the country's protests have remained relatively peaceful, there are reports of violence elsewhere in Egypt. Agence France-Presse reports that protesters in the north Sinai town of El-Arish exchanged gunfire with police and threw molotov cocktails into government buildings and police cars.
On Thursday, protesters set government headquarters and government cars on fire in Port Said.
Egyptian State TV announced that there would be an "important and urgent statement" from the presidency soon, Richard Engel of NBC wrote on Twitter. It's interesting that the term used is "presidency" and not "president."
Protesters are still surrounding the State TV channel and are marching to the presidential palace. On Twitter, people greeted the forthcoming announcement with hope.
Unconfirmed reports from Al Arabiya television say that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has left Cairo, and possibly gone to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The reports come from an unnamed source and repeat rumors that have been swirling since Thursday night.
| February 11, 2011; 2:09 PM ET
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