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Suleiman Announces End to Mubarak Presidency

Mass protests continued across the country following President Hosni Mubarak’s speech late last night in which he continued to give no indication that he would leave office. In one notable incident, protestors in North Sinai launched an attack on a police station in Arish, throwing Molotov cocktails at the station and exchanging gunfire with police.

In a statement released this morning by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military authority announced that Egypt’s emergency law would be lifted, constitutional reform and free and fair elections would be held, and normal business activity would resume. These steps, in particular the lifting of the state of emergency, would follow the cessation of protests. The statement acknowledged the transfer of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman announced by Mubarak in his speech last night. Protests continued unabated following this declaration.

Following a day of growing speculation about Mubarak’s actions and whereabouts, news emerged in the late afternoon of a planned announcement by the presidency later in the day. Shortly thereafter, following three weeks of growing protests nationwide, Vice President Suleiman publicly announced around 6:00pm Cairo time that Mubarak had resigned from office with immediate effect, with governing authority being handed to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The masses resident in Tahrir Square celebrated, chanting, “We have brought down the regime.” News reporters, activists, and protesters all described the scene as highly emotional. An Al Jazeera correspondent described the scene, noting that “the sense of euphoria is simply indescribable.” A pro-democracy activist stated that “the moment is not only about Mubarak stepping down, it is also about people’s power to bring about the change that no one thought possible.” Similar celebrations occurred at protest gatherings in Alexandria, Suez, and elsewhere around the country.

Finally, in an incident that would later raise the international profile of sexual assault and harassment during the protest gatherings, CBS reporter Lara Logan was assaulted by a mob during the celebrations following Mubarak’s resignation. News emerged of the assault only on February 15, when CBS News released a statement.