Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned. The announcement came Friday from Vice-President Omar Suleiman who said that military forces will now take over.
Word of Mr. Mubarak’s resignation drew thunderous cheers from thousands of anti-government protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square, where it is now nighttime. Many chanted and waved the Egyptian flag.
Earlier Friday, news organizations quoted officials as saying Mr. Mubarak had left the capital and traveled to his residence in the Red Sea resort Sharm El-Sheikh. The U.S. White House responded, calling the move a “positive first step.”
Hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators spread out across Cairo and other Egyptian cities, Friday, after Mr. Mubarak refused their demands to resign immediately in a speech late Thursday.
Witnesses and a security official say at least one person has been killed and 20 injured in clashes between police and demonstrators in the northern Sinai town of al-Arish. About 1,000 protesters attacked a police station in the city.
Demonstrators also swarmed around the state radio and television building in Cairo and the presidential palace in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis.
Anti-Mubarak demonstrators also massed at other locations, including Alexandria and outside of government buildings in Suez.
A military statement earlier Friday said the army will ensure that reforms proposed by Mr. Mubarak are carried out as planned, including the eventual lifting of 30-year-old emergency laws that enabled the government to keep tight control on Egyptian citizens. The statement also promised that the presidential election scheduled for September will be free and fair. The military urged protesters to return to their homes.