NEW YORK (
) -- After several weeks of massive national riots and powerful anti-government protests,
Vice President Omar Suleiman appeared in a televised address to the nation on Friday to announce that after 30 years in power Mubarak has stepped down.
Activists first took to the streets of Cairo on Jan. 25 to protest the lack of political freedoms under Mubarak's decades-long reign over Egypt. Opposition leaders declared it as a "Day of Rage."
A number of protestors stayed in the streets late into that night and by early the next day, thousands of policemen, backed by armored vehicles, had spread through Cairo to disperse the crowds that were gathering throughout the city's major streets, bridges and intersections.
On Jan. 26, activists turned to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to conjure up fresh demonstrations. Over the past few weeks, demonstrators, journalists and witnesses have posted countless photos and videos showing the upheaval in the streets of Egypt.
In an effort to thwart the attempts to publicize the protests in the nation, the Egyptian government censored social media sites and even restricted access to the Internet.
As the protests grew, the Egyptian regime
in efforts to resolve the upheaval, but opposition leaders made it clear that they wouldn't be satisfied until Mubarak resigned.
Now click through the following photo slideshow to see a progression of moving images from the past weeks of the uprising in Egypt.
Egyptian President Mubarak Resigns
Egyptians celebrate Mubarak's resignation in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt on Friday.
Vice President Omar Suleiman addressed the nation on Friday to announce that after 30 years in power,
"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," Suleiman said in his address.
Prior to the announcement of Mubarak's departure, the military council pledged to carry out the demands of the people by overseeing constitutional reforms, but did not say it would move toward democracy. The army didn't make it clear whether Suleiman would hold any power under the council.
U.S. President Barack Obama says that the U.S. will continue to be a friend and an allied partner to Egypt, and it is ready to provide assistance for Egypt's transition to a democracy.
"The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same," Obama said.
He also said that now the Egyptian military has a responsibility to the people of their nation to ensure a peaceful transition of power, and that Mubarak's resignation is only the beginning of Egypt's transformation.
"By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change," Obama said. "But this is not the end of the Egypt's transition. It is a beginning. I am 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 have defined these past few weeks."
He called on the military to lift the state of emergency in the nation and begin preparing the upcoming free and fair elections.
Egypt Rejoices Mubarak's Exit
Anti-government demonstrators celebrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square upon hearing the news of Mubarak's resignation on February 11.
The massive crowds of demonstrators outside of the presidential palace and in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday shouted out in celebration of the news.
"The announcement took everyone by surprise and caused immediate and riotous celebration in Tahrir Square," the
Jon Leyne reported from Cairo.
Leading opposition figure, Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, expressed his excitement over the news.
"This is the greatest day of my life," he told
The Associated Press
. He says Egypt has been "liberated after decades of repression" and that he expects a "beautiful" transition of power.
"It's a joy, exhilaration, total emancipation for 85 million people," he was quoted by
as saying. "For the first time Egypt has been liberated and has put its feet on the right track towards a country of democracy and social justice."
Journalists stationed in Egypt consistently report that the people are reacting to the news with extreme excitement and emotion.
"The cheering has not stopped since the announcement was made,"
Frederik Pleitgen tweeted on Friday afternoon. "I believe it will not stop for days."
Paul Danahar reported that fireworks are going off above Cairo as protesters wave Egyptian flags with pride.
"Tahrir Square is having Egypt's biggest party for decades," he tweeted late on Friday. "It's an amazing scene."
Egypt's Mubarak Remained Defiant
Mubarak told protesters on Thursday that while their demands are legitimate, he refused to give in to foreign dictates.
On Thursday, Feb 10, Mubarak
. In a televised speech to the Egyptian people he repeated that he intended to remain in office until his term ended in September.
Mubarak vowed to ensure a peaceful transition of power once a new leader would be chosen in the fall election and said he would delegate some of his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a
following Mubarak's appearance, calling for further explanation of what changes the government is undertaking as the people of Egypt were clearly unsatisfied.
"The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient," Obama said. "Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world."
