Egypt celebrates as Mubarak steps down

by Intern Julie

Former-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down today after 18 days of citizen protests. His vice-president, Omar Suleiman, held a short press conference where he announced that Mubarak was “waiving” his office and handing power over to the military. The statement prompted a a great cheer from Tahrir square; where many of the demonstrators were gathered. Live news casts from Egypt suggest the people have been celebrating since the official announcement.

In a phone interview to Al-Jazeera earlier this morning, Egyptian opposition leader and Noble-peace prize winner, Mohamed El Baradei,  commented that Mubarak’s resignation was a “dream come true,” congratulating the Egyptian people on bringing about the restoration of their own “humanity and independence.” In his message to the Egyptian people, he stated:  “You have gained your liberty, you have gained the right to catch up with the rest of the world. Make the best use of it you can and God bless you.”

When questioned on what comes next, Baradei mentioned he’s proposed a year long transitional period, which would include a provisional council made up of persons form the army and civilians.  Baradei commented that “the main idea would be that the army and the people would work together for a year up to the point where we could have a free and fair election.”

Whether this vision of Baradei’s will come to pass remains to be seen, but he notes that the Egyptian people have been suppressed for over 30 years and feels confident that they are willing to wait out a year-long process “as long as the people in power have credibility.”

He ended his interview stating: “My role is to help as much as I can as an Egyptian. My dream has come true. This is a dream that I have been waiting to see for the last 30 years.”

Al-Jazeera English and The GuardianUK both have minute by minute coverage of the situation in Egypt.

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