UPDATE 2 President Mubarak has indeed resigned! And he has handed power over not to Suleiman, but to the Army:
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has resigned from his post, handing over power to the armed forces.
Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, announced in a televised address that the president was “waiving” his office, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the armed forces.
Earlier, massive crowds have gathered across Egypt, including hundreds of thousands of protesters in and around Cairo’s Tahrir [Liberation] Square, calling for Mubarak to stand down.
Pro-democracy activists in the Egyptian capital also marched on the presidential palace and state television buildings on Friday, the 18th consecutive day of protests.
In a statement read out on state television at midday, the military announced that it would lift a 30-year-old emergency law but only “as soon as the current circumstances end”.
The military said it would also guarantee changes to the constitution as well as a free and fair election, and it called for normal business activity to resume.
It is beautiful to see how all of Egyptian society has risen as one. This may be the most significant democratic revolution since 1776.
Now, it is time to constitutional reform. Omar Suleiman is not acceptable to Egyptians – Suleiman has long been a tool of the same outside forces that kept Mubarak in power, including the CIA.
UPDATE – apparently, Mubarak did not relinquish power but instead vowed to stay in office until September, but claimed he would hand over most authority to the new VP Omar Suleiman (who is of course a lackey). The protestors are enraged and millions of Egyptians are marching on Cairo today for “Farewell Friday”.
The regime of Hosni Mubarak appears to have ended (NYTimes):
The command of Egypt’s military stepped forward Thursday in an attempt to stop a three-week-old uprising, declaring on state television it would take measures “to maintain the homeland and the achievements and the aspirations of the great people of Egypt” and meet the demands of the protesters. The development appeared to herald the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
[…] Gen. Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, also appeared in Tahrir Square and told the demonstrators, “All your demands will be met today.” Some in the crowd held up their hands in V-for-victory signs, shouting “the people want the end of the regime” and “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” a victory cry used by secular and religious people alike.
However, there are denials from some government functionaries and loyalists (Al Jazeera):
Hassam Badrawi, the secretary general of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), told the BBC and Channel 4 News on that he expected Mubarak to hand over his powers to Omar Suleiman, the vice-president.
“I think the right thing to do now is to take the action that would satisfy … protesters,” Badrawi told BBC television in a live interview.
Ahmed Shafiq, the country’s prime minister, also told the BBC that the president may step down on Thursday evening, and that the situation would be “clarified soon”. He told the Reuters news agency, however, that Mubarak remained in control, and that “everything is still in the hands of the president”.
However, Anas el-Fekky, Egypt’s information minister, denied all reports of Mubarak resigning.
“The president is still in power and he is not stepping down,” el-Fekky told Reuters. “The president is not stepping down and everything you heard in the media is a rumour.”
Mubarak will address the nation of Egypt tonight. But with the joining of the protests by professionals like doctors and lawyers, and the explicit statements of the Army, it is clear that the writing is on the wall.
It’s also clear that the Obama Administration’s calibrated approach has paid off, in that the protesters have not been cast as tools of the United States or Israel by the regime (which would be ironic, since it is Mubarak himself who was the tool). This revolution has been of the people, by the people, and for the people of Egypt. Now there’s a phrase someone in Tahrir Square should translate to Arabic…
Stay tuned to Al Jazeera’s live blog for today, February 10, for the latest information.
Keep refreshing! There’s no better source of information, period. You can also watch AJE live, online.