In his speech, Mubarak said he would carry out his responsibility to "protect the constitution and the interest of the people" and guaranteed that the upcoming election in the fall will be free and fair through transparency and a review of the amendments.
"Any state can make mistakes," Murabak said to the Egyptian people. "What is important is to acknowledge the mistakes and put them right as soon as possible."
He also told the people of Egypt that he is proud of the new generation for their aspirations for a better life and a better future.
"The blood of the martyrs will not be in vain," he said, as he repeated his pledge to guide the nation through a difficult time.
"The 25 January movement has succeeded in making a change in the party of democracy, history has begun," Suleiman said in a speech following Murabak's national address. "Constitutional changes have been made."
Last week, in an interview with
, Murabak said that he wanted to resign immediately but feared that the chaos in Egypt would only increase.
Many observers were expecting Mubarak to
however, after Egypt Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told
that the scenario of Mubarak resigning was indeed discussed, and angry chants reportedly rose up from the crowd in Tahirir Square as the speech concluded.
Egyptian Workers Go on Strike
Egyptian workers on strike added new momentum to the massive anti-government protests across the country.
labor movement erupted on Wednesday, Feb. 9
, and continued into Thursday as thousands of Egyptian workers called for better wages, benefits and working conditions, adding new momentum to the massive anti-government protests that continued to sweep the nation
State workers in Suez were staging strikes and sit-ins in the port city for a third consecutive day. Some 5,000 workers held strikes and protests at various company factories.
"We're not getting our rights," said Suez Public Works employee Ahmed Tantawi, according to a report from
The Associated Press
. Tantawi said that while employees work 24-hour shifts and are exposed to a number of health risks, they receive only $1.50 a month in hardship compensation.
Protests sparked investor fears that the Suez Canal, which is a major oil transport hub, would be shut down. But traffic at the Suez Canal so far has not been affected by the revolution.
The finance minister of Egypt said the country would "do its utmost best" to make sure the canal stays open.
"All precautions are taken to prevent any sabotage from outside to the Suez Canal," Samir Hadwan reportedly told
. "The Suez Canal is safe and the Egyptian Army -- I don't talk on their behalf -- but I can assure you it will do whatever is in its power to keep that open."
About 4.5% of the world's oil production passes through this crucial artery each day.
Hundreds of state electricity workers stood on strike in front of their building in Cairo on Wednesday, demanding that their director step down while a number of public transportation workers threatened that they intend to halt the city's buses on Thursday.
Some 8,000 protesters blocked the main highway and railway to Cairo and set fire to trees in the southern province of Assiut in anger over food shortages that plague the nation, while hundreds of impoverished Egyptians in Suez set fire to the governor's headquarters over the lack of housing.
Protests Persist Despite Concessions
An Egyptian Army soldier looks out of the turret of his tank as anti-government protesters pray at the continuing protest in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 7.
Despite a number of
in an attempt to quell the raging anti-demonstrations,
, as demonstrators hoped to force Mubarak's resignation.
Egypt vice president Omar Suleiman met with the leaders of major opposition groups on Sunday, Feb. 6, to offer concessions aimed at resolving the country's political crisis, such as freedom of the press, the release of those detained and the removal of the country's widely contested emergency laws.
Suleiman vowed to organize a committee to focus on Egyptian constitutional reforms regarding who can run for president as well as term limits on future presidencies, the
But it opposition groups said they wouldn't leave the streets Mubarak stepped down.
"People still want the president to step down," protest organizer Mostafa al-Naggar was quoted by the
"The protest continues because there are no guarantees and not all demands have been met," he added. "We did not sign on to the statement. This is a beginning of a dialogue. We approve the positive things in the statement but ... we are still demanding that the president step down."
Protesters crowded the streets of Cairo on Sunday, a day that was dubbed the Sunday of Martyrs. Anti-government protesters called for additional concessions from the regime and for Mubarak to resign immediately.
Egypt Protesters Cry: Day of Departure
Egyptian protesters perform Friday prayers during a protest in Liberation Square on Feb. 4.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, Feb. 4, for a
as they continued to rally against the government.
