Protests force the country’s President to step down after 30 years of rule
For almost three weeks, protesters in Egypt have called for the country's President to step down. Today, their demand was met. Hosni Mubarak has resigned (stepped down from office) after being in power for 30 years.
Egypt's streets are filled with cheers and celebration. Hundreds of thousands had marched through the streets of the country's major cities, like Cairo and Suez. The protesters demanded change—more freedom, more jobs, and most important, a new President.
Last week, Mubarak announced that he would not run in September's presidential elections. He also said yesterday that his Vice President, Omar Suleiman, would take over most presidential decisions.
Many Egyptians said these changes were not enough. During Mubarak's speech yesterday, crowds in Cairo chanted, "Leave! Leave!" They wanted Mubarak to resign immediately.
For the past 30 years, Mubarak has kept Egypt in a state of emergency. This has been one of the biggest concerns for protesters. Declaring an emergency legally gave the President the right to ignore laws, change the results of elections, and stop the people and the press from speaking freely.
Egypt's military, which will temporarily lead the nation, said on Friday that the state of emergency would soon be lifted. Military officials promise a peaceful transfer of power "toward a free democratic community" in Egypt.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR EGYPT?
U.S. officials are carefully watching Egypt's political changes. Mubarak's government has been one of America's strongest partners in the Middle East.
"The people of Egypt have spoken. Their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same," President Obama said after Mubarak resigned.
"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 the beginning," Obama added.
The U.S. President said that he hopes Egypt becomes a true democracy. In a democracy, people choose their own leaders by voting in fair elections. Mubarak was elected President four times, but no opponent was ever allowed to fairly run against him.
Before Mubarak stepped down, new presidential elections had been scheduled for September. No other plans have yet been announced. For now, people all over the world are watching to see what will happen in Egypt.
KID REPORTER COVERAGE: Fred Hechinger interviews protesters in Cairo.