The gathering in Cairo last week appeared relatively relaxed compared to the violence that broke out between Mubarak supporters and anti-Mubarak activists a day earlier. According to
, people were singing patriotic songs and dancing. The square was surrounded by Egyptian soldiers in riot gear.
Both groups had lashed out in the square a day before, throwing rocks and firebombs and attacking each other with metal bars. At least 11 people reportedly were killed and more than 900 were injured in the fighting.
Some reports speculated that Egyptian authorities sparked the violent clashes in the square by attacking protesters in order to necessitate Mubarak's control over the situation.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei told
at the time that he would be willing to run for the presidency in the fall "if people want" him to and that he wants Egypt to become a "democracy based on social justice." He did not specify however whether he plans to run in the election.
The Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa joined protesters calling for Mubarak's removal and said he would consider running for the presidency to replace Mubarak in the fall.
Journalists Under Siege in Egypt
Associated Press photographer Khalil Hamra was injured during clashes between anti-government demonstrators and supporters in Cairo on Thursday Feb. 3.
A number of news outlets, including the
, said their journalists and crews in Cairo were singled out, beaten and arrested. Many of the reports identified the attackers as being supporters of Mubarak.
reported that Mubarak supporters were storming Cairo's hotels, actively seeking journalists on Thursday, Feb. 3. An "all-out witch-hunt against news media," Reporters Without Borders called it.
"After shutting down the Internet and then reconnecting it at the start of this week, the regime has decided to target media personnel physically by unleashing its supporters in an unprecedented campaign of hatred and violence," Reporters Without Borders Secretary General Jean-François Julliard said in a statement. "This has gone beyond censorship. This is now about ridding Cairo of all journalists working for foreign news media."
The Washington Post
said its Cairo bureau chief Leila Fadel and photographer Linda Davidson were detained on Feb. 3 by the Egyptian Interior Ministry, while
The New York Times
said two of its journalists had been released the same day after being detained overnight.
talk show host Anderson Cooper and his crew were attacked by Mubarak supporters in Cairo earlier in the week amid the violence and political upheaval.
"Got roughed up by thugs in pro-Mubarak crowd ... punched and kicked repeatedly. Had to escape. Safe now,'
CNN reportedly urged the journalist to leave Egypt, but Cooper remains in Egypt and continues to update his Twitter feed with information on the clashes.
"Situation on ground in Egypt very tense,"
on Feb. 4. "Vehicle I was in attacked. My window smashed. All OK."
Journalists were told to take extra precautions while reporting from Egypt.
"We urge all news media to reinforce their coordination in order to provide as much security as possible for their correspondents in Egypt," Reporters Without Borders' Julliard said. "We urge foreign governments and their embassies to provide the utmost diplomatic support for journalists from their countries when they find themselves in difficulty."
Gamal Mubarak Won't Seek Presidency
Egyptian anti-government protesters throw stones during clashes in downtown Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday, Feb. 3.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's son,
, Egypt state TV reported on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Many speculated that Mubarak was preparing his 46-year-old son to succeed him despite widespread opposition.
Mubarak supporters were clashing with anti-Mubarak demonstrators who are calling for the president's immediate resignation.
Egypt Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq appeared on public television on Thursday morning to apologize for the violent and armed attacks that had been made on anti-government protesters.
Shafiq said he ordered an investigation into the clashes. He said while it is not known whether the attacks were organized, it is clear that the pro-Mubarak groups entered Tahrir Square "with the intention to create violence and riot."
"When investigations reveal who is behind this crime and who allowed it to happen, I promise they will be held accountable and will be punished for what they did," Shafiq said in his address.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the opposition leader, said he had heard government supporters were sending men to Tahrir Square to attack protesters,
The Wall Street Journal
Some reports speculated that the pro-Mubarak group was organized by security officials, and that Egyptian authorities sparked the violent clashes in the square in order to necessitate Mubarak's control over the situation. The government continues to deny any involvement.
Images of burning vehicles and Molotov cocktails from Egypt showed the level of violence has risen.
Mubarak Won't Seek Re-Election
Thousands of protesters chant anti-government slogans during a massive rally in Tahrir Square on Feb. 1.
, Mubarak announced that he planned to finish out his term in office to ensure that a peaceful transition of power takes place, but that he would not run for re-election.
Mubarak said in his speech that he would not betray his nation's trust or give up his responsibilities as president, and that his first responsibility was to restore peace to the nation.
He also said he planned to discuss amending two articles in the Egyptian constitution regarding who can run for president as well as set term limits on future presidencies with the country's parliament.
U.S. President Barack Obama had advised that Mubarak not run for another term earlier on Tuesday,
The New York Times
reported, citing American diplomats in Cairo and Washington.
A special envoy for the president delivered a message to Mubarak Tuesday, stressing the need to prepare for an "orderly transition" of power in the country, a U.S. official confirmed.
Media reports identified the envoy as retired ambassador Frank Wisner, and his message to Mubarak is being described as a consultation, rather than a demand. Wisner is also believed to have urged the Egyptian president to allow a reform process, which should include fair elections in September.
Tens of thousands of protesters filled Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday, and vowed to remain in the streets until Mubarak stepped down.
Mubarak Asks Cabinet to Resign
Egyptian protesters face anti-riot policemen in Cairo, Egypt on Friday, Jan. 28, 2011 amidst a scene of violent chaos.
Mubarak appeared on television Friday Jan. 28 for the first time since riots calling for his ouster broke out and publicly
According to published reports, Mubarak didn't mention stepping down himself and expressed support for the efforts of security forces to disperse the protesters, and said he was "on the side of freedom."
Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Cairo and other parts of Egypt as the anti-government riots raged on despite the overnight curfew imposed by Egyptian officials.
The ruling party headquarters in Cairo had been burned down by protesters defying the curfew, the
New York Times
said, and an attack on the U.S. embassy in the country had been thwarted.
Earlier on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged both the government and protestors to put a stop to the mounting violence.
"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters, and we call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain the security forces," Clinton told reporters at the State Department.
The protests that began as passive marches throughout city streets on Tuesday grew violent as security forces responded to the massive crowds with rubber bullets, tear gas and water hoses.
Egypt's stock market benchmark index plunged more than 10% on Thursday, in response to the nationwide turbulence.
In U.S. trading, the
Market Vectors Egypt Index
dropped to its lowest level in over six months.
Officials temporarily suspended trading during Thursday's session when the market tumbled 6.25% in just 15 minutes, in hopes to settle investor fears. However, the index continued to drop when trading resumed.
Thousands Protest Mubarak Rule in Egypt
Demonstrators deface a poster of Mubarak in Alexandria, Egypt on Tuesday Jan. 25.
On Jan. 25, demonstrators first took to the streets of Cairo to protest the lack of political freedoms under Mubarak's 30-year reign over Egypt. Opposition leaders declared it as a "Day of Rage."
The demonstrations escalated into aggressive riots throughout the day as security figures responded to the massive crowds with force.
Video footage shows scenes of chaos and violence as thousands of policemen, backed by armored vehicles, are seen clashing with protesters in an attempt to disperse the crowds that are gathering throughout the nation's major streets, bridges and intersections.
Two Egyptian protesters were killed in an anti-government demonstration in Suez, Egypt, on Tuesday, while a policeman died during a protest in Cairo,
reports, citing an Egyptian Interior Ministry official.
Officials say one protester died as a result of tear gas inhalation while the other was killed by a rock thrown during the protest. The policeman who died in Cairo was also hit in the head by a rock.
Activists openly turned to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to invoke further demonstrations as demonstrators, journalists and witnesses posted countless photos and videos showing the massive upheaval that swept the nation.
In order to thwart the attempts to publicize the protests in Cairo, Alexandria, and other Egyptian cities, the government, deactivated cell phone relay towers, censored social media sites and even restricted access to the Internet in several areas.
Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston
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